Prep Football

Week 8 Eastern Iowa high school football preview

Ranked teams collide Friday at Tiffin and at Van Horne

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Keegan Simmons (1) stiff-arms Karl Green (1) of Cedar Rapids Jefferson in last week's 41-6 win. The Hawks host Waterloo West on Friday. (Justin Torner/Freelance for the Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Keegan Simmons (1) stiff-arms Karl Green (1) of Cedar Rapids Jefferson in last week's 41-6 win. The Hawks host Waterloo West on Friday. (Justin Torner/Freelance for the Gazette)

Week 8 area capsules for select Cedar Rapids Metro/Iowa City and area football games:

Davenport Central at Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Thursday, at Kingston Stadium

Records and rankings: Central is 4-3 overall, 3-0 Class 4A District 5; Kennedy is 4-3, 2-1.

Overview: The path to the postseason is clear for Kennedy. Win out, and the Cougars are likely in the 4A field. Nothing less will cut it. Central is in the same boat, so this is pretty much an elimination game. Kennedy has gotten to this point by winning the games it should, dropping the games it was expected to lose — including a 41-14 decision to Bettendorf last week. Cairron Hendred leads a strong running game with 701 yards and nine touchdowns. Central can win the district if it wins Thursday and shocks Bettendorf in Week 9.

Cedar Rapids Xavier at Center Point-Urbana

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Center Point

Records and rankings: No. 1 Xavier is 7-0 overall, 3-0 Class 3A District 4; CPU is 4-3, 1-2.

Overview: The search continues in trying to find a weakness for the Saints, whose 35-0 rout of Western Dubuque last week further solidified them as, at the very least, a co-favorite (with Lewis Central) for the 3A state championship. Xavier has outscored its competition by a margin of 303-28, with no games closer than 33 points. CPU needs one more win to nail down its first winning season since 2014, but it’s more likely to come next week, against Dubuque Wahlert.

Muscatine at Iowa City West

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Trojan Field

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Records and rankings: Muscatine is 4-3 overall, 1-2 Class 4A District 4; No. 7 West is 6-1, 3-0.

Overview: West needs one win in its last two games to nail down the district title, and the Trojans will be favored in both. West has allowed 9.9 points per game this season, including 7 points total in the last two weeks. Sophomore Marcus Morgan has emerged as the Trojans’ top quarterback, and his favorite targets are Jalen Gaudet and Justin Thomas. Muscatine has an excellent receiver in Eli Gaye, who ranks second in 4A with 49 catches (for 641 yards and five touchdowns).

 

 

Marion at Western Dubuque

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Epworth

Records and rankings: Marion is 4-3 overall, 3-0 Class 3A District 4; No. 9 Western Dubuque is 5-2, 2-1.

Overview: Marion followed a three-game skid with three consecutive wins and owns a share of the district lead, but the stretch run is a challenge, to say the least. The Indians go to Epworth this week, then close the regular season at Thomas Park Field against Cedar Rapids Xavier. Speaking of Xavier, the Saints pinned a 35-0 loss on Western Dubuque last week. WD’s Drake George is the 3A leader in receptions (49), good for 708 yards and nine touchdowns.

Waterloo West at Cedar Rapids Prairie

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at John Wall Field

Records and rankings: West is 3-4 overall, 0-3 Class 4A District 3; No. 9 Prairie is 6-1, 3-0.

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Overview: The 4A-3 championship game (Cedar Falls at Prairie) is a week away, and the Hawks have just one more warmup. Prairie has averaged 47 points per game in its four-game winning streak behind Keegan Simmons, who is up to 1,533 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns (leading 4A in both). Tariq Amir gives the Hawks another option on the ground; he is netting 11.1 yards per carry. A Week 5 loss to Cedar Rapids Jefferson has led to a three-game slide for West.

Iowa City Regina at Jesup

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Jesup

Records and rankings: Regina is 4-3 overall, 3-0 Class 1A District 6; Jesup is 1-6, 0-3.

Overview: Regina might be catching its stride, with three consecutive wins. Regardless of Friday’s outcome, the Regals’ postseason fate will be decided next week with a home date against top-ranked Dike-New Hartford. Three different quarterbacks have shared duty for the Regals, but the common theme is the target — sophomore Alec Wick has 45 catches. Jesup has dropped three straight games, the last two by shutout.

Iowa City High at Linn-Mar

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Linn-Mar Stadium

Records and rankings: City High is 2-5 overall, 0-3 Class 4A District 4; Linn-Mar is 2-5, 1-2.

Overview: It’s been three years since Linn-Mar last won back-to-back games, but the Lions have a good opportunity to do it after knocking off Muscatine, 28-10, last week. Quarterback Marcus Orr has gone over the 1,000-yard mark this season, throwing to a balanced bunch of receivers. City High has lost three consecutive games. Tonka Hickman has rushed for 653 yards.

North Scott at Clear Creek Amana

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Tiffin

Records and rankings: No. 3 North Scott is 6-1 overall, 3-0 Class 3A District 5; No. 6 CCA is 7-0, 3-0.

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Overview: Both of these teams are likely postseason qualifiers, and Friday’s winner claims the automatic bid that goes with a district championship. CCA posted another defensive gem last week in a rain-shortened 17-7 win over Davenport Assumption; it was the sixth time this season that the Clippers have allowed one touchdown or less. Lancers quarterback Nile McLaughlin presents a challenge; he has thrown for 1,235 yards and 10 touchdowns (with no interceptions). CCA QB Andrew Rorhet has been good for 1,470 total yards and 20 TDs.

 

 

Central City at Midland

Site and time: 7 p.m. Friday, at Wyoming

Records and rankings: No. 6 Central City is 7-0 overall, 5-0 8-Player District 3; Midland is 7-1, 4-1.

Overview: Despite its 7-1 record, Midland finds itself on the playoff bubble, and the Eagles probably need an upset win Friday to enhance their postseason hopes. Central City has been the area’s feel-good story of the fall, averaging a state-best 61.1 points per game behind a relentless rushing attack — Trey Holub, Isaiah Damm and Kyle Marsh have combined for 2,264 yards (13.4 per carry) and 39 touchdowns. Midland counters with junior quarterback Britan Martens, who can beat you by land or air.

 

 

Waverly-Shell Rock at Independence

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Independence

Records and rankings: WSR is 6-1 overall, 2-1 Class 3A District 3; Independence is 6-1, 3-0.

Overview: Independence is enjoying its most successful season in quite some time, but a lot of work remains for the Mustangs to make the playoffs. Indee ranks 14th in 3A RPI (the bottom of the 6-1 teams), and it might take a district title to make the postseason, with tough tests with WSR and Decorah remaining. Logan Schmitt is the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback — he has passed for 1,298 yards and rushed for 847 with 30 total touchdowns. WSR has a talented signal-caller as well in Luke Velky.

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West Marshall at Benton Community

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Van Horne

Records and rankings: No. 5 West Marshall is 6-1 overall, 3-0 Class 2A District 7; No. 7 Benton is 6-1, 2-1.

Overview: Both of these teams have ridden a feature back to a prosperous season. West Marshall’s Cameron Bannister is second in 2A with 1,125 yards (10.7 per carry) with 12 touchdowns while Benton’s Matt Davis is sixth with 1,056 yards (8.3 per carry) and has found the end zone 17 times. West Marshall is tied with Union Community for the district lead, and hosts the Knights in State Center next week. Chances are good that three teams from this district will make the postseason.

 

 

Cascade at West Branch

Site and time: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at West Branch

Records and rankings: Cascade is 5-2 overall, 3-0 Class 1A District 4; No. 6 West Branch is 6-1, 2-1.

Overview: Cascade stayed unbeaten in district play (barely) last week, outlasting Dyersville Beckman, 21-20. Now the Cougars face a gauntlet to close the regular season, against West Branch and Bellevue. The Bears are in extremely good shape for an at-large bid to the playoffs, and with the offensive duo of Beau Cornwell and Tanner Lukavsky, they’re a threat to play well into November. Cornwell has passed for 1,270 yards and 16 touchdowns. Cascade QB Haris Hoffman has big-play capabilities; his completions average 21.9 yards.

Other Metro/Iowa City games

3A District 5: Iowa City Liberty (2-5, 0-3) at Davenport Assumption (3-4, 2-1), 7:15 p.m. Thursday

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4A District 3: Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1-6, 1-2) at Dubuque Hempstead (2-5, 1-2), 7:15 p.m. Friday

4A District 5: Burlington (2-5, 0-3) vs. Cedar Rapids Washington (2-5, 0-3), 7:15 p.m. Friday (Kingston Stadium)

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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