Prep Football: Xavier Handles Waterloo West
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – There was no looking back at the first unbeaten six weeks.
Forget about glancing ahead to a looming matchup with another undefeated top-five ranked team. Cedar Rapids Xavier was focused on the current test and the Saints aced it.
Class 4A fourth-ranked Xavier defeated Waterloo West, 49-14, in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division prep football game Friday at Saints Field. The Saints received a big boost from running back Nick Steingreaber, who scored three times, to improve to 7-0 overall, setting up next week's game against No. 3 Cedar Falls at the UNI-Dome.
"You've got to take it week by week," Xavier quarterback Reggie Schulte said. "Some people viewed this as a trap game, so we had a sense of urgency practicing all week. Every game in the MVC is big."
The Saints played like it, tallying more than 400 yards of total offense and holding the Wahawks to 179.
"It's our second road game we didn't play well," Waterloo West Coach Lonnie Moore said. "Xavier played well. They were real physical up front.
The Saints received a little wakeup call after handing the Wahawks (2-5, 2-2) an early 7-0 lead. Xavier's Brendan Miller coughed up the ball after a good gain, and West recovered at the Xavier 28. On third-and-six, Alexander Young hit Michael Price for a 24-yard TD with 8:27 to go in the first.
The route was on, starting with the ensuing kickoff. Nick Steingreaber fielded the kick and bolted down the far sideline to tie the score. The wedge gave a Steingreaber a crease and he hit it, using the speed that earned berths to the state track meet.
"It was open green," Steingreaber said. "There was nothing I had to do. The other 10 guys did a fantastic job."
Steingreaber contributed to the rush attack also. Steingreaber added a 3-yard touchdown, capping a seven-play, 65-yard drive as part of Xavier's 21-point second quarter. He also zipped through the left side of the line for a 27-yard score in the third, putting Xavier up 35-7.
"He's a fast kid," Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said. "He's worked real hard all year. He'll be the first to tell you the guys made good blocks for him and he executed."
Steingreaber entered the game with 30 rushing yards on four carries, including a 14-yard TD. He finished with 127 yards on 10 carries against West. He didn't expect the increased role, but prepares for it every week.
"You just try to be ready," Steingreaber said. "The next person in at Xavier ... you just try to help the team.
"Everyone works each week in practice. We all do the same reps."
Miller added 88 rushing yards in the first half, helping Xavier amass 260 yards on the ground.
The passing game was effective as well. Reggie Schulte threw for 146 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Corbin Woods seven times for 118 yards, including two 20-yard TD passes. The first one with 1:22 left in the second quarter gave Xavier a 28-7 halftime advantage.
Matt Nelson caught a 2-yard touchdown early in the second. It was his sixth this season, trailing only Woods' 10 for the Saints.
West received another touchdown in the third quarter on Dequayvious Martin's 88-yard run, closing the gap to 35-14 in the third. Martin rushed for 130 yards. Young threw for 41 of the Wahawks 54 passing yards.
The tight-knit Saints were ignited by Steingreaber's spark. They feed off each other and continue the momentum, similar to their second quarter outburst.
"Once you get that first explosion the rest of the fireworks can get started," said Duane Schulte, reflecting on words from his former Cedar Rapids LaSalle Coach Tom Kopatich. "The key is trying to get rolling."
The Saints now face their toughest test of the season, travelling to the UNI-Dome next week. The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) beat Dubuque Wahlert on Friday. Last year, Cedar Falls beat Xavier, 27-7, at Saints Field.
"They're always good," Duane Schulte said. ""They'll be good next week, too."