Demons with all to play forFirst outright district title in 16 years up for grabs
Washington has worked hard to put itself in a position to make a deep run in the playoffs.
First, though, it has to take care of business in the final game of the regular season.
It faces Centerville on the road Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m.
A win here and Washington will clinch an outright District title. It is guaranteed of two home games in the postseason should it advance to the second round.
“It’s nice to be an outright District champ,” head coach Randy Schrader said. “The big thing is once we get past this, we want to be playing in November. That is the goal of every team in Iowa — they want to play in November.”
Centerville (4-4, 3-2) is trying to hold onto a playoff berth after dropping its last two games including a district game to Fairfield 46-31.
“We need to travel well,” Schrader said. “They do a good job down there. They have a great offense. A good quarterback. We need to be locked in and stay focused.”
The Big Reds have one of the best passing attacks in the district. Senior quarterback Michael Starcevich has 1,661 yards passing in just seven games with an accuracy of 56 percent.
“He is a big kid (6-foot-2),” Schrader said. “If he starts throwing it around we are going to have to rally to the football and force turnovers,”
He is averaging 19.8 yards per completion along with 13 touchdowns to just two picks.
“They score a lot,” Schrader said. “They have a really high potent offense.”
The Big Reds have four wide receivers with more yards than Washington’s top receiver.
Centerville senior wide out Kolton Gonnerman is his primary target. He has 987 yards receiving and eight scores with a long of 60 yards. He has 54 catches.
“We haven’t really come up against a team that has thrown the ball around a lot,” Schrader said. “Clear Creek-Amana did two years ago. It will be a good test for our defensive secondary and defensive line, can we put pressure on this kid.”
Senior Carl Sivels will have the duty of stopping Gonnerman in the secondary.
Centerville senior wide receiver Garrett Moorman is second on the team with 473 yards and four touchdowns.
Centerville junior Graydon Schmidt has 275 yards, and senior Grant Walker has 122 yards.
Washington’s offense has a stark contrast.
“We are physical,” Schrader said. “We are going to be a physical football team. Play physical defense and run the football.”
Senior Alex Coker is averaging 2.1 rushing touchdowns per game and had four offensive scores last week against Fort Madison.
He has hit the 100-yard mark in his last four games.
Junior quarterback Daryn Sebelius has rushed for more yards (489), than he has passing (434). Sebelius hasn’t shied away from taking contact during his carries.
“Have you ever seen Daryn cut in your life?” Senior Garrett Covington asked. “No, get from point A to point B as fast as you can. Be a powerhouse and impose our will.”
Keeping all the starters healthy — the starting lineup hasn’t changed in the last five games — will be a focus for Washington ahead of the playoffs.