The Gazette's Jeff Linder, K.J. Pilcher and Jeff Johnson tackle Week 5 prep football questions.
1st and 10
Q: Who is your midseason Coach of the Year?
JL: It’s not difficult to come up with some worthy resumes. It’s easy to take for granted the vast success that Duane Schulte (Cedar Rapids Xavier) and Kevin Miller (Solon) have enjoyed, and both are certainly under consideration, as are Tim Frake (Cascade) and Bill Post (Decorah), who have their teams at 4-0. Nick Breuer has Alburnett off to a 3-1 start after going 1-8 last year. But as of this moment, I would go with Curt Ritchie of 2A top-ranked Williamsburg.
2nd and Long
Q: Who is your midseason Player of the Year?
KJP: Many players could make a case. Iowa City West’s Evan Flitz has been a key leader for the second-ranked Trojans. He ranks fifth in Class 4A with 932 passing yards, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. Flitz is also fifth in 4A for combined passing and rushing yards with 1,125 total yards. He has a 7-to-1 touchdown/interception ratio.
3rd and Short
Q: What Class 4A team is poised for a turnaround with the start of district play?
JJ: Cedar Rapids Washington has been a yo-yo team in non-district play but appears set up to win at least four of five games in the district. Iowa City High is another team that has had its moments and is in a doable district.
4th and Goal
Q: What has changed the most in prep football over the last five years?
JL: In addition to the ever-improving kicking games (credit to soccer), I would say the complexity of the offensive attacks. Three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust is gone for good.
KJP: Obviously, the safety concerns from teaching proper form due to rules changes to a more structured protocol for injuries have received a lot of attention. Kids seem bigger, faster and stronger each year. Football is a year-round sport with more camps, showcases and 7-on-7 play. Gone are the days of playing the season and then just lifting and running drills with teammates.
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JJ: Just the size, strength, fitness and quality of the player. Playing prep football today is a 365-day-a-year endeavor. If you are not in season, you are in the weight room working out. Even when you are playing another sport, you are in the weight room working out.