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Teams jockey for state bids

October 19, 2012

Playoff fever is in the air, as we enter the final week of the prep football regular season.

Despite most teams around the state already knowing their fate, plenty of intriguing matchups are still on tap for this evening.

Manson Northwest Webster will welcome Pocahontas Area in a Class 1A battle.

Prairie Valley hosts AGWSR in a Class A clash.

In 8-Man play, top-ranked Newell-Fonda travels to West Bend-Mallard, while Laurens-Marathon entertains North Iowa.

Here's a closer look at tonight's action:

Pocahontas Area (4-4, 1-4) at Manson NW (4-4, 3-2)

With a fourth playoff bid in the past five years already locked up, the Cougars will look to close out their regular season with a bang.

Last week, Manson Northwest Webster exploded for 616 yards of total offense in a 61-24 thumping of Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto.

Sophomore quarterback Alex Bush of the Cougars ranks third in 1A in total passing yards (1,332). Bush has completed 89 of 164 passes, with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Brody Eischeid (39 grabs, 496 yards, 3 TD) and Josh Markert (18, 400, 1) are the top receivers for MNW. Eischeid is also tied for third in 1A in catches.

Brennan Thompson has been the backfield workhorse for the Cougars, compiling 804 yards and 10 scores on 145 carries. Thompson rushed for a career-high 290 yards and reached paydirt six times on 31 attempts in Week 8. Thompson spearheads the MNW defensive unit as well with 95 tackles, three fumble recoveries and a pick. As a team, the Cougars have forced 22 takeaways - 12 fumble recoveries and 10 picks.

Following two straight losses, the Indians are hoping to finish their 2012 campaign on a high note. In its previous outing, Pocahontas Area dropped a 29-13 decision at fourth-ranked IKM-Manning.

Indian junior Draven Barth ranks 12th in 1A in rushing yards (1,013). Barth has registered 170 totes, while finding the endzone on nine occasions.

Aaron Youngberg has gone 45-for-90 through the air for 537 yards, including three touchdowns and three interceptions. Logan Jepsen has been his favorite target, hauling in 18 balls for 252 yards and three scores.

Linebacker Jay Brinkman is tied for sixth in 1A in stops (111).

AGWSR (6-3, 3-3) at Prairie Valley (5-3, 4-2)

After nearly springing a major upset last Friday in a hard-fought 8-6 setback to then-No. 4 and defending state runner-up West Hancock, the Warriors - who are headed to the postseason for a fourth time since 2008 - are focused on righting the ship.

Senior Mason Gordon has been the main weapon in the Prairie Valley ground charge, producing 954 yards and 12 scores on 186 carries.

Austin Promes has also delivered 551 yards and five touchdowns for the Warriors, which are averaging 29.2 points a night in their five wins and just 5.0 points in their three defeats.

Prairie Valley signal-caller Ryan True has thrown for 485 yards, including seven endzone strikes and four picks. Cole Black has been the go-to receiver, notching seven grabs for 268 yards and three scores.

Defensively, Clayton Taylor has posted a team-high 91 tackles with one fumble recovery.

Riding a two-game victory streak, the Cougars appear to be hitting their stride at the most opportune time. In Week 8, AGWSR drubbed Lake Mills by a 46-7 final.

Nick Pieters (140 attempts, 798 yards, 7 TD) and Clay Meinders (57-325-5) form a reliable backfield tandem for the Cougars, who have matched their win total from the three previous seasons combined. AGWSR is 13th in Class A in total rushing yards (2,108).

Newell-Fonda (8-0, 6-0) at West Bend-Mallard (6-3, 5-1)

On the heels of an 81-0 pummeling of CAL, the Mustangs seem poised to apply the finishing touches on a perfect regular season and District 2 crown. Senior Jonathan Johnson has been the focal point in the smashmouth Newell-Fonda ground assault, ranking 15th among all 8-Man players in rushing yards (1,078) and tied for 10th in scoring (152 points)

Dual-threat signal-caller Zak Sievers has also netted 1,120 combined yards and took part in 19 touchdowns for the Mustangs, who generate a whopping 59.5 points and 414.5 yards per contest. Newell-Fonda, which will be making its third consecutive postseason trip, is actually third in the entire state in scoring (476 points).

Dalton Anderson is the leading Mustang receiver, pulling down 12 catches for 237 yards and six scores.

Rigo Johnson - Jonathan's twin brother - has contributed the eighth most stops (113) in 8-Man, while ranking second in the entire state in fumble recoveries (8) to go along with three picks. Team-wise, Newell-Fonda has managed 30 takeaways and pitched a pair of shutouts .

Since falling at home to North Iowa, the Wolverines have shown their resolve with three straight triumphs. In Week 8, West Bend-Mallard narrowly edged Laurens-Marathon by a 22-21 count.

Jesse Zinnel of the Wolverines has completed 59 of 114 passes for 1,042 yards, including 10 endzone strikes and six interceptions. Twin brother Jason has been Zinnel's favorite target, amassing 31 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns.

Jesse Zinnel (85-479-8), Jordan Buhs (44-404-7) and Nathan Grimm (80-357-2) supply WB-M with a dangerous backfield trio. The Wolverines, who have clinched a 21st playoff ticket in school history, are averaging 60.7 points per game during during their current win streak and are 13th in rushing yards (2,217) among all 8-Man teams.

Defensively, West Bend-Mallard is spearheaded by linebacker Nathan Grimm (117 tackles and four fumble recoveries).

Last season, the Wolverines ousted the Mustangs in the second round of the playoffs, 44-26.

North Iowa (7-1, 5-1) at Laurens-Marathon (6-2, 4-2)

Finding a way to bounce back from last week's tight loss will be no easy task for the Chargers, who are averaging 39.75 points per contest.

Matt Cleveland has been the offensive catalyst for L-M, churning out 779 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Cleveland has also thrown for 831 yards and 13 scores. Twin brother Will (17, 363, 6) and Ben Fuchs (18, 337, 4) provide Cleveland with a pair of quality downfield options.

Pacing the Charger defensive unit is Collin Lind (77 stops and three interceptions).

Winners of five straight, the Bison have plenty of momentum in their favor. Last Friday, North Iowa prevailed over Corwith-CWL, 32-18.

Frank Campos is the key cog in the Bison ground barrage, gaining 980 yards and 15 scores on 213 carries, which is the third most attempts in 8-Man and sixth highest total in the entire state.

Quarterback Eric Krull has gone 54-for-97 through the air for 830 yards, including nine endzone strikes and no picks.

Mark Milbrandt (21, 363, 3) and Troy Kettwick (18, 278, 2) are the top receivers for North Iowa, which suffered its lone setback to top-ranked Newell-Fonda in Week 3.

The Bison defense has forced 21 turnovers and posted three shutouts.

Tonight's other area games: Storm Lake (3-5, 2-4) at Webster City (4-4, 3-3); Algona (3-5, 2-3) at Clear Lake (6-2, 4-1); Charles City (0-8, 0-5) at Humboldt (5-3, 4-1); East Sac County (1-7, 0-5) at South Central Calhoun (3-5, 1-4); Hampton-Dumont (2-6, 1-5) at Clarion-Goldfield (5-3, 3-3); OA-BCIG (5-3, 4-1) at Greene County (4-4, 3-2); No. 3 (1A) Emmetsburg (7-1, 5-0) at LeMars Gehlen (2-6, 2-3); Okoboji (0-8, 0-5) at North Union (1-7, 0-5); Belmond-Klemme (3-5, 1-5) at Southeast Webster-Grand (2-6, 0-6); Lake Mills (3-5, 2-4) at Bishop Garrigan (3-5, 2-4); Corwith-CWL (3-6, 2-4) at Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (2-6, 2-4).



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