Golden Hawks roll into the playoffs
After a 30-0 loss at Washington to open the season, it looked like the start of a down year for Mid-Prairie.
But the Golden Hawks won seven of their next eight games and host a Class 2A first-round playoff game on Wednesday at Doc Sattler Field.
“We graduated 17 seniors from last year and were kind of young. We didn’t know what to expect,” Mid-Prairie head coach Pete Cavanagh said. “We’re pleased. We’re glad to finish in the top two of our district so that we can host a playoff game.”
The Golden Hawks (7-2) roll into the playoffs on the heel of a dominant 26-0 win over a solid West Liberty team. Junior kicker Austin Errthum knocked in four field goals in that game, while juniors Eesaa Baylor and Reid Miller ran for touchdowns.
“We just came out ready to play,” Cavanagh said. “We expected West Liberty to be a pretty tough game, and it was, but our defense and special teams played great. I thought we played one of our best games of the year.”
Mid-Prairie’s opponent for Wednesday’s game, PCM, may be 4-6 this season, but the Mustangs have reached the state playoffs eight of the last 10 years and reached the 2A quarterfinals last fall.
“They had a really good team a year ago,” Cavanagh said. “They graduated a lot of seniors, too. They’re better than their record shows.”
Sigourney-Keota at No. 10 Maquoketa Valley
Sigourney-Keota’s coaches figured out after the Savage Cobras’ win over Cardinal on Oct. 12 that their team would meet Maquoketa Valley in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. The Savage Cobras have been preparing for the 10th-ranked Wildcats ever since.
“I feel like we’re pretty prepared,” Sigourney-Keota head coach Jared Jensen said.
The Savage Cobras will need to be. The Wildcats (8-1) feature a balanced offense led by sophomore tailback Ryan Parmely, who has rushed for 830 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Junior quarterback Ben Dzaboff has thrown for 887 yards and six touchdowns and also rushed for 582 yards and six scores.
“The tailback they have is only a sophomore, but he placed [fourth at 195 pounds] at the state wrestling meet last year, so we know he’s a tough kid,” Jensen said. “He’s going to be tough to bring down. We’ve shored up our tackling, and hopefully we can close the gap on them and not give up too many runs.”
There’s no question what Sigourney-Keota (4-5) wants to do, and that’s run the ball with its single-wing offense. Junior Kolton Greiner has rushed for 932 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and junior quarterback Luke Lyle has added 589 yards and six scores.
“We can move the ball on anybody,” Jensen said. “When you look at [Friday’s 49-7 loss at Iowa City Regina], it looks like we got killed, but we put some drives together and got into the red zone three times. One member of their chain gang said, ‘You’re the first team who has moved the ball against our first-string defense.’ When we block things right and we absolutely want it, we can put drives together.”
Jensen hopes that playing teams like top-ranked Regina, Pella Christian, Wilton and Pekin this season pays off in the postseason.
“I don’t know if they’ve played the competition we have, so hopefully that’s an advantage for us,” he said.
Highland at No. 9 BGM
The Huskies enter the Class A playoffs with a lot of confidence after blowing out WACO 48-0 on Friday night.
“We finally put a whole football game together on Friday night,” Highland head coach Tony Johnson said. “It felt really good. Our kids played great offensively and defensively, and we just have to keep that going on Wednesday.”
Highland (6-3) held District 5’s top rushing team to just 24 yards on Friday night, and limited the district’s top rusher, WACO senior Tyler Ayers, to just five yards on 11 carries. But the Huskies will have their hands full again with ninth-ranked BGM (7-2), which averages 239 yards per game on the ground. Junior Jack Kline has rushed for 803 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and junior Kyle Gritsch has run for 610 yards and 11 scores. Senior Nate Beck has chipped in 517 yards and six touchdowns.
“They’re a hard nosed, old-school football team,” Johnson said. “They’re coming straight forward right at you. It’s kind of a power set that they run. They’re a really physical team. They’ve got good running backs, and they’re going to try to pound it at us. There are similarities between the two teams, because I would say the same about our team.”
Highland senior Derrick Stewart rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in Friday’s win over WACO, but the Huskies also take to the air more than the Bears. Junior quarterback Kody Wood threw for 149 yards and three scores against the Warriors.
WACO at No. 9 Lynnville-Sully
Coming off of a 48-0 loss at Highland, WACO head coach Chad Edeker hopes his team can rebound in time for Wednesday’s playoff game at ninth-ranked Lynnville-Sully (7-2).
“We got beat. Pounded,” he said. “We played well for about a quarter and a half. We let down the last six minutes of the first half, and they scored twice and it was 28-0.
“Every game we’ve played in we’ve played good ball for stretches of time. Highland was the first quarter and a half. Lone Tree was the whole game. Lisbon was the last two and a half quarters. It’s just a matter of getting the full game out of them. We’re trying to spark some things in them. Hopefully we can stay around for four quarters and have a shot at it at the end.”
To have a shot at the end, the Warriors (6-3) must contain Lynnville-Sully running back Bailee Samson, who has rushed for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Samson rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns and Caden Doll ran for 130 yards and three scores when the Hawks defeated WACO 54-14 in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“We have to stop the Samson kid,” Edeker said. “He’s very fast and very physical. We have to get to him and not give him any holes to run through. We have to bottle him up.”
The Warriors also must get their own running game back on track. WACO senior Tyler Ayers, who has rushed for 1,171 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, was limited to just five yards on 11 carries in Friday’s loss at Highland.