Western Iowa high football quarterfinal capsules for games played Friday, Nov. 2.
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No. 7 CB Lewis Central at No. 5 Sioux City Heelan
Records: Lewis Central 9-2, Heelan 10-1
Last round: Lewis Central beat Carroll 22-19; Heelan beat Spencer 57-35
The word: Many folks wrote Lewis Central off after it decisively lost district games to ADM and Harlan after losing star running back Alex Reed for the season to a broken collarbone. Yet, here the Titans are in the quarterfinals for the first time. Most of their scores have been through the air recently, with sophomore Austin Simmons taking over at quarterback. That makes for an interesting matchup with the Crusaders, as Heelan quarterback Trent Solsma has thrown for 32 touchdowns this season. The only hiccup for the Crusaders this fall was a Week 9 loss to Spencer, which it avenged Monday.
No. 4 Carroll Kuemper at No. 3 West Marshall
Records: Kuemper 11-0, West Marshall 11-0
Last round: Kuemper beat North Polk 32-7; West Marshall beat Nevada 27-7
The word: Like several of these games, these two have been eyeing each other for quite some time. West Marshall prefers to travel by land, with 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior Duncan Ferch, Class 2-A's rushing leader with 216 carries for 2,189 yards (10.1 avg.) and 33 touchdowns. Kuemper's offense is dictated by its aerial attack, featuring QB Cole Neary, who has completed 130 of 202 passes (64.4 percent) for 1,976 yards with 26 TDs and three INTs. Neary has a bevy of talented receivers, and RB Chase Rupiper also is a capable threat with 143 carries for 1,051 yards and 17 TDs. The Knights rank second in 2-A in scoring offense (47.5) and first in scoring defense (6.2), while West Marshall ranks sixth in offense (40.4) and ninth in defense (14.3). The team that wins the line of scrimmage likely will be the one advancing to the UNI-Dome.
No. 7 Mount Ayr at No. 8 Council Bluffs St. Albert
Records: Mount Ayr 11-0, St. Albert 10-1
Last round: Mount Ayr beat Ogden 21-14; St. Albert beat Van Meter 42-7
The word: History sides with St. Albert in this matchup of district champions. The Falcons ousted Mount Ayr in the first game of last year's playoffs 47-7 and did the same 35-0 in 2010's opening round. They have been to the semifinals in eight of the last nine years, while the seventh-ranked Raiders have never gone. But Mount Ayr junior quarterback Jacob Sobotka could turn the tide. Sobotka has accumulated 2,877 yards (1,511 passing, 1,366 rushing) for a combined 41 touchdowns. No. 8 St. Albert, which hasn't played in a game decided by single digits all season, boasts a potent running attack led by Cole Herr (743 yards, 16 touchdowns) and quarterback Tucker Culjat (500, 10).
No. 3 Emmetsburg at No. 4 IKM-Manning
Records: Emmetsburg 10-1, IKM-Manning 11-0
Last round: Emmetsburg beat Fort Dodge St. Edmond 28-0; IKM-Manning beat South O'Brien 28-17
The word: Defense has been the key to IKM-Manning's unbeaten season. And the Wolves are about to face their biggest challenge to date. Emmetsburg, which suffered its only loss to 2-A co-No. 1 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, enters Friday's game second only to Aplington-Parkersburg in rushing yards, regardless of class. Senior Andrew Wellik leads the state in rushing with 2,369 yards and 32 touchdowns. IKM-Manning doesn't rely as heavily on one player offensively, and it doesn't score a lot of points. The E'Hawks have shut out four of their last five opponents and have given up 21 total points in their last six games.
No. 6 Logan-Magnolia at No. 1 Woodward-Granger
Records: Logan-Magnolia 10-1, Woodward-Granger 11-0
Last round: Logan-Magnolia beat A-H-S-T 41-14; Woodward-Granger beat Griswold 24-13
The word: The Panthers make their third state quarterfinal appearance and seek their first trip to the UNI-Dome in 22 years by challenging a talented Woodward team. The Hawks follow the lead of RB Andrew McCune and QB Taylor Ashman, who both earned first-team all-state honors as juniors. The 235-pound McCune reminds Lo-Ma coach Matt Straight of former Steelers All-Pro Jerome Bettis. “His feet are always underneath his body, so he's hard to knock off his base,” he said. “He doesn't look like he's going very fast, but he gets yards.” McCune has rushed for 2,198 yards, second in all classes, on 228 carries for an 11.0-yard average and 32 TDS. Ashman is completing 62 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,401 yards and 20 TDs with four INTs. Lo-Ma counters with RB duo Paul Hutson (1,573 yards, 24 TDs) and Caden McDonald (1,164, 21).
Glidden-Ralston at No. 4 Exira-EHK
Records: Glidden-Ralston 9-2, Exira-EHK 11-0
Last round: Glidden-Ralston beat Sidney 42-23; Exira-EHK beat Coon Rapids-Bayard 56-7
The word: Rushing, rushing, rushing. Exira-EHK has earned an Eight-Man-best 74 touchdowns on the ground. Glidden-Ralston senior ball carrier Mitchell Lensch leads the state, regardless of class, with 41 rushing scores while racking up 2,196 yards. The No. 4 Spartans' committee of junior Trey Sander (26 TDs), sophomore quarterback Drew Peppers (22) and junior Nick Peppers (18) have carried the load for the District 7 champs. They helped turn away G-R 40-20 in Exira on Sept. 21. Exira-EHK has never been this deep in the playoffs, while the unrated Wildcats are looking to return to Cedar Falls for the first time since 2005.
— Kevin White, Tony Boone and Evan Bland