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Week 8 Prep Football Preview

October 12, 2012
By TIMES-REPUBLICAN STAFF (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Marshalltown (5-2, 2-0) at Mason City (1-7, 1-2)

The Bobcats can assure themselves a top-two finish in Class 4A's Division 3 with a fifth consecutive win tonight against a Mason City team coming off its first victory this fall.

Marshalltown will send the state's top-ranked passing attack onto the field with the program's fourth straight playoff berth already secured. The Bobcats are the seventh-highest scoring team in 4A with nearly 40 points per game pouring in behind quarterback Blake Gimbel and an array of capable receivers.

The Mohawks have committed 17 turnovers this season, with nine interceptions and eight lost fumbles. Mason City is averaging just 13.6 points per game.

South Tama (6-1, 4-1) at Benton Community (1-6, 1-4)

The big-play South Tama offense reached new heights with last week's upset win over Boone, 37-14, and the Trojans get a non-district game against neighboring Benton to get ready for a Week 9 district title game against Grinnell.

STC boasts the fifth-ranking scoring offense in at 35.6 points per game, while Benton has surrendered a whopping 43.1 points per game - second-to-last in 3A. The woeful Bobcat offense has thrown 20 pass completions and nine interceptions this season, demanding the ground game do all the work.

That's just fine for South Tama, which boasts 3A's second-leading rusher in Kyle Stephenson (1,288 yards, 17 TDs) with the added threat of QB Sam Kuhter, who has gone over 100 yards each of the last two games.

East Marshall (3-5, 1-2) at Nevada (3-4, 1-2)

The fourth and final playoff spot in Class 2A's District 7 is likely on the line tonight in Nevada, as East Marshall takes on the host Cubs. They have split their last two meetings, both 30-point wins for the home team. This game, however, has district implications for a pair of programs longing to reach the postseason.

Three straight trips from 1990-92 under late head coach John Strain mark the last playoff appearances for the Mustangs, while Nevada hasn't advanced since 1986.

Both teams will try to get there behind the run as East Marshall ranks third and Nevada 10th in 2A ground gains. Nevada, however, has twice as many passing yards as East Marshall.

West Marshall (7-0, 3-0) at Roland-Story (1-6, 0-3)

The Trojans have won 21 consecutive district games and can lock up a third straight district title with a win tonight in Story City.

No secret in how West Marshall intends to get it done - running the ball. Junior tailback Duncan Ferch leads all of 2A with 1,533 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. The Trojans average nearly 43 points per game.

Quarterback Evan Johnson leads Roland-Story with 813 all-purpose yards, 600 of them through the air. The Norse have two standout receivers in Ryan Skaar and Josiah Soderstrom.

Lake Mills (3-4, 2-3) at AGWSR (5-3, 2-3)

Two of the three teams knotted in a tie for fourth place in the Class A District 2 standings square off tonight in Ackley.

AGWSR churned up its second-highest scoring night in last week's win over Belmond-Klemme (42), and the Cougars will probably need more of the same to take down Lake Mills. Three AGWSR running backs gained more than 90 yards apiece last week, and the defense held its opponent to 14 points or fewer for the sixth time this season. Clay Bohner gained a season-best 143 yards with two touchdowns.

Lake Mills is coming off back-to-back losses to two of the league's three frontrunners. The Bulldogs are the 12th-best passing team in Class A behind QB Hunter Kingland (70-for-128, 931 yards). Nathan Banwart is the team's featured back with 586 yards and nine TDs.

BCLUW (1-6, 0-4) at GMG (1-6, 0-4)

A pair of five-game losing streaks collide tonight in Garwin as BCLUW visits the Wolverines in a District 4 battle. The Comets are trying to score their third win in as many seasons against GMG.

BCLUW's one win this season is ninth-ranked Montezuma's only loss, while GMG's lone victory over North Mahaska snapped a 26-game losing streak spanning nearly three years. Neither club is averaging more than 16 points per game.

Blake Warren has 600 rushing yards to pace GMG's offense, while Deonce Cushinberry has moved to the front of BCLUW's backfield attack.

Belle Plaine (6-1, 4-0) at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (3-4, 2-2)

The Plainsmen have won four district games by a combined 140-49, making it five straight victories overall for one of Class A District 4's last two unbeatens. Lance Hinschberger is Belle Plaine's leading rusher (498 yards) and receiver (149).

Gladbrook-Reinbeck's offense has been limited to 10 points over its last two games, including a second shutout in last week's 'Battle for the Bell' loss to rival Grundy Center. Nine turnovers in that span could be the culprit. The Rebels must win one of their last two games to gain a playoff berth.

Grundy Center (3-4, 3-2) at North Tama (6-1, 4-0)

Sixth-ranked North Tama takes a five-game winning streak into a head-to-head battle with the Redhawks' former head coach. Brent Thoren has his alma mater Grundy Center headed to the playoffs for the second year in a row, in his first season with the program after leaving North Tama two years removed from a state title.

Grundy Center's defense will be put to task as the Spartans have allowed 25 points or fewer in five straight. North Tama is averaging 35.4 points per game, a number the Redhawks have eclipsed in each district win this season.

North Tama quarterback Jacob Wrage stands second in Class A in passing yardage, with 6-foot-5 receiver Mitchell Boerm the third-leading receiver (560 yards). Grundy Center running back Dylan Lyman is 22nd in rushing (734).

Meskwaki (2-5, 1-4) at Tri-County (2-5, 2-3)

The Warriors and Trojans remain playoff hopefuls with a head-on collision slated for tonight in Thornburg. Tri-County has lost its last four, while Meskwaki has captured a pair of two-point wins in its last two games.

Meskwaki QB Terrell Grant racked up 170 all-purpose yards in last week's home win over Moravia, while Corey Dye made three interceptions to match the best game in 8-man football this season.

Tri-County has only one player with more than 100 yards rushing. QB Nick Watts has 681 passing yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Spencer Steinke is his top target, hauling in 22 passes for 385 yards and six scores.

Colo-NESCO (5-3, 4-2) at Grandview Park Baptist (3-4, 2-3)

Playoff bound for the third time in the last five years, Colo-NESCO would like to rebound from last week's slugfest against No. 2-ranked Murray with one last regular season victory.

The Royals have a Week 9 bye to recuperate for the postseason. Senior Brandyn Niemeyer ranks third in rushing (1,332) and the Royals are fourth in 8-man football on the ground. Fullback Adam Lytle is 152 yards away from 1,000 as well.

Grandview Park Baptist has a three-pronged rushing attack led by QB Brennan Drea, who has thrown for 613 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 343 yards and five more scores.