Prep Football

Iowa high school football Week 8: A closer look at 12 area games

Headliners are at Turkey Valley and MFL MarMac

Edgewood-Colesburg's Spencer Staner points towards the Vikings fan section after catching a touchdown pass against Avoca AHSTW in a Class A semifinal game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Edgewood-Colesburg's Spencer Staner points towards the Vikings fan section after catching a touchdown pass against Avoca AHSTW in a Class A semifinal game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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Week 8 capsules for top Cedar Rapids/Marion, Iowa City and area high school football games:

Davenport Assumption at Iowa City Liberty

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at North Liberty

Records and rankings: Assumption is 5-2 overall, 3-0 Class 3A District 5; Liberty is 5-2, 2-1.

Overview: Liberty has a good shot at its first playoff appearance ... if it can pull a minor upset this week, then take care of business in its regular-season finale against Clinton. A split probably won’t be enough. Max Tafolla is among the top 10 in Class 3A in rushing. The Lightning escaped last week, 14-12, against DeWitt Central. Assumption has won three straight games, but the Knights’ concluding schedule is challenging; they finish against district co-leader North Scott in Week 9. Assumption QB Tyler Kulhanek has been responsible for more than 1,300 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns.

 
 

Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Davenport Central

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Davenport (Brady Street Stadium)

Records and rankings: Fifth-ranked Kennedy is 6-1 overall, 3-0 Class 4A District 5; Central is 3-4, 2-1.

Overview: Kennedy took control of the district race last week by rallying for a 28-18 win over Bettendorf at Kingston Stadium, and the Cougars can clinch the title with a win Friday. Down 12-0 at halftime, the Cougars got their punishing running game in gear in the second half to take down the Bulldogs. At 316.6 yards per game, Kennedy has the top running outfit in 4A, led by Cairron Hendred (1,031 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Max White (591 and 10). Brandtley Koske has emerged as a big-play guy. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ defense — led by Cade Parker (55.5 tackles) — is allowing 15 points per game. After winning its first two district games, Central saw its postseason hopes flicker with a 43-20 loss to Cedar Rapids Washington last week.

 
 

Center Point-Urbana at Cedar Rapids Xavier

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Saints Field

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Records and rankings: CPU is 3-4 overall, 2-1 Class 3A District 4; No. 3 Xavier is 6-1, 2-1.

Overview: How will Xavier bounce back from a loss? It’s a question that hasn’t been asked since 2014, the last time they suffered a regular-season setback. Xavier got down 20-7 last week at Western Dubuque, then outplayed the Bobcats in the second half. But two fumbles were costly in a 20-14 loss that ended the Saints’ 32-game winning streak. CPU’s attack has gone quiet in the last four weeks, scoring just 21 points in that span. Somehow, though, the Stormin’ Pointers have split those four games thanks to a pair of 7-0 victories, including one last week over Maquoketa. CPU’s Mitch Bawek (62) and Reece Miller (61.5) rank in the 3A top 10 in tackles.

 
 

Cedar Rapids Prairie at Waterloo West

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Waterloo

Records and rankings: Prairie is 5-2 overall, 3-0 Class 4A District 3; West is 3-4, 0-3.

Overview: Take care of business this week, and Prairie will have a chance to play for a district title next Friday at the UNI-Dome against Cedar Falls. But the Hawks can’t afford to have fewer than both eyes on Waterloo West, because a stumble Friday could be catastrophic to their playoff hopes. Prairie has won three straight games, piling up 33 first-quarter points in a 46-19 victory over Cedar Rapids Jefferson last week. Nick Pearson (1,086 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) ranks third in 4A yardage, and Tariq Amir is a very suitable complement with 549 yards and six scores. West has dropped three in a row, but has a ground threat of its own in Isaac Tolbert (1,012 yards, six TDs).

Jesup at Iowa City Regina

Site and time: 7 p.m. Friday, at Regina

Records and rankings: Jesup is 2-5 overall, 0-3 Class 1A District 6; 10th-rated Regina is 6-1, 3-0.

Overview: The Regals can be excused for a bit of a lull this week. They’re coming off a 37-28 win over North Linn, then they have a showdown with top-ranked Dike-New Hartford next week with the district title on the line. Ashton Cook passed for 291 yards last week, upping his season mark to 1,695, with 19 touchdowns. Alec Wick leads Class 1A in catches (58), receiving yards (907) and receiving touchdowns (12). Jesup opened the season with a win over defending Class A state champion Hudson, but has since dropped five of its last six games.

Linn-Mar at Iowa City High

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Bates Field

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Records and rankings: Linn-Mar is 5-2 overall, 3-0 Class 4A District 4; City High is 2-5, 1-2.

Overview: Win or lose Friday, Linn-Mar’s key to a district title comes next week at home against Pleasant Valley. The Lions have flourished since quarterback Marcus Orr returned from a shoulder injury, winning their last three games by 16 points or more. As a result, they have pocketed their first winning season since 2014 with more yet to accomplish. Orr threw for 219 yards and four touchdowns last week as the Lions built a 35-0 lead and held off Muscatine, 35-19. City High’s playoff hopes probably evaporated as a result of last week’s 38-14 loss to Pleasant Valley, managing just 176 yards.

 
 

Dubuque Hempstead at Cedar Rapids Jefferson

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium

Records and rankings: Hempstead is 2-5 overall, 0-3 Class 4A District 3; Jefferson is 3-4, 1-2.

Overview: Jefferson probably has exited the 4A playoff chase, but a winning season remains in play. The J-Hawks gave up 33 first-quarter points to Cedar Rapids Prairie last week and fell, 46-19. Hempstead has been the tough-luck team of 4A District 3, dropping its three league games by a combined 13 points. Four of the Mustangs’ five losses have been by eight points or less, and they have a healthy offensive attack (27.6 points per game) behind QB Aidan Dunne. Jefferson’s Jacob Thompson is second in 4A in tackles, with 60.

 
 

Easton Valley at Turkey Valley

Site and time: 7 p.m. Friday, at Jackson Junction

Records and rankings: Both teams are 7-0 overall, 5-0 8-Player District 3. Turkey Valley is ranked third; Easton Valley is No. 6.

Overview: Both teams are two games clear of the rest of the field, so the winner of this game is the district champion. Both teams have wiped out the competition. Easton Valley leads 8-player teams with an average of 62.6 points per game while Turkey Valley is third at a 59.4-point clip. Defensively, both teams are allowing less than 15 points per contest. Easton Valley QB Nathan Trenkamp is among the state passing leaders, throwing for 1,694 yards, completing 66.7 percent of his throws and collecting 28 touchdowns, including 11 to Cade Jargo. Turkey Valley counters with a balanced running attack led by Eli Reicks, Dylan Elsbernd and Ethan Leibold, who have combined for 31 TDs.

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Edgewood-Colesburg at MFL MarMac

Site and time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Monona

Records and rankings: Fifth-ranked Ed-Co is 6-1 overall, 3-0 Class A District 5; No. 4 MFL MarMac is 7-0, 3-0.

Overview: Back in August, who would have guessed this would be a Week 8 headliner? A program with little recent football success, MFL MarMac is the feel-good story of the area. Its seven wins already are a school record, and its winning season is its first since 1993. The winner is the district champion, plain and simple. MFL MarMac looks safe for the playoffs if it loses, assuming it wins next week. It could get very iffy for a 7-2 Ed-Co team though, because of a weak schedule. Both quarterbacks have thrown for more than 800 yards, and both teams have an 800-yard rusher. And both teams play strong defense; Ed-Co is allowing 8.7 points per game, MFL MarMac 10.6.

 
 

Keokuk at Solon

Site and time: 7 p.m. Friday, at Solon

Records and rankings: Keokuk is 5-2 overall, 1-2 Class 3A District 6; No. 2 Solon is 7-0, 3-0.

Overview: Solon is two wins away from a third consecutive 9-0 regular season. The Spartans handled Mount Pleasant last week, 35-14, behind Cam Miller, who passed for 193 yards and ran for two touchdowns. Miller’s top target is A.J. Coons, who has 28 receptions (six for touchdowns) and 526 yards. Keokuk is one of the most improved teams in 3A, moving from 1-8 to 5-2 in one season. But the Chiefs were beaten handily by Washington and Mount Pleasant, and this will be their toughest challenge yet. Colton Atterberg has intercepted five passes, one for a touchdown.

Benton Community at West Marshall

Site and time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at State Center

Records and rankings: Ninth-ranked Benton is 6-1 overall, 2-1 Class 2A District 7; No. 10 West Marshall is 5-2, 3-0.

Overview: It’s safe to say that the winner of this game — assuming form holds next week — will be the automatic qualifier from 2A District 7. West Marshall is the lone unbeaten for now, but a Benton win would set up a three-way tie (with Nevada), and the Bobcats most likely would have the highest RPI. These teams have thrived with different styles. Benton likes to air it out with Clay Krousie (second in 2A in passing yards with 1,799, and he completes 67.5 percent of his throws with 19 touchdowns) while West Marshall is ground-oriented behind Peyton Pope (952 yards, nine TDs).

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Iowa Valley at New London

Site and time: 7 p.m. Friday, at New London

Records and rankings: Both teams are 5-2 overall, 3-2 8-Player District 4.

Overview: There still is a lot of sorting to be done in 8-Player District 4, which has five teams sporting serious district-title hopes. HLV leads at 4-1, with Montezuma and Lone Tree joining these teams at 3-2. So this game is an elimination game for an automatic bid. These teams split two contests last season, with Iowa Valley claiming the regular-season contest and eventual state champion New London capturing the postseason battle. New London’s Shae Summerfield ranks second in the 8-player game with 1,445 yards; he has rushed for 22 touchdowns. Iowa Valley’s Ben Smith is fourth with 1,095 yards; he has 21 TDs.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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