Prep Football

Iowa high school football preseason rankings: Western Dubuque, Waukon start No. 1 in 3A, 2A

Other No. 1 teams in Gazette/KGYM balloting are Dowling, West Sioux, West Hancock and Don Bosco

Western Dubuque's Calvin Harris throws a touchdown pass against Cedar Rapids Xavier in last year's Class 3A state championship game, won by the Saints, 34-20. Western Dubuque opens the season ranked No. 1 in 3A by The Gazette/KGYM. Xavier is No. 2. (The Gazette)
Western Dubuque's Calvin Harris throws a touchdown pass against Cedar Rapids Xavier in last year's Class 3A state championship game, won by the Saints, 34-20. Western Dubuque opens the season ranked No. 1 in 3A by The Gazette/KGYM. Xavier is No. 2. (The Gazette)

The favorite’s role has flipped.

Two of Western Dubuque’s three losses last season came at the hands of Cedar Rapids Xavier, including a 34-20 decision in the Class 3A state final.

Now, it’s the Bobcats who everybody is chasing.

Western Dubuque is the preseason 3A No. 1 in the Gazette/KGYM high school football poll, released today. Multisport standout Calvin Harris (2,280 passing yards, 27 touchdowns) leads the Bobcats, who went 10-3 in 2018.

Xavier owns the last two 3A championships and a 26-game win streak. The Saints enter the new season at No. 2.

Six-time defending 4A champion West Des Moines Dowling opens at No. 1 in the big-school class. Other top-ranked teams are Waukon (2A), West Sioux (1A), West Hancock (Class A) and Don Bosco (8-Player).

After a 7-2 regular season, Western Dubuque got hot in the playoffs, knocking off unbeaten Solon and avenging a regular-season loss to North Scott. The Bobcats handled Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the semifinals, then battled Xavier until the end in the final.

Western Dubuque hosts Xavier on Oct. 11.

Solon is ranked third, followed by Sergeant Bluff-Luton and North Scott.

Dowling extended its 4A championship run in dramatic fashion. First, the Maroons outlasted Bettendorf in a four-overtime semifinal. Then, they rallied to beat Cedar Falls, 22-16, in the title contest.

Led by Dowling and West Des Moines Valley, four of the top five 4A teams hail from Central Iowa. Waukee and Cedar Falls share the No. 3 position, and Ankeny Centennial is fifth.

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Waukon (10-2) dropped its opener last season to Decorah, then won 10 straight games before falling 48-12 to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the 2A semifinals. The Indians have the widest margin of any of the No. 1 teams, drawing six first-place votes and 69 points; Clear Lake (42) is second, followed by BHRV, Algona and Chariton.

West Sioux was the Class A champion in 2017, then moved up to 1A last year and captured another title. The Falcons lead the 1A list and are followed by Dike-New Hartford (last year’s runner-up), then it’s Van Meter, West Branch and West Lyon.

The tightest race for No. 1 comes in Class A, where West Hancock edges defending champion Hudson in first-place votes (4-3) and poll points (65-64). Hudson beat West Hancock in last year’s semifinals, 35-28.

Perennial 8-Player power Don Bosco (9-2) leads that division again. The Dons were stunned in last year’s quarterfinals by Rockford, and New London went on to win the championship.

Fremont-Mills, Audubon, Newell-Fonda and Turkey Valley round out the top five. New London is sixth.

This year’s poll panel consists of seven members — Jeff Johnson, K.J. Pilcher, Jeff Linder, Nathan Ford and Douglas Miles of The Gazette, Andy Krutsinger of the Southeast Iowa Union and Scott Unash of KGYM Radio.

The season begins with a few Week 0 games Friday, then everybody is in action next week.

Class 4A

1.

West Des Moines Dowling

68 points (6 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 11-2 | State champion
Week 1: vs. No. 3 Waukee
 
2.

West Des Moines Valley

54 points (1 No. 1 vote)

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Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at Southeast Polk
 
3.

Cedar Falls

49 points

Last year: 12-1 | State runner-up
Week 1: vs. Ames
 
3.

Waukee

49 points

Last year: 8-3, State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at No. 1 West Des Moines Dowling
 
5.

Ankeny Centennial

40 points

Last year: 9-1 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. No. 7 Ankeny
 
6.

Iowa City West

26 points

Last year: 9-2 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at 3A No. 5 North Scott
 
7.

Ankeny

25 points

Last year: 5-5 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at No. 5 Ankeny Centennial
 
8.

Bettendorf

20 points

Last year: 10-2 | State semifinalist
Week 1: at Pleasant Valley
 
9.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy

18 points

Last year: 6-4 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Cedar Rapids Jefferson
 
10.

Fort Dodge

12 points

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Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Mason City
 

Others receiving votes: Johnston 9, Southeast Polk 8, Cedar Rapids Prairie 5, Ames 1, Urbandale 1

 

Class 3A

1.

Western Dubuque

69 points (6 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 10-3 | State runner-up
Week 1: at Clinton
 
2.

Cedar Rapids Xavier

53 points (1 No. 1 vote)

Last year: 13-0 | State champion
Week 1: vs. Iowa City Regina
 
3.

Solon

42 points

Last year: 9-1 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at Mount Vernon
 
4.

Sergeant Bluff-Luton

38 points

Last year: 10-2 | State semifinalist
Week 1: vs. No. 7 Lewis Central
 
5.

North Scott

33 points

Last year: 9-2 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: vs. 4A No. 6 Iowa City West
 
6.

Pella

31 points

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Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Dallas Center-Grimes
 
7.

Lewis Central

30 points

Last year: 11-1 | State semifinalist
Week 1: at No. 4 Sergeant Bluff-Luton
 
8.

Spencer

26 points

Last year: 8-3 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at 2A No. 9 Spirit Lake
 
9.

Harlan

18 points

Last year: 8-3 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at Denison-Schleswig
 
10.

Clear Creek Amana

9 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Mount Pleasant
 

Others receiving votes: Independence 8, Oskaloosa 6, Bondurant-Farrar 4, Iowa City Liberty 4, Norwalk 3, Sioux City Heelan 3, Carroll 2, Decorah 2, Denison-Schleswig 2, Washington 1, Waverly-Shell Rock 1

 

Class 2A

1.

Waukon

69 points (6 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 10-2 | State semifinalist
Week 1: vs. Decorah
 
2.

Clear Lake

42 points

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Last year: 7-2
Week 1: vs. 1A No. 10 Osage
 
3.

Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley

34 points

Last year: 11-2 | State runner-up
Week 1: at 1A No. 1 West Sioux
 
4.

Algona

29 points

Last year: 9-2 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: vs. Humboldt
 
5.

Chariton

27 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Creston/O-M
 
6.

Greene County

25 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Perry
 
7.

Crestwood

22 points

Last year: 6-4 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at Charles City
 
8.

Waterloo Columbus

21 points

Last year: 7-2
Week 1: vs. Iowa Falls-Alden
 
9.

Monroe PCM

20 points (1 No. 1 vote)

Last year: 13-0 | State champion
Week 1: at Newton
 
9.

Spirit Lake

20 points

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Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. 3A No. 8 Spencer
 
9.

West Liberty

20 points

Last year: 8-4 | State semifinalist
Week 1: vs. 1A No. 4 West Branch
 

Others receiving votes: Benton Community 17, Southeast Valley 11, Des Moines Christian 10, Mount Vernon 7, Garner GHV 4, Williamsburg 4, Iowa Falls-Alden 3

 

Class 1A

1.

West Sioux

64 points (5 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 12-1 | State champion
Week 1: vs. 2A No. 3 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley
 
2.

Dike-New Hartford

58 points

Last year: 12-1 | State runner-up
Week 1: vs. Denver
 
3.

Van Meter

51 points

Last year: 11-1 | State semifinalist
Week 1: vs. Earlham
 
4.

West Branch

49 points (1 No. 1 vote)

Last year: 9-2 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at 2A No. 9 West Liberty
 
5.

West Lyon

37 points (1 No. 1 vote)

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Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock
 
6.

South Central Calhoun

35 points

Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at East Sac County
 
7.

Pella Christian

20 points

Last year: 8-4 | State semifinalist
Week 1: at Oskaloosa
 
8.

Treynor

18 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at Logan-Magnolia
 
9.

Interstate 35

16 points

Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: vs. Central Decatur
 
10.

Bellevue

10 points

Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: vs. A No. 5 Edgewood-Colesburg
 
10.

Osage

10 points

Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at 2A No. 2 Clear Lake
 

Others receiving votes: Iowa City Regina 4, Wilton 4, Mount Ayr 3, Cascade 2, Mediapolis 2, Ogden 1, Sumner-Fredericksburg 1

 

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Class A

1.

West Hancock

65 points (4 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 9-3 | State semifinalist
Week 1: at Garner GHV
 
2.

Hudson

64 points (3 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 13-0 | State champion
Week 1: vs. Jesup
 
3.

Wapsie Valley

42 points

Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Clayton Ridge
 
4.

Saint Ansgar

27 points

Last year: 6-3
Week 1: vs. West Fork
 
5.

Edgewood-Colesburg

26 points

Last year: 10-2 | State semifinalist
Week 1: at 1A No. 10 Bellevue
 
6.

Alta-Aurelia

23 points

Last year: 7-3 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at Lawton-Bronson
 
7.

North Tama

23 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. North Mahaska
 
8.

Algona Garrigan

17 points

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Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: vs. Emmetsburg
 
9.

Council Bluffs St. Albert

16 points

Last year: 5-4
Week 1: at Carroll Kuemper
 
10.

Avoca AHSTW

13 points

Last year: 12-1 | State runner-up
Week 1: vs. Underwood
 
10.

Westwood

13 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Akron-Westfield
 

Others receiving votes: South O'Brien 9, Alburnett 7, Hinton 6, Durant 5, Pekin 5, Akron-Westfield 4, BGM 4, Tri-Center 4, Woodbury Central 4, Grundy Center 3, Wayne 3, Belmond-Klemme 1, South Winneshiek 1

 

8-Player

1.

Don Bosco

64 points (4 No. 1 votes)

Last year: 9-2 | State quarterfinalist
Week 1: at Gladbrook-Reinbeck
 
2.

Fremont-Mills

45 points (1 No. 1 vote)

Last year: 10-2 | State semifinalist
Week 1: vs. Exira-EHK
 
3.

Audubon

42 points (1 No. 1 vote)

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Last year: 6-3
Week 0: vs. East Mills
 
4.

Newell-Fonda

41 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: vs. Collins-Maxwell
 
5.

Turkey Valley

38 points

Last year: 8-2 | State playoff qualifier
Week 1: at Ackley AGWSR
 
6.

New London

30 points (1 No. 1 vote)

Last week: 12-1 | State champion
Week 0: at Williams Bay (Wis.) (Saturday)
 
7.

Remsen St. Mary's

27 points

Last year: 6-3
Week 1: vs. No. 3 Audubon
 
8.

Iowa Valley

26 points

Last year: 10-1 | State quarterfinalist
Week 0: vs. Collins-Maxwell
 
9.

Southeast Warren

14 points

Last year: 12-1 | State semifinalist
Week 0: vs. Montezuma
 
10.

Glidden-Ralston

12 points

Last year: 6-3
Week 1: vs. West Bend-Mallard
 

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Others receiving votes: Ar-We-Va 11, Central City 8, Northwood-Kensett 6, Midland 5, East Mills 4, Exira-EHK 4, HLV 3, Easton Valley 2, Lenox 2, Lamoni 1

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Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.