Prep Football

Iowa high school football playoff preview: Xavier-Pella showdown comes earlier this year

Class 3A giants meet in Round 1 Friday at Xavier

Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Braden Stovie (40) charges through the Pella defense in the Saints’ 31-13 win in last year’s Class 3A state championship game in the UNI-Dome. The Saints and the Dutch will meet in the postseason for the fourth time in five years; this time, it’s in a 3A first-round game at Saints Field. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Braden Stovie (40) charges through the Pella defense in the Saints’ 31-13 win in last year’s Class 3A state championship game in the UNI-Dome. The Saints and the Dutch will meet in the postseason for the fourth time in five years; this time, it’s in a 3A first-round game at Saints Field. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

It’s Xavier-Pella, Chapter IV. But this time, it’s early. And outdoors.

Two pillars of Class 3A football excellence through the past five years, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Pella await another postseason encounter. The Iowa High School Athletic Association designated it as a first-round matchup next Friday at Saints Field.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said Saturday morning, one foot out of the door to watch the Maryland-Iowa game. “We’ll play who we play.”

The playoff pairings were released early Saturday morning. And the 3A battle between the Saints (9-0) and the Dutch (8-1) is one of the state’s most appealing opening-round matchups.

Pella defeated Xavier in the 3A semifinals in 2014 and 2016, then the Saints topped the Dutch in last year’s title game, 31-13, ending Pella’s three-year title run.

“We’ve seen them a lot, that’s for sure,” said Schulte, who went to bed Friday night long before the pairings were announced. “I’m still trying to digest it. We’ll concern ourselves with what’s right in front of us.”

Xavier is making its 13th consecutive playoff appearance. The Saints carry a 22-game winning streak, including five this year via shutout.

“It starts with the players,” Schulte said. “They buy into what’s being asked. That goes for every single guy. They are willing to accept their roles.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

'Huge challenge' awaits Central City

Matt Miers doesn’t think his Central City squad will fall into the just-happy-to-be-here trap.

“These seniors have been working so hard for the last four years to get to this point,” Miers said. “They’re ready to get back to work.”

Central City (8-1) faces two-time defending state champion Don Bosco (8-1) in an 8-Player game at Gilbertville. It will be the Wildcats’ first playoff appearance since 2008.

“It’s going to be a huge, huge challenge for us,” Miers said. “The guys are ready to get back to work. We’ll come out and play as well as we can, and whatever happens, happens.”

Both teams were part of three-way title deadlocks in their respective districts.

Benton seeks end to a long drought

Benton Community Coach Kal Goodchild looked in his team’s quadrant, and saw “a lot of travel.”

The Bobcats will be making none of it.

Seeded No. 4 in Class 2A, Benton (8-1) will host its first-round game against Greene County, and a quarterfinal, if the Bobcats win their opener.

Also, if they win that opener, it will make the school’s first postseason victory since 1980.

“That would be awesome,” Goodchild said. “We haven’t talked about the playoffs much. Now we’re talking about winning one game. If we do that, we’ll go after another one.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

“We sure didn’t get a sloppy draw. Greene County is good. They’ve got a tackle that’s 6-foot-9 and 285 pounds. I’m just glad we don’t have to try to get a rebound against him.”

Regina is out; Solon rolls on

Iowa City Regina’s playoff streak ended at 14 when the Regals were defeated by Dike-New Hartford on Friday. The area’s longest active postseason run now belongs to Solon, which has qualified 14 years in a row.

The Spartans are 9-0.

As mentioned earlier, Xavier is making its 13th straight appearance. Union Community, West Branch and Williamsburg are in the playoffs for the 11th straight year.

The state’s longest active streak belongs to West Des Moines Valley, with 27 consecutive appearances.

 

Class 4A

Bracket A

#16 Southeast Polk (4-5) at #1 Ankeny Centennial (9-0)

#9 Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-2) at #8 Johnston (7-2)

Bracket B

#15 Ankeny (5-4) at #2 West Des Moines Valley (9-0)

#10 Fort Dodge (7-2) vs. #7 West Des Moines Dowling (9-0), at Des Moines East

Bracket C

#14 Indianola (6-3) at #3 Cedar Falls (9-0)

#12 Urbandale (6-3) at #6 Waukee (7-2)

Bracket D

#13 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-3) at #4 Iowa City West (8-1)

#11 Pleasant Valley (5-4) at #5 Bettendorf (8-1)

 

Class 3A

Bracket A

#14 Sioux City Heelan (7-2) at #1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-1)

#11 Spencer (7-2) at #15 Norwalk (6-3)

Bracket B

#18 Carroll (6-3) at #2 Lewis Central (9-0)

#10 Harlan (7-2) at #7 Oskaloosa (8-1)

Bracket C

#12 Pella (8-1) at #3 Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0)

#9 Clear Creek Amana (8-1) at #6 Decorah (7-2)

Bracket D

#13 Western Dubuque (7-2) at #4 Solon (9-0)

#8 Waverly-Shell Rock (8-1) at #5 North Scott (8-1)

 

Class 2A

Bracket A

#18 Carroll Kuemper (5-4) at #1 Monroe PCM (9-0)

#8 West Marshall (7-2) at #17 Williamsburg (6-3)

Bracket B

#9 Spirit Lake (7-2) at #2 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (8-1)

#11 OABCIG (7-2) at #7 Southeast Valley (7-2)

Bracket C

#15 Union Community (6-3) at #3 Waukon (8-1)

#5 Algona (8-1) at #13 Crestwood (6-3)

Bracket D

#10 Greene County (8-1) at #4 Benton Community (8-1)

#6 Chariton (8-1) at #16 West Liberty (6-3) 

 

Class 1A

Bracket A

#12 West Lyon (7-2) at #1 South Central Calhoun (9-0)

#11 Treynor (8-1) at #9 West Sioux (8-1)

Bracket B

#13 Mediapolis (8-1) at #2 Bellevue (9-0)

#8 Pella Christian (6-3) at #7 Wilton (8-1)

Bracket C

#14 Mount Ayr (7-2) at #3 Interstate 35 (9-0)

#15 South Hamilton (7-2) at #6 Dike-New Hartford (9-0)

Bracket D

#16 Sumner-Fredericksburg (7-2) at #4 Van Meter (9-0)

#5 West Branch (8-1) at #10 Osage (7-2)

 

Class A

Bracket A

#18 Lynnville-Sully (7-2) at #1 Hudson (9-0)

#12 Highland (7-2) at #5 Durant (7-2)

Bracket B

#11 Wapsie Valley (7-2) at #2 Algona Garrigan (9-0)

#7 BGM (8-1) at #9 Edgewood-Colesburg (8-1)

Bracket C

#10 Akron-Westfield (7-2) at #3 Sloan Westwood (8-1)

#13 West Hancock (7-2) at #8 Hinton (8-1)

Bracket D

#15 Alta-Aurelia (7-2) at #4 Avoca AHSTW (9-0)

#6 North Tama (8-1) at #14 Mason City Newman (7-2)

 

8-Player

Bracket A

#13 Midland (9-1) at #1 Iowa Valley (9-0)

#9 New London (8-1) at #19 Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-2)

Bracket B

#11 Northwood-Kensett (8-1) at #2 Ar-We-Va (9-0)

#8 Newell-Fonda (8-1) at #6 Southeast Warren (10-0)

Bracket C

#15 Stanton (7-2) at #3 Exira-EHK (8-1)

#14 Lenox (7-2) at #7 Fremont-Mills (8-1)

Bracket D

#10 Rockford (8-1) at #4 Turkey Valley (8-1)

#12 Central City (8-1) at #5 Don Bosco (8-1)

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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