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Friday night area pigskin preview

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The final week of the 2008 regular season is upon the area's football teams, yet much remains to be decided on Thursday and Friday night.

Alta and Laurens Marathon have both clinched playoff berths, but their final seeding won't be determined until after crucial matchups against their respective district leaders, Akron-Westfield and North Sentral Kossuth.

Newell-Fonda is locked in at the number four playoff spot in Class A District 2 with a non-district opponent this week, in LeMars Gehlen, the only team to knock off Alta this fall.

Official sub-state pairings won't be released until after Friday's action, but if both Alta and Newell-Fonda come away with wins on Friday, the two could square off in the opening round of playoff action.

Buffalo Ridge, Sioux Central, and Storm Lake have been eliminated from the playoff hunt and will be trying to close out their 2008 campaigns on a positive note. This leaves Aurelia.

The Bulldogs playoff hopes ride soley on Thursday night's outcome. Aurelia currently sits in the fourth and final playoff spot in 8-Man District 1. Their opponent this week, Remsen St. Mary's, sits in fifth place with the winner advancing to sub-state play and the loser done for the season.

Newell-Fonda and Aurelia will play their regular season finales Thursday at 7PM while Alta, Buffalo Ridge, Laurens-Marathon, Sioux Central, and Storm Lake all playing Friday nigh at 7PM.

Aurelia 5-3, 4-2 in district play vs

Remsen St. Mary's 4-4, 3-3

The Bulldogs are riding out the momentum of 30-28 win over Remsen Union, previously unbeaten in district play. A win guarentees the fourth playoff spot in district one. A third place finish is possible if Woodbine falls as well.

Quarterback Camrin Meyer is coming off of his best game of the season after throwing for 256 yards and four scores. Meyer now has 761 yards and 10TDs on the year.

Jacob Howey leads the Bulldog rushing attack with 871 yards and 12 TDs. Alec Ohlson and Steve White are both over 160 yards with six combined TDs.

Head coach Myron Radke's defense has been flying all over the field of late. Ohlson leads the group with 85 tackles and three interceptions. Taylor Whitzel has 84 stops on the year while White has notched 72. Anthony Fowler and Zach Nixon have been disruptive up front combining for 130 stops and 28 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Remsen St. Mary's has a balanced offense similar to the Bulldogs and are led by dual threat QB Skyler Higgins who has throwing for 781 yards and 8TDs while rushing for another 300 yards and six scores. Zane Phillips gets the majority of the carries for St. Mary's as he has put up 761 yards and 11TDs this fall.

Just a sophomore, Phillips also leads St. Mary's with 355 receiving yards and 85 tackles. St. Mary's is coming off of a 51-7 rout of Charter-Oak Ute.

Newell-Fonda 5-3,3 -3 at

LeMars-Gehlen Catholic 6-2, 5-1

The Mustangs are coming off their worst loss of the season as they fell to #2 Southern Cal 46-6. The usually dominant Newell-Fonda rushing attack was held to just 77 yards.

Despite the loss, the Mustangs are in the playoffs following Clay-Central-Everly's win over Rockwell City Lytton. Even if RCL is able to knock off Bishop Garrigan, the Mustangs own the tiebreaker with their 14-6 win earlier this season.

Running back Josh Hopper nears the 1000 yard mark as he enters the final week of the regular season with 956 and 15TDs. Quarterback Jack Reis 532 yards through the air and 223 on the ground for eight scores.

The Mustangs average over one interception a game and they will have plenty of opportunities to grab more against a pass-happy Jay attack.

Sophomore standout Taylor Wurth leads the Jays with 1278 passing yards and 14TDs this fall. He's also run for 369 and five scores, second only to Jordan Sitzmann's 372. Chris Gabriel is their leading target with 635 receiving yards and eight TDs.

Gehlen blanked Woodbury Central 34-0 a week ago. They currently sit as the #2 seed in Class A district one.

#7Alta 7-1, 4-1 vs.

#9Akron-Westfield 7-1, 5-0

Alta continued on their surge into the playoffs with 43-6 blowout of North Iowa Buffalo Center. The Cyclones have one five straight since their sole loss to LeMars Gehlen as their stout defense and explosive ground game continue to pave the way.

During their current streak Alta has averaged over 330 rushing yards and five TDs a game while the defense has held their opponents to just seven poins per contest and forcing four and a half turnovers.

Their regular season finale looks to be their toughest matchup all season as they host Akron-Westfield who comes into Friday off of a 46-13 win over Kingsley-Pierson. The Westerners are a team very similar to Alta in philosophy as they focus predominantly on establishing the run led by a pair of talented tailbacks.

Junior Christopher Carlson leds the team with 864 yards and 11 scores. His partner in the backfield, Joe Sievert has 560 and eight TDs to his credit. Eric Eskra has proven to be effecient at te helm with eight TDs and zero interceptions on the season.

Seivert has been a force on defense as well as he's second on the team with 48 tackles, 12.5 of those for losses. The Westerners are the only team in the district with more forced turnovers than Alta.

They may have their hands full in Alta's pair of senior running backs. The combination of Jack Mills and Michael Huseman have accounted for over 2400 yards and 30TDs on the season behind a big, athletic offensive line.

Storm Lake 1-7, 0-6 at

MOC-Floyd Valley 3-5, 2-4

The Tornadoes started their season off with a win and will look to end it in similar fashion this week against MOC-FV.

Storm Lake enters Friday's match up in the midst of a seven game slide going all the way back to the first week of the season with their most recent defeat coming from Estherville-Lincoln Central 41-14.

MOC fell 35-28 in double overtime to Denison-Schleswig a week ago as they had their playoff run ended. Undefeated Bishop Heelan is through to the playoffs and a favorite for a repeat run to the state title game. Spencer and Sergeant Bluff-Luton have locked up spots as well with LeMars and Denison-Schleswig vying for the fourth and final one this weekend.

E-L-C's size and strength were able to wear out the Tornadoes last week as they gave up over 400 yards on the ground while running for just six of their own.

A pass-heavy MOC team will be a welcome change after the string of bruising ground games the Tornadoes have had to defend over the past few weeks.

The two squads have both been able to put up impressive numbers on the season but struggled to have it reflect on the scoreboard.

Davis Bloemendaal's 721 passing yards is second in the district to Bobby Browns' 1404. Jon De Haan is a playmaker for MOC with 472 yards and six TDs to lead the district. Storm Lake's Courtney Goodchild and Tony Pertzborn lead district 1 with 540 and 506 receiving yards on the season.

Taylor Whitt has been all over the field for the Dutchmen with 138 tackles on the season, tops in class 3A.

The Tornadoes have had a rough go of it in one of Class 3A's most competitive districts, but coach McCabe and the Storm Lake squad have battled regardless and will look to end their season on a positive note in Orange City Friday.

Other Friday night matchups

Buffalo Ridge 1-8, 0-6 vs.

Pocahontas 4-4, 4-2

Laurens-Marathon 7-1, 5-1 vs.

N. Sentral Kossuth 8-0, 6-0

Sioux Central 2-6, 1-5 vs.

Hinton 5-3, 4-2

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