Three area contests in Week 1
The start of school for many around the state has also brought with it the first official week of the prep football season.
Around the state, teams will head to the gridiron for Week 1 games Friday night, including three pitting area rivals against one another.
Humboldt will host North Central Conference foe Algona, East Sac County heads to Lake City to tangle with South Central Calhoun, and Emmetsburg welcomes Bishop Garrigan.
The playoff system has changed for this year, with a Ratings Percentage Index being used and all nine games counting towards the at-large selections for the postseason.
District champions will still earn automatic bids, with those games beginning in Week 5.
Here’s a look at some of the key games around the area tonight, along with the complete schedule:
Algona (0-0, 0-0) at Humboldt (0-0, 0-0)
The Bulldogs earned a 16-13 victory last year over the Wildcats, as Jacob Durant ran for 120 yards and a touchdown, with Matt Grein added another rushing score. Both return for Algona and head coach Andy Jacobson this season, as does kicker Spencer Holmes, who booted through a field goal and an extra-point in that victory.
Durant ran for 577 yards with five scores as a junior, with Grein throwing for almost 1,100 and seven touchdowns. The Bulldogs boast 11 starters back and 16 letterwinners in all.
There is a new leader in Humboldt, as Greg Thomas retired and the school brought in former Iowa Falls-Alden assistant Derrick Elman.
Elman inherits 13 returning starters including quarterback Joey Busse, leading rusher Tyler Vitzthum and top receiver Jamison Heinz. Busse threw for 989 yards with 10 touchdowns, Vitzthum ran for 609 and Heinz had 28 receptions for 525 yards with eight touchdowns.
Both Busse and Heinz had big games vs. Algona last year, as Busse was 15-for-25 for 222 yards, connecting five times for 133 yards and two scores with Heinz.
The two teams have alternated wins over the past four seasons, with each winning a pair of games. Prior to that, Humboldt won five in a row from 2010-14.
East Sac County (0-0, 0-0) at South Central Calhoun (0-0, 0-0)
Bryan Case and the Titans have qualified for the playoffs seven times in the last eight seasons, reaching at least the quarterfinals in four of those years. After going 9-2 last year, expectations remain high for SCC with nine returning starters back.
Chase McAlister and Jared Birks were both starters on offense and defense a season ago, with McAlister leading the team in receiving (20 receptions, 534 yards, 11 touchdowns). He also had 722 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, adding nine interceptions and four more scores on the defensive side of the ball.
Birks had 31.5 tackles, including nine solo stops for loss, and also caught seven passes for 163 yards with two scores.
The Titans will be breaking in a new quarterback and running back to compliment McAlister after the graduation of Hunter Muhlbauer and Jonathon Frantz.
One of those nine wins for the Titans last season came vs. East Sac County, 35-7. McAlister had two scores in that game as South Central Calhoun had over 300 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers.
For the Raiders, 1,000-yard rusher Garret Bruce returns along with Derek Aschinger, Brandyn Clair and Jaymes King. Bruce had 73 yards vs. SCC a year ago. with returning quarterback Griff O’Neill scoring the lone points.
Bishop Garrigan (0-0, 0-0) at Emmetsburg (0-0, 0-0)
Under Marty Wadle, the trophy case in Algona continues to fill up on a yearly basis for the Golden Bears.
Wadle has won 192 games since taking over the program, including a 9-1 season a year ago. Bishop Garrigan returns 12 starters, led by quarterback Brad Capesius and four offensive linemen.
Capesius, entering his third year as the starter, completed 56 of 135 for 849 yards with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions last year. He also ran for 373 yards and scored two more times.
Top receiver and Morningside basketball recruit T.J. Schnurr is also back after recording 26 receptions for 433 yards and six scores. The Golden Bears, though, must replace the likes of Drake Buscherfeld, Drew Bacha and Zach Muller.
Emmetsburg posted a 5-4 record in 2017, winning four in a row at one point. The E-Hawks bring back leading rusher Corbin Saathoff, who had 783 yards, along with Nick Schany (646 yards rushing and a team-high nine touchdowns).
Three of the four losses by Emmetsburg last year came by fewer than 14 points, including two by less than a touchdown.
Ogden (0-0, 0-0) at Manson NW (0-0, 0-0)
Manson Northwest Webster boasts 10 returning starters and 12 letterwinners back from a 4-5 campaign a year ago for head coach Jeff Anliker.
The Cougars are led by quarterback Derek Girard, as the senior was 73-for-145 with 10 touchdowns and 953 yards. He was picked off just three times, but will be breaking in new receivers with the loss of Keegan Pritchard, Blake Larsen and Reid Steinberg.
Dawson Estergaard caught six passes for 83 yards last year, with A.J. Cardenas the top rusher back after a handful of carries.
Ogden kept Manson NW from a winning record last year with a 24-14 victory. Sam Christensen, a junior, ran for 82 yards in that game and also was 8 of 14 passing for 70 yards.
Christensen finished his 10th-grade season 123 of 231 passing for 1,654 yards with 14 touchdowns, adding another 549 yards on the ground and seven scores.
Other area games: Greene County (0-0, 0-0) at Perry (0-0, 0-0); Webster City (0-0, 0-0) at Gilbert (0-0, 0-0); Roland-Story (0-0, 0-0) at Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (0-0, 0-0); Southeast Valley (0-0, 0-0) at Hampton-Dumont (0-0, 0-0); Sioux Central (0-0, 0-0) at Pocahontas Area (0-0, 0-0); Eagle Grove (0-0, 0-0) at Belmond-Klemme (0-0, 0-0); North Union (0-0, 0-0) at Central Springs (0-0, 0-0); Newell-Fonda (0-0, 0-0) at Collins-Maxwell (0-0, 0-0); Glidden-Ralston (0-0, 0-0) at West Bend-Mallard (0-0, 0-0).