Quarterfinal Football Capsules: Taking a Closer Look at the Quarterfinal Matchups for Area Teams

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

4A No. 4 Bettendorf (9-1) at 4A No. 6 West High (9-1)

Where: Trojan Field, 7 p.m.

Regular season: Bettendorf 10, West High 7

Opening Round: West High defeated Cedar Rapids Kennedy 38-14. Bettendorf defeated Pleasant Valley 31-14

Bettendorf player to watch: Senior quarterback Carter Bell (5-10, 170) has completed 58 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,170 yards and nine touchdowns. The South Dakota commit has also rushed for 707 yards and 10 touchdowns.

West High player to watch: Sophomore Marcus Morgan (6-2, 165) took over at quarterback following a week two loss to Bettendorf and has passed for 1,627 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 261 yards and two scores while leading the Trojans to eight consecutive wins.

Key stat: Don’t expect a lot of points in this one. West High is holding opponents to 11 points per game and hasn’t allowed more than 17 in a game this season while Bettendorf gives up 9.5 points per game and has held six opponents to single digits.

About the Bulldogs: One of the most successful programs in the state over the past decade Bettendorf is seeking its fifth semifinal appearance in the past six seasons.

The Bulldogs have had their season end with losses to West High each of the past two seasons falling 24-17 to the Trojans in the opening round in 2016 and 23-0 in the semifinals last season.

Bettendorf got a measure of revenge with a 10-7 win in week two. The Bulldogs built a 10-0 halftime lead in the regular season meeting and held on for the three-point win.

Bettendorf has won six straight games since a 29-23 loss to second-ranked Cedar Falls outscoring opponents 248-38 during that stretch.

Bell leads a Bettendorf offense that averages 33 points and 357 total yards per game.

Brandon Tillman (6-0, 175) has been the top target for Bell while Iowa State recruit Darien Porter has caught 20 passes for 321 yards and five scores.

Senior Austin Kalar (5-8, 185) has rushed for 996 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

The calling card for Bettendorf continues to be its defense. The Bulldogs are holding opponents to 9.5 points and 246 total yards per game this season and have held six straight teams to 14 points or fewer.

Logan Robinson (6-0, 200) has a team-high 55 tackles while senior rush end Rocky Schoenfelder (6-0, 205) has 49 tackles including 22.5 for loss and a 4A-leading 12 sacks.

About the Trojans: West High is two wins away from reaching the state title game for three straight seasons for the first time in program history. 

Standing in the way is the eighth meeting in six seasons with eastern Iowa rival Bettendorf.

Bettendorf has won five of the last seven meetings but West High has won the last two postseason contests between the two teams including a 23-0 semifinal shutout last season.

The Trojans have rattled off eight straight wins since the 19-7 loss to Bettendorf in week two and have outscored opponents 325-93 during the win streak.

West High is unbeaten with Morgan at quarterback as the sophomore has stepped into the starting role following the loss to Bettendorf.

His top target has been senior Jalen Gaudet (6-2, 225) who leads Class 4A averaging 27.9 yards per reception. Gaudet has caught 32 passes for 892 yards and nine touchdowns including a 90-yard touchdown grab in the regular season game at Bettendorf.

Senior Justin Thomas (6-0, 180) and junior Tate Crane (6-3, 170) have become solid receiving options for Morgan.

Thomas has a team-high 36 receptions for 584 yards while Crane has caught 25 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense has been the strong point for the Trojans this season holding opponents to 11 points and 219 total yards per game.

Senior defensive tackle Landon Green leads West High with 47 tackles including nine sacks which racks second in Class 4A.

1A No. 6 West Branch (9-1) at 1A No. 3 Van Meter (10-0)

Where: Van Meter, 7 p.m.

Last season: Did Not Play

Opening Round: West Branch defeated Osage 56-14. Van Meter defeated Sumner-Fredericksburg 42-16

Van Meter player to watch: Junior running back Ian Abrahamson (5-11, 205) ranks third in Class 1A in rushing with 1,646 yards and ranks second with 22 touchdowns.

West Branch player to watch: Senior quarterback Beau Cornwell (6-2, 185) is completing a 1A-best 67 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,979 yards and 23 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

Key stat: Van Meter has won 23 consecutive games dating back to last season and is holding opponents to less than a touchdown per game (6.9 points) game during that stretch.

About the Bulldogs: The defending 1A champion brings a 23-game winning streak into its quarterfinal match with West Branch.

Van Meter hasn’t had a game closer than 21 points this season and hasn’t had a game decided by single digits since a 21-20 win over Earlham in its 2017 season opener.

Led by junior quarterback Anthony Potthoff (6-2, 185) the Van Meter offense has been among the most productive in Class 1A this season.

Van Meter ranks third in total offense averaging 418 yards per game, second in yards per play at 8, third in both rushing yards with 313 per game and points with 42,3.  

It all starts with Potthoff who joins Ogden junior Sam Christensen as the only players in Class 1A with 900 yards rushing and passing.

The junior quarterback has completed 55 percent of his passes while throwing for 983 yards and 18 touchdowns with one interception and also rushed for 936 yards and 12 scores.

His top targets have been senior JJ Richards (5-11, 160) and senior Zach Drummond (6-2, 185).

Richards has caught a team-high 16 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns while Drummond is averaging better than 30 yards per reception.

Abrahamson leads the rushing attack and has also caught 10 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.

Van Meter has been nearly as impressive on defense allowing 7.6 points and 215 total yards per game.

Parker Fryar (6-1, 185) leads the Bulldogs with 53.5 tackles while defensive linemen Brett Berg (6-2, 200) and Chris Reames (6-7, 220) have teamed up for 6.5 sacks.

 

About the Bears: West Branch is seeking its first state semifinal appearance since making four in a row from 2008 to 2011.

The Bears have won five straight since a 28-20 loss to second-ranked Bellevue and are averaging 42 points per game during their current winning streak.

West Branch ranks fourth in 1A in both scoring (39.8) and yards per play (7.8) and is averaging 364 total yards per game.

In road wins over Dyersville Beckman and Osage the past two weeks West Branch has averaged 526 total yards and 52 points while averaging 9.7 yards per offensive snap.

Cornwell directs a balanced West Branch offense that is averaging 166 rushing yards and 198 passing yards per game.

Five different players have caught 17 or more passes this season and three Bears have at least 26 receptions.

Senior Brett Schiele (5-9, 170) has caught a team-high 32 passes for 449 yards and six touchdowns while Trey Eagle (6-3, 165) has 26 receptions for 415 yards and six scores.

Junior running back Tanner Lukavsky (6-2, 210) has rushed for 1,234 yards and 17 touchdowns to go with 27 receptions for 358 yards and three touchdowns.

The West Branch defense has held opponents to 12.6 points and 220 yards per game and has allowed more than 14 points just twice.

Senior linebacker John Hatfield (5-8, 180) leads the Bears with 46.5 tackles while Jeff Bowie (6-4, 225) has a team-high six sacks and junior Dalyn Pedersen (6-1, 220) leads the way with 13.5 tackles for loss.

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