CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Cedar Rapids Xavier and Iowa City High have had some memorable and competitive football games against each other.
But, last night was not one of them.
Fourth-ranked Xavier erupted for a 27-point second quarter and dropped City High, 48-10, in the first round of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs at Saints Field.
The Saints (10-0) were powered by senior quarterback Reggie Schulte, who set a Xavier single-game record with five touchdown passes and 303 yards.
"It was a lot of fun out there," Schulte said. "The receivers did a great job for me all night and the line did a great job blocking."
City High came out with the proverbial punch to Xavier's face, rushing tough in the first quarter including a 41-yard run by Max Morris that set up a field goal attempt on the opening drive.
It was the Saints' special teams that provided the first boost before Schulte and the passing game began the onslaught. Tyler Stika mishandled the snap and it bounced into Miles Sullivan's hands, and he returned it 63 yards to put Xavier up, 7-0.
"That was really big. They had some momentum," Schulte said. "Miles did a great job of scooping it up and scoring."
The Saints passing game hit high gear in the second quarter. With City High sold to stop the run game, Schulte and Corbin Woods teamed for touchdown passes of 66 and 69 yards on consecutive drives, putting Xavier ahead 27-3 with 5:24 to play. Woods had 148 yards on three catches.
"They had a lot of guys stuffing the run," Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said. "You have to take what the defense gives you. That ended up being the thing (Wednesday night)."
Schulte completed 11 of 14 passes. After a 4-yard TD run by City High all-stater Amos Lavela with 2:01, Schulte connected with Matt Nelson for an 8-yard score, giving Xavier a 34-10 lead at halftime. The score was set up by a 37-yard pass to Nelson and Bryce Grimm's 27-yard reception set up the touchdown.
"We just kept making some plays to put us ahead," Reggie Schulte said of the second quarter outburst. "A good job by a lot of guys."
City High Coach Dan Sabers said they tried to pressure Schulte and play man-to-man, but the offensive line protected Schulte and the receivers got free.
"Well, you know, we were playing with fire. We got burnt," Sabers said. "That's a disciplined football team. That's a focused football team, and it's going to be real interesting to see what they get done."
Xavier put the game away in early in the third, starting their first two possessions on City High's 40. Schulte hit Nelson for a 16-yard TD, and Grimm's 22-yard catch started the continuous clock at 48-10 early in the third.
Brendan Miller led the Saints with 66 rushing yards. Reggie Schulte had a 2-yard TD run as well. He was impressive, but coach kept it in perspective.
"He can only do as much as the line gives you time for and if your receivers make you look good," Duane Schulte said. "At the same time, I'll put both my dad and coach hat on, I'm proud of him.
"He's a great leader and helped lead his team to a win."
It was Xavier's first playoff win since 2009. The celebration won't last long. The Saints will focus on their next opponent immediately.
"The playoffs are a grind," Duane Schulte said. "It's just move on to the next one."
City High finished a tough injured-plagued season 4-6, which is the Little Hawks first losing season since 1987. The Little Hawks rushed for more than 200 yards with Bryson Runge leading the way with 70. Lavela ended up with 53 yards.
"It's one that I've never experienced before," Sabers said. "Obviously, you feel bad for your seniors."