Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – It started out eight years ago as a playoff matchup between a couple of traditional Eastern Iowa powers.
It quickly turned into a rivalry.
Now the seemingly annual playoff meeting between Class 4A heavyweights West High and Bettendorf has become a tradition.
“It wouldn’t be the playoffs without playing Bettendorf,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “It’s the team we seem to bump into every year.”
Sixth-ranked West High (9-1) will host No. 4 Bettendorf (9-1) in a rematch from the regular season in the 4A quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m. at Trojan Field.
The meeting marks the eighth meeting between the two perennial powers in the past six seasons and the fourth consecutive year the two teams have met in the playoffs.
“It’s the eighth time in six years, we know them, they know us,” Hartwig said. “It’s Bettendorf. They are well-coached, they are physical, they are tough. They are always those things.”
Bettendorf holds a 5-2 edge in the series since 2013 including a 10-7 win in week two of this season.
However, West High has won the past two playoff meetings between the two teams including a 23-0 blanking of the Bulldogs in a 4A semifinal last season.
Four of the previous seven meetings between the two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less.
On paper Friday’s matchup appears to be another evenly matched contest.
West High has won eight straight games since the loss at Bettendorf in week two while the Bulldogs have won six straight after their only loss in week four to second-ranked Cedar Falls.
The statistics are almost as even.
West High averages 387 total yards and 36 points per game while Bettendorf puts up 33 points and 357 total yards.
The Bulldogs are holding opponents to 246 yards and 9.5 points per game while West High is allowing 219 total yards and 11 points per contest.
“I think we played them so early I think you are looking at two different teams to be honest with you,” Hartwig said. “We played them week two and that seems like a season ago.”
The teams boast two of the best defensive units in Class 4A but the biggest difference between the first meeting are on the offensive side.
Sophomore quarterback Marcus Morgan took over the West High offense in week three and has passed for 1,627 yards and 13 touchdowns with two interceptions in eight starts.
Morgan has also rushed for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
Bettendorf has its own dual-threat quarterback in senior South Dakota commit Carter Bell.
Bell has thrown for 1,170 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 707 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“Defense wins games in November but I do think both offenses are playing better than they were in week two,” Hartwig said. “I think offenses come along a little slower and I think our offense is playing a lot better so you may see more points on Friday night but the goal for defenses is to shut them out.”
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