Pressure intensifies as league play begins

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Colton Freeburg of Pocahontas Area runs against Manson Northwest Webster earlier this season. The Indians were scheduled to play their Homecoming game against Eagle Grove on Friday, but the game was called off due to the Eagles’ current injury situation.

This is the week every prep football team has targeted from day one of camp.

With the non-district slate out of the way, programs dive into district action this week.

Area squads No. 4 (Class 1A) South Central Calhoun, No. 3 (Class A) Bishop Garrigan, No. 5 (2A) Algona, No. 6 (eight-man) Newell-Fonda and No. 6 (2A) Greene County all went undefeated in the first part of the schedule.

The Titans travel to face Ogden in the their district opener, a week after a 35-point second half in a win over Southeast Valley.

The Jaguars (2-2 overall, 0-0 district) will entertain Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (2-2, 0-0) in their Homecoming contest, trying to snap out of a mini two-game slump.

The Golden Bears have been on cruise control thus far, averaging over 37 points per contest. They’ll face No. 10 West Hancock, who has won three straight games.

No. 4 South Central Calhoun (4-0, 0-0) at Ogden (3-1, 0-0)

South Central Calhoun boasts a potent offensive attack, but their stingy defense has only allowed three touchdowns this season as well.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Titans have given up 721 yards of offense, or only 180 per game. They have recorded 10 sacks and 13 tackles for loss, with 10 interceptions (three for touchdowns) and four fumble recoveries (two for scores).

Brennan Holder and Jared Birks lead the Titans in tackles with 26 and 19 each.

The Titan defense has faced two of the best backs in 2A in East Sac County’s Garrett Bruce (745 yards) and Southeast Valley’s Kyler Fisher (545). They held Bruce (186 average) to 100 yards and Fisher (136) to 97.

On offense, SCC has rushed for 824 yards and thrown for 454, averaging 319 yards of offense per contest.

The three-headed rushing attack of Keagen Meyer (327 yards), Landon Schleisman (204) and Chase McAlister (152) have scored five, four and two times, respectively. All average around six yards per carry.

Through the air, quarterback Josh Henkenius has thrown for 399 yards and three touchdowns. Birks has 140 yards receiving, and McAlister has 113.

The Titans will have another tough runner to stop this week in Ogden’s Sam Christensen. The Bulldog junior has thrown for 775 yards and 14 TDs. He has 575 yards on the ground and four rushing scores.

Lucas Elsner has 14 catches for 472 yards, and Griffin Diggs has 12 for 216. They have scored six touchdowns each.

No. 3 Bishop Garrigan (4-0, 0-0) at No. 10 West Hancock (3-1, 0-0)

The Golden Bears have put on an offensive clinic in the first four weeks, and the defense pitched a shutout last Friday.

Now unbeaten Garrigan will try to earn some redemption over the Eagles, who knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

The Golden Bears have put up 142 points, while the Eagles have scored 118.

West Hancock will get a steady dose of the run, as the Bears have four runners with over 25 carries on the season.

Preston Kohlhaas (46), quarterback Brad Capesius (40), Eric Thul (34) and Sam Vaske (28) all have more than 140 yards rushing.

Kohlhaas (211), Capesius (297) and Thul (190) all have scored four TDs each. Vaske has three scores.

Capesius has thrown for 267 yards and four touchdowns. T.J. Schnurr has caught six balls for 120 and three TDs.

The Eagles won’t surprise the Garrigan defense, as they have run the ball 196 times and thrown it just 15.

Tate Hagen is the groundhog for West Hancock, toting the ball 90 times for 546 yards and eight touchdowns.

Josef Smith has 348 yards and five scores.

Bennett Bruns (27 carries) and Gavin Becker (21) have run for 199 yards and 129 yards, respectively.

Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (2-2, 0-0) at Southeast Valley (2-2, 0-0)

The Jaguar offense was stymied last week by South Central Calhoun and is looking to get back on track.

Senior Kyler Fisher, who leads 2A in scoring (72 points) and rushing touchdowns (10), reached the end zone again last week, but was held under 100 yards for only the second time in his last nine games.

Quarterback Hunter Kruse has thrown for 848 yards on 76-for-129 passing with five scores.

Nyles Johnson (317), Nolan Johnson (223) and Chase Swieter (180) are his top targets. The Johnsons have one TD each, and Swieter has three.

After dropping their first two contests, the Cowboys have bounced back with two straight wins.

Junior quarterback Jaace Weidemann has found his groove on the ground, rushing for 688 yards (second in Class 2A) and six scores on 93 carries. He has thrown for 176 yards and four touchdowns.

Receiver Andy Conlon has caught four balls for 120 yards and three TDs.

Area games this week: Boone (2-2, 0-0) at Humboldt (1-3, 0-0); Webster City (2-2, 0-0) at Carroll (1-3, 0-0); Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (1-3, 0-0) at Algona (4-0, 0-0); Shenandoah (0-4, 0-0) at Greene County (4-0, 0-0); Emmetsburg (1-3, 0-0) at West Lyon (3-1, 0-0); East Sac County (2-2, 0-0) at Treynor (3-1, 0-0); Alta/Aurelia (3-1, 0-0) at Manson Northwest Webster (0-4, 0-0); Graettinger-Terril (1-3, 0-0) at North Union (1-3, 0-0); Newell-Fonda (4-0, 1-1) at River Valley (1-3, 0-1); West Bend-Mallard (2-2, 1-0) at Harris-Lake Park (2-2, 0-1).