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UP TO THE TASK

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Lathe Muench

GOWRIE — Mike Swieter is never one to back away from a challenge.

On Friday night, his Southeast Valley football team will get one of their toughest tests in recent memory.

The third-ranked Jaguars (3-0 overall, 0-0 Class 2A, district 2) will open league play against No. 1 OABCIG (3-0, 0-0).

The two-time defending state champion Falcons, who haven’t lost a game in 28 outings, will take the field against Southeast Valley, which has a flair for knocking off ranked squads.

“They have won 28 straight games and two state championships,” Swieter said. “I don’t care what they did or what we did (in the past), though. On Friday night, there will be two 3-0 teams, who are ranked No. 1 and No. 3.

“This is what you want to see on a Friday night.”

Three times in the past three seasons, the Jaguars have defeated top contenders. A year ago it was second-ranked South Central Calhoun.

In 2018, it was three weeks that separated victories over second-ranked teams. To finish off September they knocked off Spirit Lake. They also handed Algona their first loss of the season in a regular season finale.

For two straight seasons the Falcons have beat every opponent in front of them. Swieter remembers the last time OABCIG suffered a loss, right down to the date. It was October 26, 2018.

The Jaguars ended the Falcons season in the first round of the playoffs, a 58-42 offensive slugfest.

“We were the last team to beat them, so going into this game we feel we can win this,” Swieter said. “We have put the time in in the weight room and in the offseason. They haven’t lost a game in two years and we haven’t lost (a regular-season contest) in a year and a half.

“We have and have to carry the mentality that we can beat anybody. If we let them come in here and have the mindset that a win isn’t feasible, we’ve already lost. A couple of years ago Algona came in here ranked No. 2 and it was an upset. If we win we don’t feel it’s an upset. We feel we are a great team. My kids believe and that’s what it takes.”

The Falcons are once again led by a DeJean at quarterback. Beckett DeJean has taken over for his brother, Cooper, who is now on the University of Iowa football roster.

In his first three games, DeJean has thrown for 710 yards and nine scores for the Falcons. He has run for 138 and two touchdowns. Junior Griffin Diersen has rushed for 297 yards and four TDs, as the Falcons have rushed for 562 yards.

Jaguar quarterback Kolson Kruse has done the job through the air and on the ground. The senior has thrown for 601 yards and five touchdowns. He has completed 57 percent of his passes (31-for-54).

Kruse has been just as effective on the ground, running for 263 yards and four scores. Senior Lathe Muench has added to the punch with 198 yards and six touchdowns.

Junior Eli Johnson and senior Colton Brant have been the main targets, as well as senior Tre Fisher. Johnson has 10 catches for 318 yards, while Brant has caught six balls for 143. Fisher has 73 yards on nine catches. Johnson and Brant have two touchdowns each and Fisher has one.

Senior Pierce Woodruff and junior Justin Loseke lead the defense with 16.5 and 14.5 tackles each. University of Iowa recruit Aaron Graves has 13 tackles and two sacks.

No. 5 Pocahontas Area (3-0, 0-0) at No. 2 Spirit Lake (3-0, 0-0)

The Indians have put together three solid outings to start the seasons, earning victories over Manson Northwest Webster, South Central Calhoun and Sioux Central.

The intensity will pick up this week as they stand across from Spirit Lake. The Indians edged Western Christian (22-21) in Week 1. They rolled past Forest City and Spencer as well.

Pocahontas Area has rushed for 629 yards and quarterback Chase Boysen has thrown from 200 yards. Boysen is the groundhog with 289 yards and three scores. Ruger Bunda (188) and Alex Welander (152) are also threats on the ground. Bunda and Welander have two and one touchdowns respectively. Chase Cook has caught 10 balls for 180 yards and a score.

Senior quarterback Riley Reynolds has thrown for 467 yards and six touchdowns. His main targets have been senior Jack Latham (10 for 126) and classmate Carver Jungjohan (7 for 146) Latham has a score and Jungjohan has three touchdowns.

Reynolds and junior Brayden Theesfeld lead the ground attack. Reynolds has 150 yards and three scores, while Theesfeld has 160 and a touchdown.

No. 9 Algona (3-0) at No. 2 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (3-0)

Landyn Van Kekerix has been a dual threat so far for the Nighthawks. The senior has run for 210 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging 15 yards per touch. He has also caught six balls for 161 yards and three scores. He is averaging 26.8 yards per grab.

Through the air, Tanner Te Slaa has thrown for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

Van Kekerix is also the defensive leader with 12.5 tackles and an interception.

Tyler Manske has flashed his arm early on, throwing for 697 yards and nine touchdowns. Classmate Trevon Smith has been the main cog, catching 19 balls for 281 yards and six scores. On the ground, Manske has run for 194 and two scores, while Lamorn Ulfers has 127 yards on 25 grabs.

No. 6 Newell-Fonda (3-0) at Bishop Garrigan (3-0)

The Mustangs haven’t let off the pedal since stepping onto the field. Newell-Fonda has won by an average of nearly 50 points. Last week they earned a 63-18 win over River Valley where Mason Dicks threw for three touchdowns and ran for three.

On the season Dicks has thrown for 385 yards and six scores. He has run for 377 and nine touchdowns, while Wyatt Kreft has 199 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Trey Jungers has caught 11 balls for 197 yards and three touchdowns.

On special teams, Kreft has two kick returns for scores and Jungers returned a punt for a touchdown.

Bishop Garrigan quarterback Garrett Heying has been a dual threat for the Golden Bears. Heying has thrown for 260 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 294 yards and five scores. Cal Birkey has six touchdowns on the ground (141 yards) and Caden Rothler (170) has three scores.

No. 4 Estherville-LC (2-1, 0-0) at No. 10 Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (3-0, 0-0)

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows may be the surprise of Class 2A, District 2, but the Cowboys aren’t going to let up anytime soon. In the first three games, CGC has rushed for 723 yards. Junior Preston Gardner has run for 377 yards and six touchdowns. Gardner is averaging 9.7 yards per carry.

Nevan Foss has rushed for 174 yards and four touchdowns.

Quarterback Ryan Schiltz has led the Midgets in the first three outings. Schiltz has thrown for 509 yards and nine scores, while rushing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Zavion McMurrian has 173 yards on the ground and two scores.

Schiltz has had three big targets in Owen Larson (11 for 109), Daryl Jensen (9 for 134) and Lamont Whiting (8 for 124). Larson has three touchdowns, while Jensen and Whiting have two each.

The Midgets are coming off a 38-28 loss to fourth-ranked Humboldt (3A). E-LC took a 14-0 lead after the first period before Humboldt tied the game at half. The Wildcats kicked a field goal in the third and both teams combined for a 35 point fourth quarter.

Other area games: South Central Calhoun (2-1, 0-0) at Manson Northwest Webster (1-2, 0-0); Webster City (1-2) at Mason City (1-2); Humboldt (3-0) at Boone (0-3); Greene County (2-1, 0-0) at Des Moines Christian (1-2, 0-0); West Sioux (2-1, 0-0) at Emmetsburg (0-3, 0-0); Woodward-Granger (2-1, 0-0) at Eagle Grove (1-2, 0-0); East Sac County (0-3, 0-0) at Underwood (3-0, 0-0); North Union (1-2, 0-2) at Lake Mills (1-2, 0-1); West Bend-Mallard (1-2, 1-1) at Northwood-Kensett (2-1, 0-1).

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