Prep Football

Iowa high school football playoffs: A closer look at area quarterfinal games

Grinnell-Xavier, West Liberty-Camanche among rematches for semifinal berths

Marcus Morgan of Iowa City West tosses a touchdown pass to Damarion Williams during the first half of play at Trojan Fie
Marcus Morgan of Iowa City West tosses a touchdown pass to Damarion Williams during the first half of play at Trojan Field on Friday, October 9, 2020. (Justin Torner/Freelance for the Gazette)

Capsules for Cedar Rapids Metro, Iowa City and select area Iowa high school football quarterfinal playoff games Friday. Winners advance to next week’s semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

[Statewide playoff schedule: Here are Friday's quarterfinal matchups]

Class 4A

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-3) at No. 1 Southeast Polk (8-0)

Site and time: Pleasant Hill, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Cougars have recaptured some of the form many thought would be the norm for them this season. They have a tough test against one of the favorites in 4A. Kennedy quarterback Max White has rushed for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. He amassed 255 yards and two scores in a third-round win over Cedar Rapids Prairie, giving him 499 and 5 TDs in two postseason games. The Cougars defense has allowed fewer points in each postseason game than it did in any regular-season contest and will have to slow down a high-powered Rams offense that averages 42.4 points per game. Jaxon Dailey has passed for more than 1,300 yards and 14 TDs, while Titus Christian is approaching 1,000 rushing yards with 12 TDs for Southeast Polk.

 

No. 5 Iowa City West (6-0) at No. 6 Pleasant Valley (9-0)

Site and time: Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The teams are 2-2 all-time against each other. This game includes a conflict of styles. The Trojans have a wide-open versatile offense propelled by senior Marcus Morgan. The NCAA Division I recruit has passed for 1,420 yards and 17 TDs. He has plenty of targets to hit, completing at least 12 passes to five receivers. All of them have more than 150 yards with four surpassing the 200-yard mark. His top target is D-I prospect Grahm Goering, who has 474 yards on 25 catches and 10 TDs. Pleasant Valley’s option rush attack is tops among 4A teams. The Spartans have rushed for 2,630 yards and 29 TDs. Caden Kipper leads Pleasant Valley with 977 yards on the ground.

Class 3A

Grinnell (8-2) at No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0)

Site and time: Saints Field, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Saints are looking for their seventh semifinal berth since 2012 and first since back-to-back state titles in 2017-18. They survived the third-round, edging Dubuque Wahlert, 17-14. Xavier won the regular-season matchup with Grinnell, 44-20, owning a 34-point lead after the third quarter. Quarterback Jaxon Rexroth rushed for four of his 17 TDs. He also has more than 1,700 offensive yards. Jack Lux leads the Saints with 1,060 rushing yards and eight TDs. Grinnell’s Wyatt Hunter leads 3A with 2,207 rushing yards and 31 TDs. He had more than 200 yards and two TDs in the first meeting. The Tigers have posted two straight shutouts, including a 6-0 win over No. 10 Pella in the third round.

No. 9 West Delaware (10-1) at No. 8 North Scott (6-1)

Site and time: Lancer Field in Eldridge, 7 p.m.

Outlook: West Delaware has one of the most potent offenses and dominant defenses in any classes, thumping No. 4 Washington, 47-14, last round. The Hawks have defeated opponents by an average of 40.5 points per game, scoring at 49.4 clip and allowing just 8.8 each contest. West Delaware quarterback Jared Voss ranks first in 3A with 34 TDs. A whopping 28 of those are on the ground. He is fourth in 3A with 2,367 all-purpose yards. Teammate Wyatt Voelker has 1,131 yards and 15 TDs for the Hawks. who lead 3A in rushing (3,523), rushing TDs (65) and all-purpose yards (5,198). North Scott advanced with a late score and 13-10 victory over No. 5 Davenport Assumption. The Lancers allow just 9.6 points per game, posting three shutouts. Quarterback Carter Markham has 1,318 offensive yards and 15 TDs for North Scott.

Class 2A

No. 6 Solon (7-2) at No. 4 Waukon (7-1)

Site and time: Richard Hermeier Sports Complex, 7 p.m.

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Outlook: A battle between 2019 state runner-up teams for a return trip to the UNI-Dome. Solon was a Class 3A finalist, while Waukon reached the 2A title game a year ago. The Indians are looking for their fourth semifinals berth in the last five seasons. Quarterback Creed Welch and Ethan O’Neill provide a strong 1-2 punch. Welch has passed for 1,000 yards and 13 TDs, adding 583 and 10 on the ground. O’Neill has rushed for 794 yards and 14 TDs. Brennan Sweeney and Lincoln Snitker lead a stout defense with 17 and 15 tackles for loss, respectively. Solon has won seven straight games, beating Independence, 37-21, to reach the quarterfinals. The Spartans are fifth in 2A with 4,043 all-purpose yards. Quarterback Blake Timmons has stepped in and tallied 1,647 yards, passing for 1,030 and 14 TDs. His top target is Colon Hoffmann, who has 27 catches for 646 yards and 11 TDs, which is tied for third in 2A.

West Liberty (6-2) at No. 9 Camanche (8-1)

Site and time: Camanche High School, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Comets have knocked off two straight ranked opponents in consecutive thrillers, returning a blocked kick as time expired to beat No. 2 Williamsburg 20-14 last week. This is a rematch with Camanche taking a 20-0 victory on Sept. 25. West Liberty hasn’t lost since that regular-season game. The Comets are powered by Jahsiah Galvan. The junior running back is second in 2A with 1,556 rushing yards. Galvan also leads the team with three interceptions and ranks among the Comets’ top tacklers with 47.5, trailing Drake Collins. Kobe Simon powers the line, getting 36.5 stops for West Liberty. The Comets are making their third straight quarterfinal appearance, trying to reach the semifinals for the second time in three seasons. Camanche is powered by running back Cade Everson, who is fifth in 2A with 1,323 rushing yards. Camanche QB Mike Delzell and wideout Jordan Lawrence make a strong passing tandem, leading 2A with 1,818 passing yards and 791 receiving.

Class 1A

No. 10 Waterloo Columbus (8-1) at No. 3 Sigourney-Keota (9-0)

Site and time: Cobra Field at Sigourney High School, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Sigourney-Keota is attempting to reach the semifinals for the first time since winning the 2005 state title. The Cobras are second in Class 1A, averaging 44 points per game with a 34.7-point margin of victory after a 35-14 win over Dyersville Beckman in the third round. The ground-and-pound attack has been impressive. Sam Sieren has surpassed 1,000 yards for the second straight season, amassing a team-high 1,281 and 21 TDs. Cade Molyneux adds more than 1,000 yards of offense and 16 TDs. Sigourney-Keota’s 2,727 rushing yards ranks second in 1A. The defense has forced 15 turnovers, including five interceptions and two fumble recoveries from Brady Duwa. The Sailors have won seven straight and only allow 10 points per game. Carter Gallagher has passed for 1,220 yards and 14 TDs, rushing for 511 and nine more for Columbus.

Class A

No. 8 Wapsie Valley (9-1) at No. 2 Iowa City Regina (8-1)

Site and time: Regals Field, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Regals’ drop in division has been dominant, beating Class A foes by about 40 points per game. The Regals are unbeaten in the class and have won eight straight overall, topping Alburnett 28-7 last round. Regina has a powerful three-pronged offensive attack. Quarterback Ashton Cook leads the class with 2,046 passing yards and ranks second with 2,196 all-purpose yards. Receiver Alec Wick is tops with 986 yards and 14 TD catches. Running back Theo Kolie is tied for second with 24 rushing TDs, posting 1,147 yards on the ground. Wapsie Valley possesses a good passing attack. Quarterback Kobe Risse leads Class A with 25 passing TDs, including 12 to Blayde Bellis. The Warriors allow just 10.3 points per game.

No. 5 MFL MarMac (9-1) at No. 3 Saint Ansgar (9-0)

Site and time: Saint Ansgar High School, 7 p.m.

Outlook: MFL MarMac has reached the quarterfinals for a second straight season and has sights set on its first semifinal appearance after beating No. 4 Edgewood-Colesburg, 22-14, in the third round. The game features two of the top rushing attacks in Class A. Saint Ansgar is second with 3,180 rushing yards, while MFL MarMac has rumbled for 2,962. Cullen McShane has 1,293 yards and 19 TDs on the ground for the Bulldogs. Teammate Gabe McGeough has added 1,075 yards and 10 scores. Saint Ansgar’s Ryan Cole is approaching the school’s all-time rushing mark. He ranks second in Class A with 1,659 yards and has 21 TDs. He is third with 2,193 all-purpose yards. The Saints were semifinalists a year ago.

8-Player

No. 7 Easton Valley (9-1) at No. 5 Montezuma (9-0)

Site and time: Badger-Gabriel Field, 7 p.m.

Outlook: There is no secret to this game. Easton Valley will have to do something no other team has been able to do this season or much of last season for that matter — stop Eddie Burgess. The Braves junior QB has been a scoring machine, setting a state record with 68 touchdowns. He added eight more in last week’s 56-14 win over BGM. He leads the class in passing yards (2,590), passing TDs (43), completions (144) and all-purpose yards (3,774). Easton Valley’s lone loss is to top-ranked Don Bosco. The River Hawks shut out Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 55-0, in the third round. Kolton Murphy has rushed for 1,354 yards and quarterback Conor Gruver has thrown for 1,994 to lead Easton Valley, which has three receivers with more than 500 yards.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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