Area squads still fighting for position as year winds down
We’ve reached the final week of the high school football regular season, and there is still plenty to play for as the clock winds down.
A handful of area programs are in the running for coveted postseason berths, with several of them to be handed out on the gridiron Friday night.
In Lake City, eighth-ranked (Class 2A) South Central Calhoun welcomes East Sac County with the District 7 title up for grabs. The Titans can clinch the title outright with a win, with the Raiders throwing things into the tiebreaker if they prevail.
The same district features another key contest, as Southeast Valley heads to Carroll Kuemper. The Jaguars are a game back of Kuemper and East Sac County, but could also force a tiebreaker with a victory.
Eagle Grove and head coach Paul Hansch visit Jewell for a battle with No. 10 (1A) South Hamilton in District 6. A win for the Eagles would send them to the postseason.
No. 9 Webster City, the defending state runner-up in Class 3A, looks to secure a playoff spot when they visit Boone. Emmetsburg must upset No. 1 (1A) West Lyon in Inwood if the E-Hawks hope to return to the postseason.
Here’s a look at those games, along with the entire slate of action on the final Football Friday:
East Sac County (5-3, 5-1) at No. 8 (2A) South Central Calhoun (7-1, 6-0)
Bryan Case and the Titans have won nine consecutive district games dating back to last season and are 12-1 over their last 13.
A win over East Sac County would secure another crown and qualify South Central Calhoun for the postseason yet again.
Junior Chase McAlister has put together an all-around offensive season, racking up 866 yards from scrimmage and scoring 15 touchdowns. He also has over 300 yards in kick and punt returns, and has returned three of his seven interceptions for touchdowns.
Jonathon Frantz leads SCC with 531 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, with Hunter Muhlbauer adding six rushing scores and 929 yards in the air.
Tyler Jones is the top tackler for the Titans (57), which includes five for loss and two sacks.
East Sac County’s Garret Bruce surpassed the 1,000-yard mark recently. Bruce, a junior, has 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year.
Griff O’Neill, a sophomore, is completing 57 percent of his passes for 524 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll need to keep an eye on McAlister, as O’Neill has thrown six picks.
The Raider defense is led by Reed Vondrak, who has 65.5 tackles. Seven of those have been for loss.
Southeast Valley (4-4, 4-2) at Carroll Kuemper (6-2, 5-1)
The Jaguars will need a win and some help to get back to the playoffs, but they enter Week 9 with a chance.
Juniors Kyler Fisher and Nyles Johnson have formed a strong 1-2 punch for SEV head coach Mike Swieter. Fisher has rushed for 662 yards and scored seven touchdowns, with Johnson adding 513 and five scores.
Hunter Kruse, a 10th-grader, is 67 of 114 passing for 766 yards with five touchdowns. Johnson is his top target, with 26 receptions for 276 yards.
Senior Tom Lennon, Fisher, Nolan Johnson and Clayton McFarland anchor the Jag defense. They have a combined six tackles for loss on the season.
Kuemper, which bested East Sac County last week, is led by quarterback Joey Pottebaum. The senior has completed 52 of 130 for 750 yards and eight touchdowns.
Miles Rupiper paces the Knight ground attack, rushing for 870 yards, with Nate Wendl adding 401. Rupiper has scored 12 times, and Wendl five.
Eagle Grove (6-2, 4-2) at No. 10 (1A) South Hamilton (7-1, 5-1)
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Eagles under first-year head coach Paul Hansch, as a three-game win streak has them on the cusp of a playoff berth.
Eagle Grove started the year 3-0 before falling to Manson Northwest Webster and Van Meter. They rebounded with wins over Panorama, Madrid and Ogden to set up this critical Week 9 clash.
Senior Brayden Lyman has had an impact in all areas for the Eagles, passing for 608 yards, rushing for a team-best 690 and recording a team-high 67.5 tackles.
Evan Anderson and Niko Padilla have over 900 yards rushing on the season.
Ryan Smith set a new school-record with eight interceptions, with Lyman adding four and Padilla three.
Much like Lyman, South Hamilton features a one-man show in Logan Klemp. The senior has rushed for 951 yards with 11 touchdowns, is the top receiver with eight catches for 111 yards, and leads the Hawk defense with 62.5 tackles, including seven for loss and four sacks.
No. 9 (3A) Webster City (7-1, 5-1) at Boone (6-2, 4-2)
A win clinches another playoff berth for Lynx head coach Bob Howard, as Webster City looks to make a return to the state championship game after finishing second last year.
Senior Zane Williams remains sidelined after running for 1,113 yards. Dylan Steen, a junior, Carter Bedford and Drake Doolittle have picked up the slack on offense.
Steen has 740 yards and 10 TDs, and has also thrown for 412 yards and four scores.
The Webster City defense has allowed just 13 points since a 20-0 loss to second-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes three weeks ago.
Caleb Olson has 60.5 tackles, Luke Rohmiller 45 and all-state pitcher Max Hackbarth 39. Steen also has eight interceptions on the season.
Boone leans on quarterback Mason Hulse, as the senior is 104 of 186 for 1,591 yards with a 21-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has three favorite targets in John Imerman, Tyler Casotti and Jon Herrick, with Imerman sitting at 524 yards and Casotti 34 catches.
Hulse is also the leading rusher for the Toreadors, running for 606 yards.
No. 1 (1A) West Lyon (7-0, 5-0) at Emmetsburg (4-3, 4-1)
Four straight wins over Okoboji, Unity Christian, Alta/Aurelia and Hinton have the E-Hawks playing a key Week 9 contest. A win, coupled with a victory by Hull Western Christian over Sibley-Ocheyedan, would create a three-way tie for the district title and runner-up spot.
Junior running backs Corbin Saathoff and Nicholas Schany lead the Emmetsburg attack, as both have over 600 yards on the year. Dylan Kibbie is right behind with 512, as the three have combined for 23 touchdowns.
West Lyon, which fell to eventual state champion Hull Western Christian in the first round of the playoffs last year, is led by senior quarterback Jaden Snyder. Snyder is completing 68 percent of his passes for 915 yards with 17 touchdowns and just one interception.
Other area games: LeMars (2-6, 1-5) at Humboldt (1-5, 2-6); Spencer (4-2, 6-2) at Algona (3-5, 1-5); Ballard (4-4, 4-2) at Greene County (1-7, 1-5); Sioux Center (7-1, 5-1) at Pocahontas Area (0-8, 0-6); Clarion-Goldfield/Dows/CAL (1-7, 1-5) at Hampton-Dumont (1-7, 1-5); Ogden (2-6, 1-5) at Manson Northwest Webster (4-4, 3-3); North Union (1-7, 0-6) at Sioux Central (6-2, 5-1); West Bend-Mallard (3-4, 1-4) at Graettinger-Terril/R-A (5-2, 3-2); No. 5 (8-man) Newell-Fonda (7-1) at Collins-Maxwell (0-8).