CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa The previous and only other time they finished the regular season unbeaten, the Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints went on to win the Class 4A state championship. Just sayin'.
"We always tell our guys 'We'll talk about you when you're done,'" Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said last night after a 42-6 destruction of Linn-Mar at rainy, muddy Saints Field.
They might not be done for awhile. Xavier was a football team that looked like it's got a long playoff run ahead of it, rolling to a 42-0 halftime lead to finish the regular season 9-0.
The Saints scored on their very first play from scrimmage when quarterback Reggie Schulte hit wide, wide-open tight end Nick Steingraeber with a 57-yard touchdown pass. Xavier finished the first half with a mind-boggling 307-17 yardage edge, with reserves playing the entire second half.
The postseason begins Wednesday at home against someone, perhaps Iowa City High (4-5). Whoever the opponent is will have a couple three hands full with this squad, which set all kinds of school records offensively.
By the way, Xavier also went 9-0 in 2006, en route to the 4A title.
"Definitely a goal we had at the beginning of the season," said Reggie Schulte, who threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, also running for another TD. "At the same time, we had to take it game by game. Just a lot of credit to all the guys coming together. They junior and senior classes clicked really well ever since the summer."
"Just be ready to go Wednesday night and be prepared for anyone we play," said linebacker Craig Murtha.
Linn-Mar (3-6) had no chance, especially considering quarterback Rhys Davis missed the game for unspecified reasons. The Lions had to wait until late Friday night to find out if they qualified for the postseason, though preliminary math had them out of the 32-school field in 4A.
They averted a shutout late in the game on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Ramsey to Zach Martins. Fittingly on this miserable night, the extra point failed.
Tailback Brendan Miller ran for two TDs for Xavier and Wes Gardner one. Schulte and Corbin Woods accounted for the other Saints TD on a 59-yard pass.
Schulte finished a remarkable regular season completing 102 of 135 passes for 1,665 yards and 28 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. Woods caught 38 passes, 12 for TD.
"Everyone has worked hard," said senior lineman Seth Fahnle. "We thought this was realistic going into the season. We set goals, and this was one of them."
"I'm happy for our kids," Coach Schulte said. "It's hard to go 9-0 in the MVC. For them to do it is a tremendous reward for all the hard work they put in. And this is a hard-working group. They've been fun to coach."