Semifinals on the line
Both Algona and South Central Calhoun are in familiar positions, but are hoping to extend their seasons at least one more week with a ticket to Cedar Falls.
The third-ranked Bulldogs (10-0 overall) will host No. 8 Greene County (9-1) in a Class 2A quarterfinal, while the No. 6 Titans (10-0) will travel to face No. 1 Van Meter (10-0).
Both squads reached the quarterfinals a season ago, before suffering losses.
The Bulldogs are playing in their second straight playoffs and eighth overall and the Titans are also in their eighth appearance as a consolidated school.
Algona rolled to a 35-14 victory over Central Lyon/George-Little Rock in their opener, behind a steady dose of Wyatt Wegener.
The senior ran the ball 17 times for 135 yards and two scores. Classmate Garrett Schmidt had 98 yards and two scores, while sophomore quarterback Tyler Manske had a 47-yard rushing touchdown.
The Rams are coached by two Prairie Valley graduates. Caden Duncan is the head coach and Cole Jaeschke is an assistant on the staff.
Greene County earned a 35-21 victory over Des Moines Christian in their opener, led by Carter Morton.
The Ram senior caught nine balls for 125 yards and a score. He also ran the ball four times for 39 yards and two scores.
Senior quarterback Brent Riley threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns and connected with Nick Breon on a 33 yard score and Morton from 30 yards out.
Jaeschke, who was quarterback for Div. III Upper Iowa, coaches the quarterbacks and has put together one of 2A’s best passing attacks.
Riley is fifth in 2A with 2,202 yards and second in the class with 29 touchdowns. He also has a 58.2 percent completion percentage.
Morton has been the main beneficiary of the passing offense, catching 49 balls for 999 yards and 12 scores. He is averaging 20.4 yards par grab.
Breon has 30 catches for 353 and five scores, while Will Hansen has 28 catches for 442 and six scores. Jaxon Warnke has four touchdowns.
The Rams also boast a high powered rushing attack, paced by senior Colby Kafer, who had 96 yards last week.
Kafer is third in 2A with 1,352 yards and 12 scores. He has 211 carries and averages 6.4 per tote.
The Bulldogs have their own prolific athlete in Wegener, who is second in 2A with 20 rushing touchdowns and fifth in yards with 1,218. He also has six touchdown catches to go along with 599 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Manske has thrown for 1,187 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Titans try to power past No. 1 Van Meter
South Central Calhoun picked up a 56-22 win over Mount Ayr in their Class 1A opener last week led by a pair of 100 yard rushers.
The methodical Titan rushing attack ran the ball 68 times for 368 yards.
Seniors Keagen Meyer (150) and Landon Schleisman (127) had 24 carries and two touchdowns each. Junior quarterback Cole Corey had a pair of touchdowns as well and sophomore Blake McAlister added one.
Van Meter earned a 38-12 win over Pella Christian in their first round opener.
Senior signal-caller Anthony Potthoff excelled through the air and on the ground for the Bulldogs, rushing and passing for over 100 yards and four touchdowns.
Potthoff was an efficient 9-for-11 passing for 138 yards and two scores. He carried the ball 11 times for 113 and two scores, an average of 10.3 per carry.
Sophomore Dalten Van Pelt also went over the century mark, totting the ball 29 times for 127 yards and a score.
Both offenses have made their living on the ground. The Titans have ran for 2,836 yards and 47 touchdowns, while the Bulldogs have 2,453 rushing yards and 38 scores.
Both teams are not afraid the ball however ,with 974 yards and nine scores for the Titans and 1,291 and 16 touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Schleisman is the groundhog for the Titans, running 111 times for 702 yards and 14 scores. Backfield mates Meyer (598 yards) and McAlister (579) have seven touchdowns. Corey has six scores, while junior Brennan Holder has five.
Through the air Corey has thrown for 811 and seven scores.
The Bulldogs have a three-headed monster of their own in senior Ian Abrahamson (822 yards) and Potthoff (717) with 14 and 12 touchdowns respectively. Van Pelt has 533 yards and nine scores.
Pothoff is 70-for-100 throwing with 14 touchdown passes to nine different receivers. Seniors Blade Koons and Zach Madden have three touchdowns each.
Just as good as the offenses are, the defenses are just as tough. South Central Calhoun has given up only seven offensive touchdowns, while the Bulldogs have allowed eight.