Prep Football

Iowa high school football playoffs: A closer look at area second-round games

Highlights include an Iowa City rematch, and Marion goes to 3A No. 1 Xavier

Marion's Lucas Unsen (3) runs a kickoff return during the second quarter of their game at Clear Creek Amana last week. T
Marion’s Lucas Unsen (3) runs a kickoff return during the second quarter of their game at Clear Creek Amana last week. The Indians won, 18-14, and will play a Class 3A second-round playoff game at Cedar Rapids Xavier on Friday. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Capsules for Cedar Rapids Metro, Iowa City and select area Iowa high school football second-round playoff games. Games start at 7 p.m. Friday, unless noted.

Class 4A

Linn-Mar (1-4) at No. 4 Waukee (5-2)

Linn-Mar has faced the toughest schedule in 4A (its opponents are 23-8), and it’s more of the same this week. Waukee’s offense has clicked a little more each week, and the Warriors closed the regular season with an impressive 38-17 win over previously unbeaten Urbandale. Jakob Holcomb will go over the 1,000-yard passing mark Friday (he’s at 967, with 12 touchdowns), and workhorse back Alexander Linquist is at 993 rushing yards. They’ll become acquainted with Clayton Muszynski, Linn-Mar’s top defender with 44 tackles, 31 solos.

Iowa City High (2-3) at No. 5 Iowa City West (4-0)

The Trojans rolled to a 56-20 victory back in Week 2, and are heavily favored to repeat the feat Friday. Marcus Morgan is one of the top quarterbacks in the state, passing for 1,053 yards, completing nearly 70 percent of his attempts and building a 14-to-1 TD-to-INT slate. The receiving corps is extremely balanced among five guys, with Grahm Goering catching seven TD passes. City High downed Ottumwa, 41-16, in the first round, while the Trojans had a bye week, so the repetitions could be to the Little Hawks’ advantage. City’s Raph Hamilton has nearly 1,000 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns.

Iowa City Liberty (2-2) at No. 7 Dubuque Hempstead (6-1), 5 p.m. (Dalzell Field)

Hempstead has been one of the best 4A teams in Eastern Iowa all season, and carries a five-game winning streak. Liberty will have to show a little more offensive punch than it has shown throughout the fall; the Lightning score just 12.2 points per game. Liberty avoided a first-round game by rallying to beat Iowa City High in its regular-season finale, 28-24. Hempstead QB Aiden Dunne has passed for 1,247 yards and nine touchdowns, with Jackson Ostrander recording 30 receptions for 445 yards and two TDs. Liberty’s best work has been on the defensive side, with Griffin Kraft notching 41.5 tackles.

Davenport North (3-3) at No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie (4-2)

Nick Pearson is hitting his stride, and so is Prairie. Pearson’s rushing output is up to 909 yards (7.8 per carry) and 15 touchdowns, and the Hawks have posted 34, 42, 48 and 57 points in the last four weeks after an 0-2 start. The turning point for the Hawks was a Week 3 win over Cedar Falls, and they haven’t looked back. The Hawks’ defense has recorded 19 takeaways in six games, with eight different guys recovering a fumble apiece, and eight guys accounting for 11 interceptions. North has scored 33 points in the last four games, losing three of them.

Cedar Rapids Washington (3-4) at No. 10 Cedar Falls (4-2)

After a 3-0 start, Washington has dropped four consecutive games, surrendering 164 points in that slide. One of those losses was a 41-16 setback against Cedar Falls in Week 6, and now the Warriors get reacquainted with Ryan Ostrich, who has amassed 1,143 rushing yards (8.3 per carry) and 11 touchdowns. The Tigers have won two straight after suffering back-to-back losses in Weeks 3 and 4. Sophomore Watts McBride has 60 tackles for the Warriors.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (2-3) at Dubuque Senior (4-3), 8 p.m. (Dalzell Field)


Probably the best matchup of any of the area 4A games, and probably the best opportunity for a Metro team to get a road win. This certainly will be another stiff challenge for the Cougars, whose regular-season opponents were a combined 20-11. Kennedy’s Max White is one of the state’s best running quarterbacks; he has netted 801 rushing yards and 12 scores. Senior sports a balanced offense led by running back Cain McWilliams (828 yards, six touchdowns) and a passing attack piloted by QB Jack Gilligan (970 yards, eight TDs, eight interceptions).

Class 3A

Marion (3-4) at No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-0)

Marion advanced in a mild upset, 18-14 over Clear Creek Amana. The Indians rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit. Alex Mota passed for 70 yards, ran for 82 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 61-yard TD pass from Wyatt Cannon. Xavier earned a first-round bye after a dominating regular season. The Saints average nearly 38 points per game and allow 13.6. Jaxon Rexroth has 24 offensive touchdowns to his credit, 12 rushing and 12 passing, with 1,351 total yards. Jack Lux has run for 769 yards ad six scores. Rexroth also has two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Western Dubuque (5-3) at No. 9 West Delaware (8-1)

It’s the second meeting in 21 days for these Highway 20 rivals. West Delaware earned a surprisingly easy 49-14 victory Oct. 2. The Hawks ran for 342 yards (152 for Jared Voss, 107 for Wyatt Voelker) and won the turnover battle, 3-0. The Hawks lead 3A in scoring offense (48.1 points per game) and are fourth in defense (7.1). They’ll have their eyes on the Bobcats’ passing game, which features QB Garrett Baumhover, who needs three yards to hit 2,000 for the season. He has thrown for 23 TDs and just three interceptions. Tommy DeSollar, Dakota Lau and Logan Brosius are the primary targets.

Class 2A

West Liberty (4-2) at No. 10 Mount Vernon (7-1)

This has the makings of a very competitive game. Mount Vernon doesn’t blow teams out (only two of their seven wins have been decided by more than two scores), it just wins. West Liberty’s defense allows just 15.8 points per game, and that should allow the Comets to stick around. They’ll be tested by a balanced Mount Vernon attack led by 1,000-yard rusher Trenton Pitlik and a passing game led by QB Brady Ketchum (1,610 yards, 16 TDs). The Comets avenged a regular-season loss to Maquoketa, handling the Cardinals, 35-16, in the first round. Jahsiah Galvan has rushed for 1,222 yards and eight TDs.

Tipton (4-3) at Mid-Prairie (4-3)

Tipton rolls in with a three-game win streak, a stretch in which the Tigers have scored 132 points. That includes a 49-14 romp over Eddyville EBF last week. The Tigers racked up 314 rushing yards, led by Levi Daniel’s 129. Quarterback Payten Elijah has 961 rushing yards and 13 TDs. Mid-Prairie handled Central Lee in the opening round, 49-7. Kayden Reinier has rushed 124 times this season for 1,190 yards and 17 TDs.

Class A

Wapello (4-3) at No. 2 Iowa City Regina (6-1)

Regina looks to duplicate its prior performance against Wapello, a 43-16 victory Sept. 18. After a bye week, the Regals have their weapons ready to go, and they are plentiful. Ashton Cook (1,529 passing yards, 16 TDs) and Alec Wick (39 catches, 725 yards, 12 TDs) have been one of the state’s best passing combos for three years, and now the Regals have added another lethal dimension in Theo Kolie, who has rushed for 987 yards and 20 touchdowns. Wapello drilled Columbus Community, 56-6, in Round 1 behind 271 passing yards and four touchdowns by Tade Parsons. Caden Thomas caught two of those TDs, amassing 207 yards on just five catches.

Alburnett (5-2) at Belle Plaine (6-2)

On paper, this is the plum of the six area Class A second-rounders. After back-to-back losses to top-10 teams, Alburnett has quietly strung together four wins in a row, including a 40-19 triumph over Highland in the first round. Hunter Caves passed for two touchdowns and ran for one more. After falling to Grundy Center in its regular-season finale, Belle Plaine bounced back in a big way, 44-6 over Lynnville-Sully. Luke DeMeulenaere has 1,292 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns under his belt. He’ll try to make headway against a Pirates defense that allows 12.7 points per game.

Other area games


Keokuk (4-3) at No. 4 Washington (7-0)

Dubuque Wahlert (5-2) at Decorah (6-1)


West Burlington-Notre Dame (4-4) at No. 2 Williamsburg (7-0)

Forest City (4-2) at No. 4 Waukon (5-1)

Oelwein (3-5) at No. 6 Solon (5-2)

Anamosa (3-5) at No. 9 Camanche (6-1)

Iowa Falls-Alden (5-3) at Independence (5-1)

Crestwood (4-3) at Monticello (5-1)


Cardinal (5-3) at No. 3 Sigourney-Keota (7-0)

Mediapolis (6-2) at West Branch (5-2)

Denver (5-3) at Cascade (6-2)

Durant (4-3) at Dyersville Beckman (5-2)


Clayton Ridge (3-5) at No. 4 Edgewood-Colesburg (7-0)

East Buchanan (3-5) at No. 5 MFL MarMac (7-1)

Lake Mills (5-3) at No. 7 South Winneshiek (7-1)

Maquoketa Valley (2-6) at Lisbon (6-2)


Lone Tree (4-3) at No. 5 Montezuma (7-0)

Springville (6-2) at No. 7 Easton Valley (7-1)

Lansing Kee (5-3) at No. 10 Janesville (7-1)

New London (6-1) at English Valleys (7-1)

HLV (5-3) at BGM (7-1)


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