We've already reached the midway point of the 2013 high school football season.
Many teams around the state are looking to solidify their playoff positioning in Week 5, while others are hoping for continued improvement.
Among the top area games this evening - one will take place in Clear Lake, where No. 6 (Class 3A) Humboldt visits the fifth-ranked Lions.
In Class 2A, meanwhile, upstart East Sac County hosts Garner-Hayfield/Ventura.
Manson Northwest Webster travels to Emmetsburg in an intriguing 1A matchup, while No. 4 West Bend-Mallard hits the road to face North Iowa in a battle of 8-Man foes.
No. 6 (Class 3A) Humboldt (4-0, 2-0) at No. 5 Clear Lake (4-0, 1-0)
Last year, the Wildcats earned a 26-10 victory over the Lions.
Junior Brady Ross rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns in that win, while also hauling in a 15-yard scoring reception.
Ross currently ranks sixth in 3A in total yards on the ground (546), reaching paydirt eight times for a 7.2-yard average per carry.
Nikko Wheeler, a senior, has chipped in 212 yards and found the endzone on five occasions for Humboldt, which downed Algona a week ago, 34-14. Quarterback Jaxon Heinz has completed 29 of 37 passes, as well, for 358 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. Alex Nelson is the top receiver, pulling down 10 catches for 145 yards.
Defensively, Ross has registered a team-high 39 tackles, while Heinz is tied for first in 3A and third in the state with four picks.
On the season, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 132-48.
Clear Lake prevailed over Waverly-Shell Rock in its previous outing, 35-14.
Carter Hand (53 attempts, 266 yards, 3 TD), Pete Swenson (39-243-6) and Brock Adams (36-217-4) form a dangerous backfield trio for the Lions, who rank eighth in 3A in combined rushing yards (1,133).
Adams has gone 26-for-47 through the air, as well, for 484 yards and six scores.
The stingy Lions' run defense ranks among the best in the state, surrendering only 57.3 yards per game.
Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (3-1, 0-1) at East Sac County (3-1, 1-1)
Behind 147 yards passing and two touchdowns from Ty Jacobsen, the Raiders bounced back with a 21-14 triumph at Forest City in Week 4. Jacobsen, a junior, has thrown for 500 yards and seven scores on the season.
Senior Alex Green (48-227-1), junior Chris Villhauer (36-223-1) and sophomore Nick Snyder (54-210-5) spearhead East Sac County's balanced rushing attack. Carter Niehaus has been Jacobsen's favorite target, reeling in 17 grabs for 347 yards and five touchdowns. Niehaus actually ranks seventh among all 2A players in receiving yards.
Cameron Allen and Green have combined for 75 stops, two fumble recoveries and an interception for the Raiders, who have already tripled last year's win total.
After thumping their first three opponents by a whopping margin of 163-0, the then-No. 8 Cardinals saw their unbeaten season come to a screeching halt last Friday with a 29-7 home setback to third-ranked and defending state champion Sprit Lake.
Logan Miller has been the workhorse for G-H/V, netting 281 yards and four scores on 51 totes.
Braden Meints has contributed 193 yards and discovered paydirt five times, while Nic Tusha has added 149 yards and three TD.
In 2012, the Cardinals pounded the Raiders, 41-6.
Manson Northwest Webster (3-1) at Emmetsburg (2-2)
Revenge will be front and center on the minds of the Cougars after dropping a 43-21 decision to the eventual state semifinalist E-Hawks last fall.
Quarterback Alex Bush, a MNW junior, has completed 39 of 78 passes for 535 yards and four scores on the year. Senior Hudson Spedding has been Bush's go-to receiver, posting 15 catches for 255 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown.
Coy Snell, a junior, has been the catalyst in the MNW ground charge, accumulating 324 yards and reaching the endzone twice. Senior Braden Moser has also produced 210 rushing yards and found paydirt four times.
Ty Condon anchors the Cougar defensive unit with 33 tackles, a fumble recovery and interception.
Following rare consecutive losses to open the season, Emmetsburg has managed to right the ship with back-to-back resounding victories over North Union (41-14) and Okoboji (31-6).
Senior Allen Jensen is the focal point in the smashmouth E-Hawk rushing assault, producing 613 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year - numbers that rank seventh and third best, respectively, among all 1A players.
Brady Christensen and Greg Wesley have also combined for 314 yards and a pair of scores on 54 totes. As a unit, Emmetsburg is eighth in 1A in total rushing yards (1,159).
Wesley paces the E-Hawks with 34 stops, two fumble recoveries and a pick.
No. 4 (8-Man) West Bend-Mallard (5-0, 2-0) at North Iowa (3-1, 1-1)
In Week 4, the Wolverines had no trouble with Northeast Hamilton, rolling to a 60-18 victory.
Seniors Davey Jergens (35-311-7), Jordan Buhs (38-225-6) and Jesse Zinnel (41-215-6) supply WB-M with a reliable 1-2-3 backfield punch. Zinnel has also gone 23-for-47 through the air for 365 yards and a touchdown.
On the year, the Wolverines have outscored their opponents, 184-60.
Nathan Grimm ranks fourth in the state in tackles (75) for West Bend-Mallard, which fell to the Bison last fall by a 21-14 final.
Fresh off a 53-0 shutout of CAL, North Iowa has plenty of momentum on its side.
Sophomore Alex Paulson has delivered a team-high 508 yards and nine scores on the ground for the Bison, while junior Austin Paden is next in line with 228 yards and six TD.
North Iowa has rushed for 988 yards this season, while passing for just 157.
Other area games tonight: No. 10 (3A) Webster City (4-0, 2-0) at Algona (1-3, 0-2); Forest City (1-3, 0-2) at Clarion-Goldfield (2-2, 1-1); South Central Calhoun (1-3, 1-0) at Estherville-Lincoln Central (2-2, 1-1); No. 1 (2A) Carroll Kuemper (4-0, 1-0) at Greene County (1-3, 1-1); North Union (0-4, 0-2) at LeMars Gehlen (1-3, 1-1); Pocahontas Area (0-4, 0-2) at Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (2-2, 0-1); Hudson (2-2, 1-1) at Eagle Grove (0-4, 0-2); Bishop Garrigan (2-2, 1-1) at West Hancock (0-4, 0-2); Mason City Newman (2-2, 2-0) at Prairie Valley (1-3, 1-1); Southeast Webster-Grand (1-3, 0-2) at No. 4 (A) AGWSR (5-0, 2-0); Laurens-Marathon (2-2, 1-1) at No. 3 (8-Man) Newell-Fonda (4-0, 2-0); Northeast Hamilton (2-2, 0-2) at Corwith-CWL (2-3, 1-1).