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Week 7 Prep Football Preview

October 11, 2013
By TIMES-REPUBLICAN STAFF (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Ankeny Centennial (3-3, 1-1) at Marshalltown (0-6, 0-2)

Hopes of prolonging the school-record playoff streak have dwindled, but more importantly now the Bobcats are simply longing for a win.

Chances of making it five straight postseason berths for Marshalltown appear bleak, and bringing Ankeny Centennial to town tonight might not help. The first-year Jaguars program has survived the crucible of its schedule, with losses to three ranked teams in the rear-view mirror. Centennial's run-first offense is led by Marshall Clark, who is averaging 9.8 yards per attempt.

Marshalltown ranks 42nd in offensive and defensive scoring averages, and the Bobcats are averaging a Class 4A-worst 2.3 yards per carry. MHS senior Derek Mann is tied for the 4A lead in tackles.

South Tama (2-4, 1-3) at Boone (6-0, 3-0)

Seventh-ranked Boone remains one of five unbeaten teams in Class 3A, thanks in part to the top-ranked rushing offense. The Toreadors, led by quarterback Alex Davis, have gained more yards than any other 3A team so far. Davis ranks sixth with 891 rushing yards, and he's also thrown for 355 yards.

Boone has scored at least 35 points in five of its six wins coming into tonight's District 4 clash with South Tama. The Trojans have their work cut out for them if they want to register the school's second-ever, back-to-back state playoff berths.

STC is coming off its second-lowest offensive performance of the season, gaining only 213 yards in last week's loss to Ballard. Tailback Jerry Lowe ran for 102 yards and a touchdown and also led the defense with 10 tackles.

East Marshall (0-7, 0-3) at West Marshall (6-0, 3-0)

Winless East Marshall makes the cross-county road trip to unbeaten West Marshall for a Class 2A District 7 contest.

One of six remaining 6-0 teams in 2A, West Marshall has it rolling on both sides of the ball. The Trojans are fifth in 2A in scoring average (41.7) and eighth in points against (10.7). Tailback Duncan Ferch has eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season, while sophomore linebacker Jared Johnson leads the district in total tackles (72).

Conversely, East Marshall is one of six 2A teams without a victory. The Mustangs are led by Zach Rubenbauer, the second-leading tackler in the district, and emerging sophomore tailback Nick Long. Long has led East Marshall in rushing each of the last two games.

South Hardin (1-5, 1-3) at Nevada (1-5, 0-3)

Hopes of getting into the playoff picture hinge on South Hardin snapping a three-game losing streak tonight at Nevada.

The Tigers currently sit fifth in the Class 2A District 7 standings - one out of playoff range - with only two league games left. South Hardin's passing attack has maintained its potency, but the Tigers haven't scored more than 14 points in their last three outings.

Nevada, which allows an average of 36.5 points per game, has suffered five straight defeats. The Cubs' junior tailback Chase Dobson leads the district in rushing (1,126 yards).

Belmond-Klemme (4-2, 2-2) at AGWSR (7-0, 4-0)

Another win would match the best start in Ackley-Geneva school history as AGWSR hosts Belmond-Klemme in a Class A District 2 clash tonight in Ackley.

The Cougars, ranked fourth, will have just three days of practice in between after last week's showdown at Mason City Newman was postponed to Monday. AGWSR trailed for the first time all season but rallied for the win behind its steady ground game and staunch defense. The Cougars rank second in Class A, allowing just 5.57 points per game.

Belmond-Klemme is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the district, needing a win to keep the upper hand. Quarterback Elijah Kinseth is a dual threat for the Broncos, leading them with 801 passing yards and 687 rushing.

Grundy Center (5-2, 4-0) at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (4-2, 3-0)

Two of the state's top offenses clash at 'The Pit' when Grundy Center visits Gladbrook-Reinbeck in one of the longest running rivalry games in Iowa. This will mark the 94th year in a series dating back to 1920 between Grundy Center and Reinbeck, one that currently stands at 43-41-9 in the Spartans' favor.

It's likely few have had as much on the line as this one. The Class A District 4 lead goes up for grabs tonight in Gladbrook, as well as the traditional bragging rights and the Victory Bell.

Grundy Center has won five straight and is averaging 376 yards per game behind a balanced offense. The Spartans rank fourth in passing yards and eighth in rushing yards in Class A.

The Rebels, meanwhile, have surrendered 6 points per game fewer than their rivals to the west, and boast the top rusher in Class A. Chase Clark (1,153 yards) is averaging 8.3 yards per carry.

BCLUW (2-4, 1-2) at Belle Plaine (3-3, 2-1)

The Comets put up a Homecoming Night challenge that Grundy Center won't soon forget, but BCLUW didn't get the win to show for last week's late-night effort. Tonight it's a trip to Belle Plaine for the boys in black and gold.

BCLUW's passing attack ranks seventh in Class A with senior quarterback Conner Ubben clearing 826 yards so far. Blake Cooper is among the state's leading tacklers with 68 stops.

Vance Bohlen has been Mr. Everything for Belle Plaine this season, scoring five touchdowns by four different methods. He's the Plainesmen's leading receiver with 15 grabs for 204 yards.

Iowa Valley (1-6, 0-4) at GMG (3-3, 1-2)

Currently tied for fourth in Class A District 4 with BCLUW, GMG is chasing its first playoff berth since 1999 but needs to shrug off back-to-back losses coming out of its bye week.

The Wolverines' Bryce Newcomb ranks fourth in Class A with 360 receiving yards on 19 catches, while Luke Petty is among the leaders in fumble recoveries (3).

Austin Carney carries the load for Iowa Valley, rushing for 602 yards but just one touchdown. The Tigers have lost six straight.

Meskwaki (2-4, 1-3) at Moravia (0-7, 0-4)

The Meskwaki Settlement School's bid to get back into the playoff chase will need a win over winless Moravia, a team that hasn't scored a point in three straight games.

The Warriors will need at least two wins over their last three games, and some help along the way, but a top-four 8-Man District 5 finish is not out of the question.

Colo-NESCO (2-5, 2-3) at Murray (5-2, 3-1)

With a bye in Week 9, Colo-NESCO has only two chances left to bolster its bid for what would be the program's first-ever, back-to-back state playoff berths. Stopping one of the top rushing 8-man teams in the state, and in District 6, will be paramount.

Murray enters ranked seventh in the state with 1,850 rushing yards this season. The Mustangs are led by Andrew Rider, who has 919 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. Rider also has two receiving scores and nine return touchdowns: punt (4), interception (4) and kickoff (1).