CEDAR RAPIDS — This one wasn’t over before it began. Just pretty close, as it turned out.
When it was over is a whole other story.
Even facing another top-10 team didn’t provide this Cedar Rapids Xavier football juggernaut too much of a challenge Friday afternoon/evening. The top-ranked Saints kept marching on, scoring touchdowns on all four of their first-half possessions and stomping No. 7 Western Dubuque, 35-0.
That makes it an even 20 wins in a row and 34 regular-season wins in a row for this impeccable Class 3A program. Xavier is celebrating its 20th year of existence, so there’s a bit of symmetry here.
The win streak very likely isn’t going to end with that number because this team is really, really, really good, which you already knew.
“To be honest with you, we have never mentioned (to our kids) what you just mentioned,” Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said, when asked about the streaks. “We never will mention it because I don’t want to mention it, if you know what I’m saying. We are just literally, and I know you guys think we’re cliche central out here, but we are just trying to get better every week and keep doing our job.”
Opening kickoff was moved up to 5 p.m. due to the threat of heavy rain and lightning, yet we only got one play into the second half before that hit, forcing a delay of over three hours. Yes, three-plus hours, with a restart not coming until 9:20, with, appropriately, a deluge of rain falling almost immediately.
“We’ve had that (delay) experience before. I think last year against Waverly for homecoming,” said Xavier quarterback Quinn Schulte. “We were just trying to stay loose and stay focused in the locker room. Just come out and try to do our job in the second half.”
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The first half was an absolute clinic, as Xavier (7-0) ran the football at will, interspersed a bit of passing to tight end Matt Jordebrek and shut down Western Dubuque’s offense completely. The Saints had 250 yards to the Bobcats’ 41.
Schulte and running back Braden Stovie accounted for 167 rushing yards on 25 attempts, tucking themselves safely behind an offensive line that simply dominated WD’s 3-4 defense. Since they never get their names in the newspaper, those linemen (left tackle to right tackle) are Derrick Voss, Wyatt Johnson, Isaac Ball, Hayden Ostwinkle and Josh Volk.
Xavier scored on all four of its first-half possessions, methodically marching downfield on all of them. Schulte scored on a 9-yard run, Stovie on a 2-yarder, sandwiched on either side by TD passes from Schulte to Jordebrek.
The first one was a 21-yarder off a pop pass in the first quarter, in which Jordebrek was wide open. In the second quarter, the same play worked for 38 yards to the Western Dubuque 5, then Schulte connected with his tight end on the next play for the score.
Jordebrek has caught eight passes this season, six for touchdowns.
“It’s really great to pound and pound on the ground with the running game, and then the passing game comes,” said Jordebrek, celebrating his 18th birthday. “It feels great.”
Xavier’s defense bottled up Western Dubuque’s spread, harrassing quarterback Calvin Harris and stopping top running back Ben Bryant and wide receiver Drake George. Junior Harris — the University of Mississippi baseball commit — was sacked four times, completing 4 of 7 passes for 24 yards. Western Dubuque dropped to 5-2, its other loss coming by just a point to North Scott.
The second half had just one touchdown: a 24-yard pass from Schulte to Bryson Bastian. That put the continuous clock into effect for the seventh straight time this season for Xavier.
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