CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - TV9's Scott Saville went just down the road to talk to Prairie head coach Mike Morrissey and others about Friday's huge match-up between Morrissey's Hawks and Cedar Rapids Xavier in the quarterfinals of the state football playoffs.
Key area football games for the playoff quarterfinals Friday:
CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE at CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (Class 4A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Saints Field
Records and rankings: Prairie is 8-3; No. 3 Xavier is 11-0
Notable: The Hawks are soaring into the quarterfinals, looking for its third straight win over a higher seeded opponent and trying to avenge a loss for the second straight game. Prairie handed second-ranked Iowa City West its only loss of the season, 49-28, in the second round behind a strong defensive effort that forced seven turnovers and the arm of quarterback Jace Hanna, who threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Hanna has 2,353 passing yards and 28 TDs. Jarred Edmonds is his most-productive target, tallying 1,139 yards and 16 TDs in 56 catches. Demetrius harper also has 56 catches for 669 yards and six TDs.The Hawks will attempt to be the only team to beat No. 3 Xavier, which advanced with a 45-0 win over Waterloo East. Reggie Schulte powers the Saints offense with more than 2,100 yards of total offense, including 2,080 passing. He has protected the ball, throwing 35 TDs to only four interceptions. Saints wide receiver Corbin Woods has 938 yards and 14 TDs. Schulte faces a tough secondary of Mitch Dellamuth (6), Edmonds (4) and Jesse Vizzini, who have combined for 13 interceptions. Vizzini has returned all three of his for touchdowns. Brendan Miller has added 775 yards and eight TDs on the ground for Xavier, trying to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2009. Prairie is looking for its first to the UNI-Dome since becoming a 4A program and first semifinal appearance since winning the Class 3A title in 1981.
DEWITT CENTRAL AT DECORAH (Class 3A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Decorah
Records and rankings: DeWitt Central is 8-3; No. 1 Decorah is 11-0
Notable: Top-ranked Decorah continues to roll, dropping Solon 35-10 to reach the 3A quarterfinals for the fifth straight season. The Vikings are looking for their third semifinal berth in the last five seasons, finishing runner-up to Union last season. Decorah has used a strong rush attack and defense to outscore its opponents by an average margin of 41.8-7.3 in 11 games. Josey Jewell leads the Vikings with 961 rushing yards and 16 TDs. Holt Johansen has added 868 and 11 scores. Senior Andy Hovden leads the Vikings defense with 75 tackles, including 15 solo tackles for loss and seven solo sacks. Jewell has 70 tackles and is tied with Michael Peter with 10 solo tackles for loss. DeWitt Central was the third-seed out of District 6, advancing by avenging a loss to District 5 runner-up West Delaware, 24-21, and beating district champion Marion for the second time in a little more than a week. Mitch Green and Chris Keitel lead the Sabers. Green has 951 yards rushing with 11 TDs and 509 yards passing. Keitel has 1,278 yards rushing and nine scores.
WINTERSET at WILLIAMSBURG (Class 3A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Williamsburg
Records and rankings: Winterset is 8-3; No. 3 Williamsburg is 10-1
Notable: Williamsburg is attempting to improve the program's playoff record to the .500-mark (12-12) since reaching the postseason in 1996. The Raiders have reached the quarterfinals for the fifth time in school history, trying to reach the semifinals for the third time and first since 2005. Williamsburg's defense and ball control remains a key factor in its success, maintaining a plus-25 turnover margin. The Raiders dropped Pella, 54-27, getting revenge for Pella eliminating them in 2008 and 2009. Jacob Donohoe threw for 188 yards and five TDs in the second round and has 1,044 yards and 13 TDs this season. Williamsburg has rushed for 2,894 yards this season, despite leading rusher (960 yards, 16 TDs) not carrying the ball since the regular season finale. Senior Corbin Blythe is a force on the line, leading the Raiders with 84 tackles including 13 solo tackles for loss and nine solo sacks. Winterset's Noah Kaldenberg is fourth in 3A with 1,526 rushing yards and second in the class with 264 carries.
SOUTH TAMA AT GRINNELL (Class 3A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Grinnell
Records and rankings: No. 9 South Tama is 9-2; No. 2 Grinnell is 11-0
Notable: Both teams have represented District 4 well, assuring it a spot in the semifinals. Grinnell won the earlier matchup at South Tama, 26-17, in the regular season finale. The Trojans rebounded from last year's 2-7 mark with their first playoff appearance since 2007, which is the last time they reached the semifinal game. South Tama is led by 3A's leading rusher, Kyle Stepheson, who has 1,969 yards and 25 TDs.Grinnell counters with the top passer in 3A, Eli Dunne, who has 2,670 yards. He has thrown for 24 TDs.Joe Nowasell has 859 receiving yards and 10 TDs for the Tigers.
WAUKON at DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (Class 2A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Dyersville
Records and rankings: No. 10 Waukon is 9-2; No. 7 Dyersville Beckman is 10-1
Notable: Prior to 2010, Beckman had only one postseason victory, but now it has made its third straight state quarterfinal and looking for a second straight semifinal berth. the Blazers blanked No. 8 New Hampton, 21-0, in the second round. Beckman has a diverse attack led by Mitch Steger, who has 1,346 total yards, including 908 receiving, and 15 total TDs. ian Ross leads Beckman in rushing with 782 yards and 10 TDs. Kirby Kendrick has rushed for 496, while Grant Hammann has 1,458 passing yards and 11 TDs. Kendrick leads the Blazers with 79 tackles and teammate Kyle Mensen has added 10 solo tackles for loss. Waukon's playoff run has already doubled the program's postseason victory total. The Indians are making their third postseason appearance with a win in 2006, but they notched their biggest playoff win with a 21-14 win to knock off former 3A state champion Union in the second round. Waukon avenged an earlier loss to Union where they surrendered a 19-point lead with less than nine minutes to play. Parker Hesse rushed for 101 yards Monday and added 42 receiving yards, catching a 28-yard TD from Josh Thorson. Marcus Weymiller had 73 yards and a TD, while Cole Ewing had 80 rushing yards and a TD. Hesse leads the Indians with 1,130 rushing yards, Weymiller has 911 and Ewing has 809 to give Waukon a vaunted run game.
MAQUOKETA VALLEY at IOWA CITY REGINA (Class 1A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Regina
Records and rankings: No. 10 Maquoketa Valley is 10-1; No. 1 Regina is 11-0
Notable: Maquoketa Valley has produced one of its top seasons in school history. The Wildcats claimed the District 5 title and have reached the state quarterfinal for the fourth time ever and first since 2008. They will have to overcome their toughest test yet to earned their first semifinal berth. Sophomore Ryan Parmely, also a state medalist wrestler, has 1,116 rushing yards and 15 TDs to lead the Wildcats. Junior quarterback Ben Dzaboff has more than 1,100 passing yards. Carter Funke has seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries to lead the Wildcats' defense. Regina has won 39 straight games, including the last two Class 2A state titles. the Regals turned away West Branch last round with a 27-9 win. Mark Ward has passed for 1,645 yards and 24 TDs, including 115 and a score against the Bears. Alex Balke has caught 12 of those TDs with a team-high 653 receiving yards. Riley Dixon paces the Regals run game with 1,277 and 11 TDs. Regina has scored 461 points and was held under 31 points for the second time this season – both times by West Branch. The Regals allowed a season-high 20 points in a 34-point blowout over Alburnett, which is the only team to beat Maquoketa Valley.
WAPSIE VALLEY at NORTH TAMA (Class A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Fairbank
Records and rankings: No. 2 Wapsie Valley is 11-0; No. 5 North Tama is 10-1
Notable: One of the top matchups in any class, featuring a battle between District 3 and District 4 champions. These storied traditions have combined for 39 postseason appearances – Wapsie Valley 25, North Tama 14. The Red hawks are trying to get back to the semifinals for the fourth time in five years, advancing to the UNI-Dome from 2008 to 2010 and earning a runner-up finish the first year and the 2010 A state title. Wapsie Valley, which won the 2007 A state title after a runner-up bid in 2006, competed in 1A the last two seasons, being eliminated in the second round. North Tama's Jacob Wrage is second in Class A with 2,067 passing yards and 23 TDs, connecting with Mitchell Boerm for 775 yards and 10 scores. Wrage also has 537 rushing yards. Tyler Odneal leads Wapsie Valley's offense with 1,712 rushing yards and 27 TDs. Quarterback Mitchell Boevers has 1,389 passing yards and 18 TDs for Wapsie Valley.
BGM AT LYNVILLE-SULLY (Class A)
Time and site: 7 p.m., Lynnville
Records and rankings: tied-No. 9 BGM is 9-2; tied-No. 9 Lynnville-Sully is 9-2
Notable: BGM makes it first appearance in the state quarterfinal in its fifth straight playoff appearance. The bears were impressive, dethroning defending state champion Lisbon, 23-0, on the road. The Bears return to the site of their last loss, which was a 33-7 loss at Lynnville-Sully. BGM has won seven straight. Jack Kline leads the Bears with 1,140 rushing yards, while teammate Kyle Gritsch has 803. The pair has combined for 23 rushing TDs. BGM's defense has posted five shutouts this season, allowing a season-high in that last loss. Lynnville-Sully's has been even more impressive with seven shutouts, outscoring foes, 419-89, allowing a total of 15 points the last eight games. Kline and Lynnville-Sully's T.J. Cunningham share the Class A lead with eight interceptions. Lynnville-Sully has made the postseason for the second straight year, making consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since 1998 and 1999.