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Prep Football: Xavier Clinches Division With Win Over Cedar Falls

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa That wasn't a monkey the Xavier Saints got off their backs.

It was a Tiger. And a lot of history.

Cedar Rapids Xavier solved Cedar Falls in the regular season for the first time in school history (and just the second time overall), outmuscling the fifth-rated Tigers, 24-7, in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division showdown Friday night at the UNI-Dome.

Class 4A fourth-rated Xavier (8-0 overall, 5-0 division) wrapped up its third divisional title. The Saints reigned in 2006, their state-championship year, then shared a title in 2007.

"I'm very happy for the kids and the assistant coaches," said Xavier Coach Duane Schulte. "I'm just a small cog in the deal."

The Saints held No. 5 Cedar Falls (7-1, 5-1) to 188 yards, 10 first downs and just one trip into the end zone.

"We came prepared," said defensive end Matt Nelson. "We had to do our jobs, and we just want to keep getting better every day."

Quarterback Reggie Schulte was efficient as always, completing 15 of 19 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. And Wes Gardner replaced Brendan Miller at tailback in the second half, and rushed for 101 yards and a score.

"I had to be ready when they called my name," Gardner said. "If we keep working hard every day, we're going to be hard to beat."

Xavier improved to 2-11 all-time against Cedar Falls, with the only previous win coming in the 2006 quarterfinals.

The 2006 team was the only Xavier team to win a game in the UNI-Dome it beat Bettendorf and Southeast Polk here in the semifinals and the championship and had never beaten Cedar Falls indoors.

"Cedar Falls has such a good team, such good tradition," Coach Schulte said.

But the Saints were simply superior Friday.

Reggie Schulte threw touchdown passes to Bryce Grimm (11 yards) and Corbin Woods (33 yards) in the first half as the Saints took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.

Ryan Persick converted a 30-yard field goal to cap the Saints' first drive of the second half to make it 17-7, then Gardner's 16-yard scamper with 1:20 to play capped the scoring.

Cedar Falls is at Dubuque Hempstead next week.

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