Week 3 Football Capsules: Breaking Down the Area Matchups


Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

City High (0-2) at Ames (0-2)

Where: Ames Stadium, 7 p.m.

Last season: Ames 35, City High 0

Player to watch: It all starts for Ames at the quarterback spot with senior Cooper Downs (6-0, 165) who has thrown for 383 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a team-high 36 yards.

Key stat: Downs leads the state with 50.5 pass attempts per game throwing 46 passes in a season-opener against Cedar Falls before attempting 55 last week against Fort Dodge.  

About the Little Cyclones: Ames has won four of five meetings and three straight in the Little Cy-Hawk series and is averaging better than 40 points per game in its last three wins over City High.

The Little Cyclones started 0-2 a year ago before blanking City High 35-0 in Iowa City and are off to another slow start this season.

Ames has been outscored 81-10 in losses to top-10 opponents Cedar Falls and Fort Dodge.

Downs makes the offense go for Ames and the senior signal caller has a pair of solid targets in senior receivers Jonah Strawhacker (6-3, 170) and Gabe Ante (5-11, 180).

Ante has caught a team-high 17 passes for 138 yards and Strawhacker has 14 receptions for 147 yards.

About the Little Hawks: An 0-2 start to the season has stretched the losing skid for City High to seven dating back to last season but the Little Hawks have shown signs of growth this season.

City High is averaging 216 rushing yards per game behind senior tailback Tonka Hickman (5-11, 188) who has rushed for a team-high 180 yards and two touchdowns.

In order to stop its losing streak and end a three-game skid in the prep Cy-Hawk showdown City High will need to tighten up defensively.

City High has allowed 37.5 points per game in losses to Liberty High and Cedar Falls while allowing better than 8.2 yards per play.

West High (0-2) at No. 9 Southeast Polk (1-1)

Where: Southeast Polk High School, 7:15 p.m.

Last season: West High 31, Southeast Polk 17

Player to watch: Southeast Polk senior receiver Fred Johnson (6-2, 195) has caught 10 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns.

Key stat: West High has scored 22 points in its first two games combined this season after scoring more than 22 points in 30 of its previous 37 games.

About the Trojans: West High is off to its first 0-2 start since starting 0-4 in 2015 following a 42-15 loss to fifth-ranked Bettendorf.

The Trojans have scuffled on offense averaging 205 total yards and 19 rushing yards per game during its 0-2 start.

Junior quarterback Marcus Morgan (6-2, 165) has provided the offensive spark for West High, throwing for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

West High will attempt to shore up a defense that is allowing 269 yards per game on the ground through the first two weeks.

About the Rams: Few teams across the state have faced tougher tests to start the season than the two that will meet at Southeast Polk on Friday. West High has lost to top-five foes North Scott and Bettendorf while Southeast

Polk bounced back from a 31-20 season-opening loss to 4A top-ranked West Des Moines Valley with a 38-35 win over Waukee last week.

Sophomore quarterback Jaxon Dailey (6-2, 175) has shown to be a quick study in his first season at the varsity level throwing for 407 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

Senior Deveyon Montgomery (5-11, 180) and sophomore Xavier Nwankpa (6-1, 175) give the Rams a solid 1-2 punch behind Dailey.

Montgomery has rushed for 137 yards while Nwankpa has added 71 yards while averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

No. 7 Washington (2-0) at Liberty High (2-0)

Where: Liberty High School, 7:15 p.m.

Last season: Washington 35, Liberty High 19

Player to watch: Two games into the season Washington senior quarterback Luke Turner (5-10, 185) has been among the most dynamic players in Class 3A passing for 360 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 208 yards and four more scores.  

Key stat: Liberty High is 5-2 in games when it rushes for 200 yards or more and 0-4 in games when it fails to reach 200 yards rushing.

About the Lightning: Liberty High followed up a season-opening win over City High with the first shutout in program history last week blanking Waterloo East 14-0.

The Lightning have won three straight dating back to last season and are averaging 311 rushing yards per game during that stretch.

Junior Max Tafolla (6-0, 205) has been the workhorse in the Lightning backfield this season rushing for 285 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per carry.

Senior Kaleb Williams has added 159 yards and a touchdown and has caught a team-high seven passes for 80 yards.

About the Demons: Washington won six of its final seven games last season following an 0-2 start and just missed a spot in the Class 3A playoffs.

The Demons have picked up where they left off this fall outscoring Marion and Oskaloosa by a combined score of 89-18 in back-to-back wins to open the season.

The key to slowing the Demon attack is keeping Turner under wraps. The explosive senior quarterback is a big play waiting to happen.

Turner is averaging 20 yards per completion and 11.6 yards per rushing attempt and has four touchdowns of longer than 30 yards this season.

Clear Creek Amana (1-1) at Fort Madison (2-0)

Where: Fort Madison, 7 p.m.

Last season: Clear Creek Amana 38, Fort Madison 0

Player to watch: Fort Madison senior running back Diego Lozano (6-2, 215) has rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 7.8 yards per carry.

Key stat: Over the past two seasons Clear Creek Amana has allowed 106 rushing yards per game in its nine wins and given up 225 yards per game on the ground in its three losses.

About the Clippers: Clear Creek Amana bounced back from a season-opening loss to Mount Pleasant last week with a 33-7 win at Fairfield.

The Clippers forced seven turnovers in the win at Fairfield and held the Trojans to 168 yards of offense including just 53 yards on the ground.

Clear Creek Amana has continued to rotate quarterbacks through two weeks with sophomore Ben Swails (6-2, 165) and junior Ryan Navara (6-2, 185) splitting snaps.

The two have combined to pass for 352 yards and four touchdowns while completing 56 percent of their passes.

About the Bloodhounds: After winning two games combined in 2015 and 2016 Fort Madison has opened the season 2-0 for the third straight season.

Fort Madison started 2-0 a year ago before a 38-0 loss to Clear Creek Amana in week three started a six-game losing streak that led to a 3-6 record.

The Bloodhounds are 2-0 again after a 17-0 win over Central Lee in the opener and a 26-14 win at West Burlington last Friday.

Junior quarterback Will Larson (5-10, 160) has completed 26-of-56 passes for 138 yards with Michael Mosena his top target with nine receptions for 80 yards.

No. 4 Solon (2-0) at Marion (0-2)

Where: Thomas Park Field, 7:15 p.m.  

Last season: Solon 47, Marion 10

Player to watch: Marion senior Connor Whalen (6-2, 185) has caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, leads the Indians with 13.5 tackles and has picked off a pair of passes.

Key stat: Solon is averaging 461 yards of total offense and 8.5 yards per play.

About the Spartans: Solon followed up an impressive 35-7 win over Mount Vernon in the season opener with a 48-7 win over West Liberty.

The Spartans put up 481 yards of total offense in the win over the Comets and averaged better than 8.4 yards per play for the second consecutive game.

Senior quarterback Cam Miller (6-1, 205) has passed for 472 yards and three touchdowns while completing 61 percent of his passes.

Senior AJ Coons (6-4, 210) is off to a huge start with nine receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown while senior Jace Andregg has caught five passes for 107 yards and a score.

About the Indians: Marion dropped to 0-2 on the season with a 32-20 loss to West Delaware last week after opening with a 27-6 loss to Washington.

The Indians have struggled offensively, averaging just 112 total yards and 42.5 rushing yards per game during their 0-2 start.

A defense that has forced four turnovers has been the strength for Marion which has lost four straight games dating back to last season.

No. 4 West Branch (2-0) at Williamsburg (1-1)

Where: Williamsburg, 7 p.m.  

Last season: West Branch 31, Williamsburg 7

Player to watch: Williamsburg junior quarterback Brody Wardenburg (5-11, 185) has thrown for 321 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Key stat: The top weapon on the Williamsburg offense. Kaden Wetjen (5-9, 160) is averaging 38 yards per reception with three of his five catches going for touchdowns.

About the Bears: The offense has been a work in progress over the first two weeks for West Branch but the defense has been humming along in midseason form.

West Branch has held opponents to 147 total yards and 6.5 in back-to-back wins over West Liberty and Wapello while outscoring foes 52-13.

The Bears have been solid offensively, averaging 299 total yards per game behind first-year starting quarterback Gavin Hierseman.

Hierseman has passed for 200 yards and three touchdowns without an interception while completing 72 percent of his passes.

About the Raiders: Williamsburg split a pair of tough road tests to open the season defeating West Marshall 14-7 in the season opener and falling to Class 3A top-ranked Western Dubuque 48-20 last week in Epworth.

Wardenburg and Wetjen team up to present a dynamic presence in the Williamsburg passing attack while senior Austin Burns (5-9, 150) leads the running game rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Regina (1-1) at Pella Christian (0-2)

Where: Pella Christian High School, 7 p.m.

Last season: Pella Christian 24, Regina 21

Player to watch: Pella Christian senior quarterback Dan Jungling (6-0, 170) has passed for 251 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a team-high 86 yards and a score.  

Key stat: Regina is averaging 39.4 points per game in its last five meetings with Pella Christian going 4-1 in that span.

About the Regals: The Regals bounced back from a season-opening loss at two-time defending 3A champion Cedar Rapids Xavier in a big way last week with a 56-25 win over Anamosa.

Junior quarterback Ashton Cook was nearly perfect in the week two win completing 20-of-21 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns and also rushing for a pair of scores.

Cook and junior Alec Wick (6-1, 179) give Regina one of the most dynamic passing combos in the state.

Wick has caught 13 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns to lead four Regina players with at least six receptions.

About the Eagles: Pella Christian finally got over the hump against Regina last season snapping a string of four losses in four seasons to the Regals with a 24-21 win in Iowa City.

The Eagles went 8-4 and reached the 1A semifinals last season but are off to an 0-2 start falling 29-22 to Class 3A Oskaloosa and 40-6 to 1A third-ranked Van Meter last week.

Even with the early struggles for Pella Christian expect a tight game as the last three meetings between these two have been decided by a total of seven points.

Pella Christian is allowing 34.5 points and 400.5 total yards per game over its first two games.

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