CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Barkley Hill is the real deal. So is James Harrington.
They obviously help make Cedar Falls the real deal, too.
The second-ranked Tigers rode the legs of Hill and the hands of Harrington to a 28-7 romp over No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier last night at the UNI-Dome in a battle of top-10 Class 4A football teams that surprisingly wasnt much of a battle.
CF built a 21-0 halftime lead to improve to 5-0. Perhaps suffering somewhat of a hangover from last week's last-second loss at Iowa City High, mistake-prone Xavier dropped to 3-2.
"That's a good question. I don't know," Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said. "We didn't really say anything (to the team) about last week, in terms of having an affect on us, to be honest with you. We did tell our guys that even if we had beaten City High last week, we weren't going to be overjoyed about it. We knew we had to get ready for this week."
Considering its rather easy schedule, you didnt really know how good this Cedar Falls club is. You might now.
It's tough to defend an offense that has a 6-foot, 200-pound running back like Hill and a speedy wide receiver like Harrington. The juniors accounted for 205 yards in the first half alone.
CF had 203 as a team.
"Some people have been saying that we have had a way easy schedule so far," said Harrington, who is considered a probable Division I college recruit as a basketball point guard. "This Xavier team was good, so we tried to come out here and show people that we are that good."
Hill finished with 176 yards rushing and a touchdown on 21 carries. Harrington had 97 yards on four receptions, including two scores.
It was his 59-yard sideline bomb for TD from quarterback Jordan Doyle early in the second quarter that put CF on top 14-0. Harrington added a 28-yard TD catch from Hill, of all people, off a halfback pass right before the half to put it out of reach.
Uniquely, Doyle and fellow senior Kyle Denning – a transfer from NU High – rotate at QB every play. Maybe Cedar Falls should add Hill to the mix.
"Back in our freshmen year, I think, we did that same play and he threw it way over my head," Harrington said. "So he's got a good arm."
"They're a typical Cedar Falls team," Schulte said. "They played fast. Especially on about five plays, they played faster than us. We broke down defensively."
Defensive back Johnathan Beckman got the Tigers roaring early by stepping in front of an attempted wide-receiver screen from Xavier quarterback Andy Didio and running the interception back 32 yards for a first-quarter score. That was the first of four Saints turnovers: two interceptions and two lost fumbles.
On the first play after a long second-quarter punt return gave Xavier first down at the CF 37, leading rusher Pat Chizek was met immediately after taking a pitch by CF linebacker Ben Challgren and fumbled. Chizek finished with only 56 yards rushing on 22 carries.
Xavier traveled deep into CF territory twice in the second half but had a 27-yard field-goal attempt blocked and a fourth-down fumble on a quarterback sack. Just one of those nights.
Hill added insult to injury on CFs first possession of the second half, taking the second play from scrimmage 55 yards up the middle and to the house. Xavier averted the shutout with two minutes to go when Didio and James Stabile connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
The Saints turned to the pass a lot after halftime, with Didio completing 14 of 22 throws for 170 yards.
"The turnovers killed some momentum for us," Schulte said. "Against a good football team, you can't do that. Especially here, because Cedar Falls is so tough to play against in the Dome."