Prep Football

No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier vs. No. 2 Lewis Central: 3A semifinal preview and picks


Cedar Rapids Xavier's Braden Stovie (40) gets around the end on a 20-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of a high school football state quarterfinal game at Saints Field in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Braden Stovie (40) gets around the end on a 20-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of a high school football state quarterfinal game at Saints Field in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-0) and No. 2 Lewis Central (11-0) meet in a Class 3A semifinal game Thursday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m.

TV:NBC Sports Chicago+

Playoff path: Xavier survived No. 7 Pella in the quarterfinals, 14-6, and blasted No. 10 Decorah in the semifinals, 42-6. Lewis Central beat Carroll in the quarters, 51-7, and No. 10 Harlan in the semis, 35-14.

Overview: This is a game many, many people have looked forward to since the beginning of the season. Most thought it might come in the finals, but the vagaries of the IHSAA’s new RPI system means it comes here

Xavier is 3A’s defending champion, a team that has had a running clock because of a 35-point lead in 10 of its 11 games.

The Saints defense has allowed 40 points all season, an average of 3.6 per game.

Xavier’s offense has been primarily a two-headed monster of quarterback Quinn Schulte (2,228 yards rushing and passing, 41 total touchdowns) and running back Braden Stovie (1,528 yards rushing and receiving, 13 total TDs).

Leading wide receiver Kyle Moeder was injured in the Pella game and was in street clothes and a leg immobilizer for the Decorah game. His status is unknown

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Lewis Central has the state’s best quarterback in senior Max Duggan. The Texas Christian commit has accounted for a whopping 3,160 yards passing and rushing and 48 TDs. He has thrown but two interceptions.

Lewis Central was a Class 4A school last season, knocking off West Des Moines Valley in the first round, before falling to Ankeny Centennial.

The Titans’ closest game this season was that 21-point win over Harlan last week. They beat Sergeant Bluff-Luton, which has the No. 1 RPI in the class, 42-14, in the regular-season opener.

Read more:Xavier's smothering defense gets its toughest test

Our Cedar Rapids Xavier vs. Lewis Central picks

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