Prep Football

Iowa high school football playoffs: A closer look at area first-round games

35 area contests get the postseason rolling Friday

Springville's Spencer DeMean (22) shakes off a hit by Easton Valley's Ashten Huling (13) in their game Sept. 18. Springv
Springville’s Spencer DeMean (22) shakes off a hit by Easton Valley’s Ashten Huling (13) in their game Sept. 18. Springville hosts Midland in an 8-Player first-round playoff game Friday. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Capsules for Cedar Rapids Metro, Iowa City and select area Iowa high school first-round playoff football games. All games start at 7 p.m.

Class 4A

Cedar Rapids Jefferson (0-7) at Ames (1-4)

The struggle has been real for both of these teams, one of which will advance to play at top-ranked Southeast Polk (6-0) next week. Ames earned its first win, 42-21, over Ottumwa last week. The Little Cyclones do have some offensive capabilities; they average 25.2 points per game. Junior quarterback Tamin Lipsey has accounted for 16 touchdowns (nine passing, seven rushing). Brayden Kindhart and Dkhai Pope has rushed for two TDs apiece for Jefferson, which averages just 8.4 points per game.

Ottumwa (0-6) at Iowa City High (1-3)

City High will get another shot at No. 5 Iowa City West (4-0) next week if it can handle the Bulldogs. The Little Hawks were relegated into first-round duty due to a 28-24 loss to Iowa City Liberty in their regular-season finale. But they’ll be favored in this one behind senior QB Raph Hamilton, who has rushed for four touchdowns, passed for four more and has accounted for more than 800 yards of total offense in just four games. Gable Mitchell averages 21.4 yards per catch, and has scored twice.

Class 3A

Benton Community (3-4) at Mount Pleasant (3-3)

This appears to be one of the most evenly matched first-rounders featuring an area team. Benton hopes to get its offense in gear after being held to one touchdown or less in three of its last four games. Jacob Brecht is a steady receiver; he’s got 33 catches this season, and has scored three touchdowns. Mount Pleasant got out to a 2-1 start (including a win over Clear Creek Amana), but has dropped two of its last three games. Jack Johnson (729 rushing yards, nine TDs) is the Panthers’ featured weapon. The winner will travel to No. 8 North Scott (4-1) next week.

Marion (2-4) at Clear Creek Amana (4-3)

Marion has dropped three straight games, but the Indians showed some good signs in a 27-24 loss last week to DeWitt Central. The Indians have established a potent rushing attack; Lucas Unsen and Alex Mota have combined for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. Clear Creek Amana has won three in a row before dropping a toughie to Grinnell, 31-24, last week. Ryan Navara (947 passing yards, eight TDs) has a balanced receiving crew at his disposal, and Alex Figueroa (884 yards, 10 TDs) spearheads the ground attack. The winner plays at No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-0) next week.

Waverly-Shell Rock (4-3) at Western Dubuque (4-3)

Defending 3A state champion Western Dubuque faces a challenge right out of the chute. The Bobcats defeated WSR 28-9 in Week 4, but the Go-Hawks are riding a two-game win streak, including a road upset of district champion Decorah two weeks ago. Bobcats QB Garrett Baumhover has become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the state, throwing for 1,598 yards and 16 TDs. Top targets are Tommy DeSollar (37 catches, 603 yards, six TDs) and Dakota Lau (24 for 441, seven TDs). WSR is a ground-oriented outfit, with Asa Newsom and McCrae Hagarty combining for more than 1,200 yards. The winner travels to No. 9 West Delaware (7-1) or hosts Waterloo East (1-6) next week.

Class 2A

Anamosa (2-5) at Center Point-Urbana (3-4)

CPU has won three of its last four games, and hung with Solon for a half last week before falling, 41-14. The Stormin’ Pointers couldn’t be more balanced, rushing for 159.9 yards per game and passing for 160.2. Sophomore Cole Werner has rushed for 571 yards and five scores. Anamosa’s two wins have come against quality teams — Dyersville Beckman (4-2) and Iowa Falls-Alden (4-3). Trey Klatt has 31 receptions and averages 15.5 yards per catch. He has scored four touchdowns. The victor will play at ninth-ranked Camanche (6-1) next week.

Vinton-Shellsburg (2-5) at No. 10 Mount Vernon (6-1)

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Mount Vernon prevailed in a competitive Week 4 encounter, 21-13, emerging from a 7-7 halftime deadlock. Trenton Pitlik ran for 175 yards and three touchdowns in that game, and the Mustangs prevailed despite allowing 289 yards on the ground. Vikings QB Brooks Erickson is a dual-threat quarterback (659 yards passing, 504 rushing), while Mount Vernon receiver Collin Swantz has 46 catches for 480 yards and 12 TDs to his credit. If Mount Vernon wins, it will host West Liberty (3-2) or Maquoketa (2-3) next week. If the Vikings pull the upset, they’ll hit the road again.

West Liberty (3-2) at Maquoketa (2-3)

Maquoketa earned a 27-6 victory over the Comets in its season opener on Sept. 11, jumping to a 20-0 halftime lead and riding its ground game. The Cardinals ran for 355 yards, including 241 from Kannon Coakley, who scored a couple of touchdowns. Coakley has 596 yards this season, while West Liberty’s Jahsiah Salvan has run for 879 yards and five TDs. The winner will travel to 10th-ranked Mount Vernon (6-1) or host Vinton-Shellsburg (2-5) next week.

Class 1A

Wilton (2-5) at Cascade (5-2)

Cascade earned a share of the 1A District 5 title last week, outlasting Durant 42-41 in overtime. It was the Cougars' fourth game decided by decided by seven points or less, and they are 2-2 in those contests. Cascade rolled past Wilton, 34-6, three weeks ago, thanks to 251 rushing yards (on 22 carries) and three touchdowns by Jack Menster, and the Cougars intercepted four passes. If Cascade wins again, it will host Sumner-Fredericksburg (3-4) or Denver (4-3) in Round 2. If Wilton pulls the upset, it will travel to Sumner or Denver.

Class A

East Buchanan (2-5) at Bellevue (3-2)

It was just last week that these teams faced off, and Bellevue came away with a 41-22 victory at home. The Comets were successful both running (184 yards, including 126 by Jacob Waller) and passing (164 yards and three touchdown throws by Max Jackson. Waller has 694 yards in five games this season. East Buchanan has averaged just 14.0 points per game, with Connor Williams (601 rushing yards, five TDs) the top threat. Barring a shocker on the other side of this pod, the winner will play at No. 5 MFL MarMac (6-1) next week.

North Cedar (1-5) at Lisbon (5-2)

These border rivals were scheduled to meet Sept. 18, but COVID-19 put the kibosh to that. Lisbon’s two losses came to 2A West Liberty and Class A No. 2 Iowa City Regina. The Lions have scored 52 points in each of their last two games, and have weapons aplenty in the backfield. Lisbon averages 304 yards per game on the ground, and seven guys have more than 150 yards this season. They should feast on a North Cedar defense that allows 45.7 points per game. With a win, Lisbon would host Maquoketa Valley (1-6) or North Tama (2-5) in the second round. An upset would send the Knights to Delhi or Traer.

8-Player

Midland (3-3) at Springville (5-2)

The Eagles and the Orioles tussle for the second straight week; Springville prevailed last Friday, 38-20. It was 24-20 heading into the fourth quarter. The difference was the ground game, in which the Orioles posted a 295-83 yardage advantage, led by Spencer DeMean’s 222 yards and three touchdowns. Top to bottom, Pod 7 is arguably the best in the 8-Player playoff — the four teams are a combined 16-8 and all are .500 or better. The winner of this rematch will travel next week to No. 7 Easton Valley (6-1) or host Dunkerton (2-2).

Other area games

CLASS 3A

Waterloo East (1-6) at No. 9 West Delaware (7-1)

CLASS 2A

Eddyville EBF (3-3) at Tipton (3-3)

North Fayette Valley (2-5) at Crestwood (3-3)

Oelwein (2-5) at South Tama (3-4)

Roland-Story (0-6) at Independence (4-1)

Union Community (0-7) at Monticello (4-1)

CLASS 1A

Jesup (2-5) at Dike-New Hartford (5-2)

Northeast (1-4) at Dyersville Beckman (4-2)

CLASS A

Highland (1-5) at Alburnett (4-2)

Lynnville-Sully (1-4) at Belle Plaine (5-2)

Maquoketa Valley (1-6) at North Tama (2-5)

Nashua-Plainfield (1-6) at No. 7 South Winneshiek (6-1)

North Linn (2-5) at Clayton Ridge (2-5)

Postville (0-7) at No. 5 MFL MarMac (6-1)

Starmont (1-6) at No. 8 Wapsie Valley (6-1)

8-PLAYER

Baxter (3-4) at Iowa Valley (3-4)

Colo-Nesco (2-5) at HLV (4-3)

Lone Tree (3-3) at Winfield-Mount Union (4-3)

Meskwaki (3-4) at Ackley AGWSR (3-4)

Moravia (1-6) at English Valleys (6-1)

Tri-County (1-5) at BGM (6-1)

Turkey Valley (2-4) at Lansing Kee (4-3)

West Central (0-6) at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-0)

Complete brackets: Iowa high school football first- and second-round playoff pairings

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

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