Prep Football

Jack Lux and Jaxon Rexroth help lead Cedar Rapids Xavier back to state football semifinal

Backfield duo has combined for almost 3,200 offensive yards

Cedar Rapids Xavier quarterback Jaxon Rexroth (12) hands off to running back Jack Lux (36) in the first half of their se
Cedar Rapids Xavier quarterback Jaxon Rexroth (12) hands off to running back Jack Lux (36) in the first half of their second-round playoff game against Marion at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Jack Lux and Jaxon Rexroth are a productive backfield duo.

The Cedar Rapids Xavier seniors know exactly how to push each other. They also possess a knack to push each other’s buttons.

The good-natured ribbing is sometimes merciless, needless at times and simultaneously humorous and annoying to Saints Coach Duane Schulte.

“They will ride and get on each other,” said Schulte, including wide receiver Jack Breitbach in the mix. “They push each other when they do that because they want each other to be the best they can be. They really care for each other and their teammates.

“They are willing to do whatever it takes for their team to have success.”

Lux and Rexroth have powered top-ranked Xavier’s offense, combining for almost 3,200 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. Both will have a prominent role when the Saints face No. 8 North Scott in the Class 3A state football semifinals Thursday night at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, beginning at 7:30.

Attendance will be limited to 2,400 fans for each of the 12 semifinal games played Thursday through Saturday. The Iowa High School Athletic Association met with staff from University of Northern Iowa, Black Hawk County Health and the Iowa Department of Education and decided to restrict crowds to roughly 15 percent of the 16,324 seating capacity due to increased COVID-19 positivity rates.

Rexroth and Lux have been friends since elementary school. They can be found around each other away from practice and even throughout the offseason. Their razzing is part of a natural give-and-take.

“We’ve known each other for so long,” Rexroth said. “We’ve been close friends for a long time. That’s just how we work. We give each other a hard time but in the end it’s all love.”

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Lux added, “We have fun. Sometimes we bicker with each other during practice, but we push each other to get better.”

Lux has developed into a full-time starter at tailback this season. When he takes the field against the Lancers, he will become the third member of his family to participate in a state semifinal for Xavier.

Older brothers, Nate and Gabe, previously took the turf for Xavier. Nate was a member of the 4A runner-up team in 2013. Gabe played on the 2017 3A state title team.

“It’s going to be nice to have Nate and Gabe stop bragging about playing in the Dome and I haven’t played yet,” Lux said with a laugh. “It’s a good feeling that we have made it to the Dome. It’s not something you get to do every day and not every team gets to do it. We’re pretty lucky and extremely fortunate to even have a season and continuing it with everything going on right now.

“It shows a lot about how the guys have handled the situation and worked hard all year no matter what.”

The youngest Lux was in middle school, serving as a ball boy for the program when Nate played. He was a freshman in the student section, watching Gabe win the first of Xavier’s back-to-back state titles.

“It was a really cool experience, being there and watching them, especially being on the sidelines for Nate’s class when they played in the finals against (West Des Moines) Dowling,” said Lux, who dressed for the 2018 3A championship but didn’t play. “I’ve always wanted to be in the situation where I could play in a game like that. Thursday is going to be a great opportunity to live that experience.”

Lux has garnered about 42 percent of the Saints carries, despite giving way to reserves in the second half of lopsided games. He has rushed for a team-high 1,106 yards with eight touchdowns. Lux also has 201 receiving yards and two more scores.

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“He’s a tough kid, but he pretty much does what needs to get done on every play,” Schulte said. “If it takes contact, he’s not afraid to do it. He’s got enough shiftiness to him that he can run to daylight, too.”

Rexroth noted that Lux has the versatility to turn the corner or pound the middle of the defense. He said Lux can run, catch and block, which presents multiple possibilities for the offense.

“He can do it all,” Rexroth said. “It’s something nice to have in the backfield as well.”

Interestingly, one of his favorite plays is taking the lead and helping fullback Nick Lemke block for Rexroth, who has a whopping 20 rushing TDs. Rexroth has rushed for 706 yards as well.

“Those two guys have been my best friends,” Lux said. “When we are able to work together in situations like that, you can kind of tell. It’s the chemistry.”

The reins of the Saints offense have been placed in Rexroth’s hands after limited action as a junior. An athlete with NCAA Division I potential, he has passed for 1,190 yards and 10 TDs in addition to his strong rushing totals.

“He can run the ball,” Schulte said. “He throws pretty good. Enough to get the job done.”

Schulte said Rexroth is a student of the game, making smart decisions during play. Not one for hyperbole, Schulte said Rexroth exhibits bits and pieces of his previous signal callers that have reached the semifinals since 2012, comparing him most to 2013 starter Quinton Scholer.

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“He has an element of a lot of our former quarterbacks,” Schulte said. “He’s smart, loves football, doesn’t have the biggest or strongest gun in the world but he’s a competitor. He hates to lose. He never takes a play, drill or repetition off. He’s constantly going hard.”

Xavier (10-0) will face the team that caused their year hiatus from the semifinals. North Scott (7-1) beat the Saints in last year’s first round.

“We remember it, but we’re really just looking to go out and play Xavier football,” Lux said. “Do our jobs and not focus on the outside noise. Hopefully, getting ourselves a chance to play for a state championship.”

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

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