Thursday at UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
Co-No. 1 Exira-EHK vs. No. 3 Newell-Fonda
When: 12:06 p.m.
Records: Exira-EHK (11-0), Newell-Fonda (12-0)
Previous rounds: Exira-EHK beat CAM 65-0; then Coon Rapids-Bayard 44-20; then Glidden-Ralston 41-0. Newell-Fonda beat Remsen St. Mary’s 55-8; then GTRA 52-26; then MMC 46-38.
The Word: Both teams have dominated their competition this season, though Newell-Fonda had the tougher quarterfinal game, edging No. 7 MMC 46-38. In that game, QB Gabe Podraza and RB Brady Bohe each rushed for more than 150 yards. For the season, Bohe has rushed for 1,992 yards and 32 TDs, while Podraza has more than 1,800 yards of total offense. The Mustangs are averaging 54.3 points and allowing 16.4. The Spartans are coming off one of their best defensive efforts of the year, allowing 113 total yards in a 41-0 win against Glidden-Ralston. QB Drew Peppers makes the Exira-EHK offense go. He has rushed for 1,858 yards and 36 TDs, and thrown for 1,024 and another 15 scores. RB Trey Sander (842 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 10.3 avg.) is another tough-minded offensive threat, while LB Nick Peppers anchors the defense.
No. 1 Sioux City Heelan vs. No. 4 Clear Lake
When: 5:36 p.m.
Records: Sioux City Heelan (12-0), Clear Lake (12-0)
Previous rounds: Sioux City Heelan beat Creston/O-M 45-7; then Spencer 28-10; then Harlan 31-0. Clear Lake beat Ballard 35-7; then Waverly-Shell Rock 35-17; then Grinnell 48-33.
The Word: It’s explosion vs. balance. Heelan has playmakers in QB Trenton Solsma (2,757 passing yards along with 34 touchdown throws and six interceptions), RB Tony Tobin (1,184 yards, 15 TDs) and WR Connor Niles (1,074 yards and 17 scores). Clear Lake counters with quarterback Brock Adams (1,378 yards to go with 16 TDs and seven interceptions), who is one of four rushers with at least 500 ground yards. Ten Lions have also caught at least two passes this season. The winner would face either No. 7 Solon (11-1) or No. 6 Washington (11-1) on Nov. 21 for the title. The Crusaders are 4-0 in semifinal contests during their seven-year playoff streak in 3-A, and have outscored their opponents 104-17 in three playoff outings this year. Clear Lake hasn’t reached Cedar Falls since 2008.