Storm Lake vs Cherokee
The Tornadoes season opener should be a showcase between two of the area's best gunslingers as Storm Lake junior Bobby Brown and the Tornadoes host Cherokee senior Tyler Jones and the Braves.
Both quarterbacks received all-district honors for their efforts last season, and Jones received all-state recognition as he continued his climb to the top of Iowa's high school record books.
"This is the fourth time he's started against us," said Tornado head coach Bill McCabe. "He's a very good quarterback. In terms of experience, he's hard to beat."
In their meeting last season, the Braves won handily 47-21 behind a 300 yard, 4TD performance from Jones. Cherokee jumped out to an early 21-0 lead in a night that saw the Tornadoes turn the ball over six times and never quite recover. Brown connected on a 42-yard strike late in the game while taking limited snaps.
Jones enters the season just 465 yards shy of breaking Keokuk's James Vanderberg's career yardage record. He is 32 shy of Vanderberg's all-time touchdown record, both of which were set last season. Vanderberg is now suiting up with the Hawkeyes.
Storm Lake's defense will need to be in top form to keep the talented Jones from conducting a repeat of last season.
"We have to be able to put some pressure on him," said McCabe. "I think it's more important for us that we tackle well. Their offense is about throwing the ball quick. They've got you spread out and try to get their athletes the ball in open space. We have got to keep everything in front of us.
Brown went for 1500 yards in the air last season, and looks to improve upon those figures this year with a loaded group of receivers that include Courtney Goodchild, Michael Ivey, Tony Pertzborn.
"Ivey has been doing a great job for us on offense," said McCabe. "He's a good athletic kid. We'll be cycling through a lot of guys at receiver and slot Friday.When you play Cherokee your skill guys are gonnna do a lot of running. Last year we got a little tired. We've learned we have got to rotate and keep as fresh as we can. We have to make sure we keep people fresh and rotate. If you're a step slow they'll burn you."
Alta vs Sioux Central
About the only similarity the Alta Cyclones and Sioux Central Rebels shared in the 2007 season were their colors. Kevin Hammer's Alta squad rode a dominant ground game all the way to the district title before an overtime heartbreaker in the first round of the playoffs ended their season.
Jeff Tiefenthaler and Sioux Central found themselves in the cellar of a dominant district that included West Lyon, Hinton, and West Sioux. However, both squads faced similar offseasons as they both needed to replace numerous players from last years graduating class including their starting quarterbacks.
Alta has dropped down to Class A this season but still appears to be the favorite in this matchup. Their big bodies along the offensive line, led by all-state candidate Andrew Allerdings, should do an ample job of clearing the running lanes for one of the fastest running-back duos in the state in Jack Mills and Mike Huseman.
The Cyclones are led defensively by All-State defensive end Jake Syndergaard. The Cyclones will rely on him to have a big night on Friday too keep the pressure on the Rebels' quarterback before he can find the time to connect with Trevor Tiefenthaler.
The two-time All-State wide receiver has totaled 78 receptions for 1081 yards and 15 TDs over the last two season and is one of the few players in the area who can keep pace with Mills and Huseman.
All three were state track winners last season with Mills and Huseman doing their damage in the 4x200 relay while Tiefenthaler won in the 400 meters.
Cherokee at Storm Lake - 7:30
Sioux Central at Alta - 7:00
Buffalo Ridge at OA-BCIG - 7:00
Newell-Fonda at Pocahontas - 7:00
Granville Spalding at L/M - 7:00
Graettinger-Terril at Aurelia - 7:00