When fifth-ranked Southeast Valley hits the field against Denver on Friday night, it will be just like looking in the mirror.
The Jaguars (8-0 overall) enter with a balanced offensive attack, nearly the same package that the Cyclones (6-3) will bring to the table.
Action will begin at 7 p.m. in Gowrie for the third round Class 1A playoff contest.
Both squads have thrown for over 900 yards and have rushed for more than 1,750. Each team has a quarterback that can throw and run to go along with tailbacks that can pound the ball.
“They have a very good running quarterback just like us. He can hurt you the ground and also throw to beat you,” said Southeast Valley head coach Mike Swieter. “Their tailback is very fast and physical and they have good wide receivers.”
Cyclone senior quarterback Isaac Besh has thrown for 944 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is averaging 17.2 yards per completion.
On the ground he has carried the ball 127 times for 558 yards and three scores.
Southeast Valley junior quarterback Kolson Kruse has put up similar numbers with a combined 21 touchdowns.
Kruse has ran for 11 touchdowns and 625 yards. Through the air he has completed 49 of 89 attempts for 897 yards and 10 scores.
The Jaguars have been able put everything together this season, coming off a 5-4 campaign, and have built a strong unit together.
“This team is definitely a family,” Kruse said. “We spend so much time together throughout the year and it is a blessing. We are always lively and messing around and are always there to help each other up.
“Every Friday we feel united and know that the man next to us has got our back.”
Jaguar junior running back Lathe Muench has kept the clock churning for Southeast Valley, running for 723 yards and 14 scores.
Cyclone sophomore tailback Ethan Schoville has reached paydirt seven times for 616 yards.
Besh’s main weapon through the air has been Caylor Hoffer. The junior has caught 28 balls for 473 yards and eight scores. Hoffer averages 16.9 yards per catch.
Kruse has a multitude of wideout targets, connecting with five different receivers for scoring plays. Junior Kaleb Scott (13 catches) has 280 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Sam Hanson, juniors Tre Fisher and Colton Brant all have two scores each.
“Our running and passing game complement each other quite nicely,” Kruse said. “If we are running the ball well it opens up the pass and vice versa.
“When teams aren’t able to pinpoint a certain aspect of our game it keeps them guessing, and I think that type of balance is what makes us so explosive.”
The outcome may come down to the guys up front as the Jaguars boast physical fronts and the Cyclones will lean on their speed.
“They are a big play team,” Swieter said. “We have to eliminate the big plays. Another key will also be on special teams. They have very good kick and punt return teams.”
The Cyclones have three special teams scores. Schoville has returned a kickoff for a score, while Hoffer has two punt returns for touchdowns. Jaguar senior Hunter Sorenson has a pick-six, while Scott has a kickoff return for a score.
This will be the second straight home game for the Jaguars, an added advantage for the home squad.
“It’s everything (playing at home),” Swieter said. “I don’t care what anybody says, playing at home has its obvious advantages.
“It’s great to be at home; be in our own weight room with our huge crowds that come to support us. We just have to go out and protect our sacred acre.”
No. 7 SC Calhoun (7-1)
at No. 4 South Hamilton (8-0)
South Central Calhoun was as high as No. 2 in the Class 1A rankings, after a 32-23 loss to Southeast Valley they dropped. But after that loss, the Titans have pushing forward rolling through their opponents.
After the Week 5 setback, the Titans have picked up 44-7, 46-7 and a 30-22 win over Dike-New Hartford in last week’s playoff contest.
In their opener the Hawks beat South Hardin 42-12. South Hamilton enters the contest against the Titans with a 1,000 yard running back and a runner over 800 yards. Senior Trevor Thompson has ran for 1,246 yards and 16 touchdowns. Backfield mate, senior Brock Galetich has 868 yards and 14 scores.
Four South Central Calhoun, junior running back Blake McAlister has 847 yards on the ground to go along with 11 scores. Classmate Brennan Holder has 468 yards and eight scores.
Quarterback Cole Corey has thrown for 816 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with eight rushing touchdowns.
Other area games: Sergeant Bluff-Luton (6-2) at No. 6 Webster City (8-0); Greene County (7-2) at No. 1 Monroe PCM (8-0); No. 9 Emmetsburg (7-1) at No. 8 West Sioux (6-2); No. 9 Newell-Fonda (8-1) at No. 3 Audubon (7-0).