Quarterfinal Football Capsules: Breaking Down the Area Football Matchups


Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Regina (8-2) at No. 4 West Branch (10-0)

Where: The Little Rose Bowl, 7 p.m.

Last season: Did not play

Player to Watch: Regina junior receiver Alec Wick (6-1, 179) is one of only three players in the state with 75 or more receptions (79), and more than 1,000 yards receiving (1,120). Wick ranks second in 1A in both receptions and yards and is tied for the 1A lead with 14 touchdown receptions.

Key stat: West Branch has four players with three interceptions and has forced 26 turnovers in 10 games this season.

About the Bears: Making its 12th consecutive playoff appearance West Branch is seeking its first semifinal appearance since 2011.

The Bears were dominant in a 23-0 opening-round win over North Linn holding the Lynx to 161 total yards and forcing five turnovers.

West Branch is holding opponents to 198 total yards and 13.6 points per game on the season and has held six opponents under 180 yards of total offense.

Offensively the Bears are led by junior quarterback Gavin Hierseman who is coming off perhaps the best performance of his young career.

Hierseman (6-1, 185) completed 10-of-13 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 44 yards in the opening-round win over North Linn and has now passed for 1,443 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

In his first season leading the West Branch offense Hierseman is completing 64 percent of his passes and has also rushed for 426 yards and six scores.

The top target for Hierseman has been Trey Eagle (6-4, 180) who has caught 39 passes for 802 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 20.6 yards per catch.

Senior running back Tanner Lukavsky (6-2, 225) has rushed for a team-high 1,104 yards and 13 touchdowns and has also caught 22 passes for 337 yards and five scores.

About the Regals: After a one-year playoff absence Regina has moved one win away from a ninth semifinal appearance in the past 10 seasons.

Regina rebounded from a 42-10 loss to top-ranked Dike-New Hartford in its regular season final with a 23-19 win over Mediapolis in the opening round of the postseason.

The Regals won seven straight games after opening the season with a 35-0 loss at Class 3A Cedar Rapids Xavier before its regular season final loss at Dike-New Hartford.

Regina has averaged 38.8 points and 395 total yards per game in its eight wins and just 269 yards and five points per game in two loss.

The Regals are averaging 32 points and 370 yards per game behind junior quarterback Ashton Cook (6-4, 181).

Cook has passed for 2,149 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 252 yards and six scores.

Junior Theo Kolie (6-1, 165) has rushed for a team-high 688 yards and eight touchdowns and is averaging 88 yards per game over the past six games with three 100-yard performances during that stretch.

Wick leads the receiving corps for Regina that also features senior Josh Dutchik (6-1, 192) who has caught 38 passes for 544 yards and junior Levi Quinlan (5-10, 150) who has caught 23 passes for 205 yards.

Quinlan has also rushed for 476 yards and four scores.

Pella (8-2) at No. 2 Solon (10-0)

Where: Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m.

Last season: Did not play

Player to Watch: Pella junior Aaron Downs (5-11, 205) is a threat where ever he lines up on the field. Downs has rushed for a team-high 756 yards and 14 touchdowns, caught 12 passes for 246 yards and a score and completed three passes for 27 yards.

Key stat: Pella is averaging 33 points per game and has been held to 24 points in a game twice this season while Solon is holding teams to 8.1 points per game and has allowed more than 14 points once.

About the Dutch: Few teams in the state can match the success Pella has enjoyed over the past seven seasons. Pella is 79-7 since 2013, a string that featured three consecutive unbeaten state title seasons from 2014 to 2016.

The Dutch have lost to eventual state champion Cedar Rapids Xavier each of the past two seasons, falling to the Saints in their playoff opener last season.

Since back-to-back losses to 3A qualifiers Norwalk and Carlisle to close district play Pella has outscored opponents 216-49 while advancing to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in seven seasons.

After allowing 456 yards in a 42-36 loss at Carlisle in week four Pella hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in a game and is holding opponents to 204 total yards and 8.2 points per game.

Pella had perhaps its best defensive performance of the season in a 24-6 win over previously unbeaten Independence in its playoff opener holding the Mustangs to 126 total yards and 2.7 yards per play.

The Pella offense is led by junior quarterback Ryan Mace (6-4, 200) who has passed for 1,658 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading 3A with 18 yards per completion.

Senior Logan Shetterly (5-11, 170) has been the top target for Mace hauling in 43 receptions for 828 yards and 12 touchdowns while Josh Warner has 19 receptions for 265 yards and two scores.

Nolan Clayberg (6-0, 170) joins Downs in leading the Dutch running game rushing for 588 yards and three touchdowns.

About the Spartans: Solon locked up a third straight 9-0 regular season and is now seeking a second semifinal trip during that three-year span.

The Spartans erased the memory of last season’s disappointing 48-13 opening-round loss to Western Dubuque last week with a 14-7 win over Liberty High in its playoff opener.

Solon limited Liberty High to 199 yards of total offense in the win and has now held seven of 10 opponents to seven points or fewer.

The Solon defense is allowing just 168 yards per game and 3.7 yards per play on the season and hasn’t allowed more than 200 yards in any of its past three games.

Senior quarterback Cam Miller (6-1, 205) leads a Solon offense that is averaging 36.9 points and 357 total yards per game.

Miller is coming off an opening-round performance in which he passed for a season-low 97 yards but rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 27 carries.

On the season Miller has thrown for 1,902 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 604 yards and eight scores.

Senior AJ Coons (6-4, 210) has caught 47 passes for 778 yards and nine touchdowns to lead Solon while Jace Andregg (6-2, 205) has 36 receptions for 428 yards and six scores.

Seamus Poynton has rushed for 557 yards and 12 touchdowns and Andregg has run for 210 yards and nine scores.

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