Prep Football

Western Dubuque readies for showdown with Cedar Rapids Xavier

Prep football rewind: Saints were already on coach's mind late in Bobcats' win Friday

Justin Penner has a confession to make. With his team ahead by four touchdowns Friday night, his mind started to wander.

“During the fourth quarter, I was thinking about (Cedar Rapids) Xavier,” said Penner, the head football coach at Western Dubuque.

May as well start early.

The seventh-ranked Bobcats are the latest challenger to the Xavier juggernaut; they’ll collide in a Class 3A District 4 showdown next week at Saints Field.

“They’re spectacular,” Penner said about the top-rated Saints (6-0 overall, 2-0 district), the defending 3A state champions and owners of a 33-game regular-season winning streak. “I have tons of respect for Coach (Duane) Schulte. I’ve known him since I was a really young coach. He’s a good dude.

“It seems like one of his children has been the quarterback for the past 25 years. It will good to see that bloodline end soon.”

That said, the Bobcats (5-1, 2-0) don’t intend to run and hide when they arrive in Cedar Rapids.

“We’re pretty good, too,” Penner said. “Our kids are competitors.”

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In 2014 — Penner’s first year as head coach in Epworth — the Bobcats left Saints Field with a 7-6 upset victory. Xavier lost again two weeks later to Iowa City Regina, and hasn’t been dealt a regular-season defeat since.

Western Dubuque is coming off a 35-7 win Friday at home over Center Point-Urbana. The Bobcats “got off to a hot start,” Penner said, scoring 28 points in the first quarter, including touchdowns on their first and third plays from scrimmage. And Collin Hogan blocked two punts.

The Bobcats have a intriguing blend. Most of their skill players are juniors, and the majority of their line is made of seniors.

“The two classes mix really well,” Penner said. “There was a lot of disappointment last year in going 5-4, and I think that left a chip on the seniors’ shoulders.”

Quarterback Calvin Harris has passed for nearly 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns, with a lot of that going to Drake George. Ben Bryant leads the ground attack.

No letdown for Central City

A week after knocking off Turkey Valley and entering the Gazette/KGYM football rankings (No. 10 in 8-player), Central City followed with a spectacular ground performance.

The Wildcats (6-0) piled up 667 rushing yards in a 78-44 triumph over Easton Valley.

Trey Holub rambled for 355 yards on 20 carries, scoring five touchdowns. Kyle Marsh added 177 yards and two touchdowns; Isaiah Damm tacked on 130 yards and four TDs.

Another defensive gem for CCA

One of five remaining unbeatens in Class 3A, Clear Creek Amana marched to 6-0 with a 28-0 dusting of Clinton on Friday along the Mississippi River.

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It was the third shutout this season for the 10th-ranked Clippers, who are allowing 4.8 points per game.

CCA hosts Davenport Assumption next week, then faces fourth-ranked North Scott in Tiffin in Week 8 in a game that likely will determine the 3A District 5 champion.

Down goes Don Bosco

Northwood-Kensett snapped top-ranked Don Bosco’s 26-game winning streak Friday in an 18-0 blanking at Gilbertville.

Don Bosco’s last defeat had been Sept. 23, 2016, against Elkader Central. The Dons are two-time defending 8-player state champions.

The defensive effort was nothing new for No. 9 Northwood-Kensett (6-0), which has allowed only one touchdown all season, an eye-popping fact in the high-scoring 8-player game.

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

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