Prep Football

Week 8 Eastern Iowa high school football preview capsules

West Delaware visits Marion in a 3A District 4 showdown

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Keegan Simmons stiff-arms Linn-Mar's Connor McSperrin (right) in the first quarter of their game last week. No. 8 Prairie is at Burlington this week. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Keegan Simmons stiff-arms Linn-Mar's Connor McSperrin (right) in the first quarter of their game last week. No. 8 Prairie is at Burlington this week. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Gazette area football capsules for Week 8:



West Delaware at Marion

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Thomas Park Field

Records and rankings — No. 8 West Delaware is 6-1 overall, 5-0 Class 3A District 4; Marion is 5-2, 4-1.

Overview — By far the biggest game of the night involving a Metro team. Marion has won three straight games, and the Indians’ postseason fate will be decided in the next two weeks (they face Davenport Assumption next week). Win out, and Marion is the district champion. Lose both, and the Indians miss the playoffs. Split, and there’s a chance they could get in. The formula is simple for West Delaware; a win Friday assures the Hawks a district title. Hawks QB Nick Casey is fifth in 3A in passing yards (1,299), and target Tyler Kelley ranks fifth in receiving yards (526, in 37 catches). Marion has a good passing tandem as well in Travor Paulsen and Blair Brooks.



Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Cedar Falls

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Cedar Falls

Records and rankings — Jefferson is 3-4 overall, 2-1 Class 4A District 5; No. 7 Cedar Falls is 6-1, 3-0.

Overview — Back-to-back wins over the Waterloo schools have put Jefferson in the middle of the playoff race in District 5. In fact, if the J-Hawks pull an upset Friday (and it would be a major upset), they would have the inside track for the title. A loss would hurt, but might not be fatal to the J-Hawks' chances if they get some help next week. Cedar Falls, on the other hand, can wrap up the district title with a win this week. The Tigers are second in 4A in scoring defense, allowing 10.0 points per game, and have yielded six points in the last three weeks. CF quarterback Nick Gillett is the fourth most efficient quarterback in 4A and has thrown 17 TD passes to just one interception.


Linn-Mar at Iowa City West

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Trojan Field

Records and rankings — Linn-Mar is 1-6 overall, 1-2 Class 4A District 8; No. 2 West is 7-0, 3-0.

Overview — One of just two unbeatens in Class 4A (West Des Moines Dowling is the other), West can clinch the district title if it takes care of business at home. The Trojans are a well-oiled machine offensively, averaging 43.3 points per contest. Evan Flitz is one of the top quarterbacks in any class; he has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards and 16 touchdowns (against three interceptions). Traevis Buchanan (46 catches, 749 yards, eight TDs) is the top target. Linn-Mar picked up its lone win of the season in Week 5, 35-21 over Ottumwa, and the Lions will be favored next week as their season concludes at home against Burlington.

Iowa City High at Bettendorf

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Bettendorf

Records and rankings — City High is 2-5 overall, 1-2 Class 4A District 7; No. 4 Bettendorf is 6-1, 3-0.

Overview — City High’s playoff hopes likely evaporated last week in a 21-16 loss to Muscatine, so the Little Hawks are playing for pride in the final two weeks. Receiver Zach Jones has been a major silver lining for the Little Hawks. The senior leads Class 4A in receptions (64) and receiving yards (910). Bryce Hunger has passed for 1,455 yards, completing 55 percent of his throws. Bettendorf has won six straight after dropping its season opener, and the Bulldogs will battle for the district title next week against Davenport Central.

Cedar Rapids Washington at Waterloo East

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Waterloo

Records and rankings — Washington is 4-3 overall, 2-1 Class 4A District 5; East is 2-5, 0-3.


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Overview — Assuming it doesn’t trip Friday, Washington can play for a playoff berth next week when it hosts Waterloo West. The Warriors have won three of their last four games, including a 46-7 drubbing of Mason City last week. Haven Henningsen has rushed for 765 yards. Through 2-5 doesn’t sound like much, East has made great strides toward respectability this season, and has been far more competitive than in recent years. Sophomore quarterback Dylan Reyes has passed for nine touchdowns and has run for three.

Cedar Rapids Prairie at Burlington

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Burlington

Records and rankings — Eighth-rated Prairie is 6-1 overall, 2-1 Class 4A District 8; Burlington is 1-6, 1-2.

Overview — The next two games in this list figure to be mere warmups for a Week 9 showdown between Prairie and Cedar Rapids Kennedy, one that should determine the second playoff qualifier from 4A-8. Prairie has been carried by a rushing attack that ranks third in 4A at 345.7 yards per game. Keegan Simmons is the focal point of it; his 1,301 yards ranks No. 2 individually in 4A, and he has 19 touchdowns. Braxton Zimmerman adds 628 yards, more than 10 per carry. Burlington snapped an eight-game losing streak last week by edging Ottumwa, 27-20.

Ottumwa at Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium

Records and rankings — Ottumwa is 0-7 overall, 0-3 Class 4A District 8; Kennedy is 5-2, 2-1.

Overview — Kennedy is favored to extend Ottumwa’s 17-game losing streak and set up next week’s showdown with Prairie. The Cougars might be without quarterback B.J. White, who was injured late in the Cougars’ loss to Iowa City West last week, a defeat that ended a four-game win streak. Cade Parker remains the state’s top tackler in 4A with 79 stops. Sam Yeaway is a capable back for Ottumwa; he has netted 574 yards (6.8 per carry) with six touchdowns.

Cedar Rapids Xavier at Vinton-Shellsburg

Time and site — 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Vinton


Records and rankings — Top-ranked Xavier is 7-0 overall, 5-0 Class 3A District 3; Vinton-Shellsburg is 1-6, 1-4.

Overview — Xavier has a playoff berth under its belt already, and can wrap up the district championship with a road win. The Saints’ regular-season winning streak stands at 25 games. Defense has been Xavier’s identity; the Saints are allowing just 7.7 points per game, a figure that is third best among 3A teams, and have forced 17 turnovers. Quinn Schulte has been tremendous on both sides of the ball. He has passed for 722 yards and nine touchdowns, rushed for 335 and eight scores, and is fourth on the team in tackles with 23.5. Vinton-Shellsburg picked up a win in Week 5 against South Tama, but has allowed 44.2 points per game in its six losses.

Columbus Community at Iowa City Regina

Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Regina

Records and rankings — Columbus is 2-5 overall, 1-4 Class 1A District 4; Regina is 5-2, 5-0.

Overview — It’s been a typical series of blowouts again this season for Regina, which has won by counts of 56-7, 42-20, 45-7, 49-7 and 43-6. This figures to be more of the same. Isaac Vollstedt averages about 10 yards per carry to lead the ground attack, and Michael Conlon is pushing the 1,000-yard mark through the air. Columbus picked up a 28-14 win over Highland last week to snap a five-game losing skid. Abel Mena has rushed for 759 yards and eight TDs for the Wildcats,

Mount Vernon at West Liberty

Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at West Liberty

Records and rankings — Second-ranked Mount Vernon is 6-1 overall, 5-0 Class 2A District 4; West Liberty is 5-2, 4-1.

Overview — West Liberty shook the district race — and the 2A rankings — last week when it shocked then-No. 1 Williamsburg on the road, 14-9. It was quite a bounce-back after a 21-20 loss to Mediapolis the previous week, and it put the Comets in position to make the playoffs with a strong stretch run. In fact, they can win a district title if they run the table, but that will take another shocker Friday. The Mustangs have scored nearly 50 points per game through their current six-game win streak and are developing a nice run game (Paul Ryan has netted 918 yards and 13 touchdowns) to go with Drew Adams and the passing attack. Joe Kelly has rushed for 917 yards and eight touchdowns for the Comets.




Belle Plaine at Gladbrook-Reinbeck

Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Gladbrook

Records and rankings — Belle Plaine is 6-1 overall, 5-0 Class A District 5; No. 7 Gladbrook-Reinbeck is 6-1, 4-1.

Overview — Its 29-game win streak broken Saturday by Hudson, two-time defending Class A state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck now is playing for postseason survival. Belle Plaine has motored through its last five games, none by less than 24 points. But the Plainsmen’s time of reckoning has arrived against the district’s two powers — G-R and Hudson. The Plainsmen have a wealth of threats on the ground — four with 400-plus yards, three with at least nine touchdowns. That will be put to the test by a Rebels defense that surrenders just 6.4 points per game.

Iowa Valley at Lone Tree

Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Lone Tree

Records and rankings — Iowa Valley is 5-2 overall, 3-1 8-Player District 4; Lone Tree is 7-1, 4-0.

Overview — Three teams are fighting for two playoff spots in this district — Midland (5-2, 4-0) is the other — and Lone Tree gets both of the other contenders in the final two weeks. Both teams are explosive offensively, with Iowa Valley averaging 54.6 points per game and Lone Tree 51.4. Both have a talented junior running back; Lone Tree’s Bryce Houser has rushed for 1,026 yards and 22 touchdowns while Iowa Valley’s Garet Sims is at 950 yards and 18 TDs. They rank seventh and eighth in the class in ground yards. And both have a sophomore quarterback that keeps defenses honest.



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