By Bob Bakken
The run for the UNI-Dome and the Iowa high school football championships will begin on Wednesday when first round games will be played statewide. More teams will be involved in the postseason after the Iowa High School Athletic Association expanded the playoffs this year.
The unbeaten teams in Class 4-A to play in the playoffs include West Des Moines Valley, Bettendorf and Iowa City High. All three will host first round games, including Valley against Des Moines Lincoln, Bettendorf battling Clinton and Iowa City High hosting Davenport Assumption.
Teams with unblemished records on the line in Class 3-A for the first night of the postseason include Sioux City Heelan, Clear Lake, Carroll, Decorah, Central Clinton, Mount Pleasant and Pella. Heelan hosts Adel-ADM, Clear Lake battles Ballard of Huxley, Carroll brings in Algona for a first-round match-up, Decorah hosts Van Horne Benton Community, Central Clinton is home for a challenge from New Hampton, Mount Pleasant meets Norwalk and Pella is home to Clear Creek-Amana.
Other teams starting the postseason unbeaten include: Central Lyon-George-Little Rock, IKM-Manning, Roland-Story and Solon in Class 2-A; Emmetsburg and Aplington-Parkersburg in Class 1-A; A-H-S-T, East Buchanan, and North Tama in Class A, and North Sentral, CAM, and Stanton in eight-man football.
Winners from Wednesday’s game, labeled “sub-states” by the IHSAA, will go on to the next round to be played the following Monday.
Football: Regular Season Brings Gridiron Landmarks
Brandon Wegher of Sioux City Heelan gained over 2,000 yards for the second-straight season with a 270-yard performance in the Crusaders’ 35-7 win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton last Friday night.
The Iowa recruit has scored 96 career touchdowns and has 675 career points, which puts him 12 shy of the No. 2 spot on the state’s all-time career points leaderboard.
Cherokee quarterback Tyler Jones threw for 281 yards Friday night, but the Braves lost to Eagle Grove 42-35. Jones has moved his all-time career passing yardage record to 9,042 yards.
Waukee’s Walker Woods carried for 322 yards and scored five touchdowns in his team’s 51-38 victory over Mason City Friday night. It was Woods’ second game of 300 yards or more. However, Noah Huisman caught 18 passes for Mason City in the loss, breaking the Class 4-A record for pass receptions in one game. Britt Anderson of Sioux City East had set that record earlier in the season against Urbandale.
Cedar Rapids Prairie coach Craig Jelinek claimed his 100th career coaching victory in Friday’s 14-7 Mississippi Valley Conference win over Cedar Rapids Xavier. Quarterback Alex Hanna’s pass to Scott Schebler with 58 seconds remaining gave the Prairie Hawks the milestone victory for Jelinek.
Football: Regular Season Ending Notes
Brotherhood: Cedar Falls NU High quarterback Kyle Penning threw for 452 yards and five touchdowns in the Little Panthers’ 47-21 victory over North Butler. Kyle’s brother Brad caught nine passes for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Losing Streak Ends: Clarke of Osceola’s 25-game losing streak came to an end Friday night with a 13-3 win over Creston/Orient-Macksburg.
A “K” Of Rushing Yards: Centerville has a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in over 30 years. Tanner Susin’s 120 yards Friday night in the Big Reds’ 28-7 victory over Chariton helped him reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season. The last time that happened in Centerville was in 1977, when Greg Spurgeon reached the landmark level.
A Kicking Good Time: Brad Puckett kicked a school record nine PATs for Earlham while also returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 63-0 victory over Martensdale St. Mary’s.
Baseball: Sioux City North Standouts Commit
Two baseball players from Sioux City North have committed to NCAA Division I programs. Pitcher Dean McArdle has committed to Stanford and catcher Chad Piersma will head the other direction and go to Dartmouth.
McArdle has won 28 career games for the Stars, a state tournament entrant last summer. McArdle was a first-team All-State selection as a junior last summer while fashioning an 11-1 record. His only loss was to Marshalltown in the first round of the state tournament.
McArdle will play for a Stanford program that was 41-24-2 last spring, losing to Georgia in the College World Series.
Piersma heads to an Ivy League school that appreciates his approach to education as much as his baseball skills as a catcher. He was one of two North students to reach the semifinal stage of the National Merit Scholarship testing program.
Both players have done well in the classroom. Piersma scored 35 on his ACT exam; McArdle scored a 34 on a test where 36 is a perfect score. Both players are 4.0 students at the Sioux City high school.
As a baseball program, Dartmouth finished the season with a 25-17 mark last season. Piersma will play for coach Bob Whalen, who will begin his 20th year in the Big Green dugout.