Prep Football

Iowa high school football rewind: Waukon on a roll since season-opening loss

2A No. 5 Indians have won 4 straight since 1-point defeat to Decorah

Waukon's Creed Welch scrambles during the second quarter of their 2A championship state football game against the OABCIG
Waukon's Creed Welch scrambles during the second quarter of their 2A championship state football game against the OABCIG Falcons at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

WAUKON — Rarely is a season-opening loss a good thing.

Waukon football coach Chad Beerman can make a case that his team was propelled by that early one-point setback to rival Decorah.

“To be honest, I don’t know had we not lost Week 1 if we’d be where we are at right now,” Beerman said. “I think that refocused our kids a lot.

“It certainly gets the kids’ attention. They’re paying a lot more attention to what you’re saying. It takes some of the shine off what they could be, but you can build them back up from there.”

Waukon has been on a tear against Class 2A competition, posting four straight decisive victories. The Indians throttled Crestwood, 54-0, Friday night to improve to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in 2A District 4 with a regular-season finale at North Fayette Valley next Friday.

“We have a lot of kids with experience,” Beerman said. “It didn’t take a lot of direction, but that little bit helped.”

The Indians have averaged more than 47 points per game, beating teams by almost 39 points per game. They have gained more than 273 yards on the ground per game since managing just 82 rushing yards and 18 points against the Vikings.

“We basically rebuilt the offensive line,” Beerman said. “Only one kid is playing in the same spot he did that week. This line has kind of gelled.”

One of the reshuffled players was senior Brennan Sweeney, who moved from tight end to tackle. He still caught a batted pass in his first start at tackle against Waverly-Shell Rock. Sweeney has helped solidify the line.

“He puts the team and winning above any statistics,” Beerman said. “He’s been really good about it. Obviously, to have a successful team, you have to have kids willing to do what they need to do rather than what they want to do.”

Sweeney is among a core group of Waukon leaders, including quarterback Creed Welch, running back Ethan O’Neill, senior lineman Walker Hermeier and defensive pillar Lincoln Snitker. Welch has 1,015 total offensive yards, including 594 passing and 396 rushing. He has accounted for 17 touchdowns. O’Neill has added 513 total offensive yards and seven scores.

Defensively, the Indians have been stout. They have allowed an average of nine points per game during the win streak, playing many reserves during the blowouts.

“Our starting defense has only given up like 10 points in the last four games,” Beerman said. “We are pretty pleased with where we’re at.”

Jumble atop Class A District 4

MFL MarMac’s victory over South Winneshiek threw the Class A District 4 title race into a three-way tie with Wapsie Valley, heading into the final week of the regular season. All three teams are 5-1 overall with their lone losses at the hands of each other.

The Bulldogs nudged their way back into contention with their third win over the South Winn in the last two seasons, posting a 36-22 triumph Friday in Monona. Wapsie Valley handed MFL MarMac its lone loss by one point on Sept. 4. South Winn, however, defeated Wapsie Valley, 26-14, last week.

MFL MarMac closes the regular season at Postville (0-6). South Winn hosts Starmont (1-5). Wapsie Valley plays at Clayton Ridge (2-4).

The RPI would be the tiebreaker, but that isn’t considered with the shortened season. Iowa High School Athletic Association Assistant Director Todd Tharp said in an email to The Gazette that a tiebreaker may not be applied. The three teams will likely be separated and sent different directions for postseason assignments to avoid matchups through the first two playoff rounds.

Rushing Plainsmen

Belle Plaine’s Luke DeMeulenaere rushed for 259 yards and three TDs on 43 carries in a 28-21 victory over Mid-Prairie. DeMeulenaere leads Class A with 1,156 rushing yards.

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Belle Plaine has won five straight games, setting up a district title matchup with top-ranked Grundy Center on Friday.

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

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