MAQUOKETA VALLEY AT BELLEVUE
Time, place: Fri., 7:30 p.m., Bellevue
Records: Maquoketa Valley 1-3; Bellevue 3-1
Last year: Maquoketa Valley won 29-27
Eye-catcher: This matchup pits one of the district's best runners against one of its best run defenses. Bellevue's Chase Junk averages 108 yards a game, but he and the Comets face a Wildcats defense allowing opponents fewer than four yards per carry.
Scouting Maquoketa Valley: Tanner Ellison and Emerson Ries are one of the best quarterback-receiver combos in Class 1A District 4. Ellison has thrown for 429 yards and averages 19.5 yards per completion. Big-play threat Ries has eight catches for 291 yards (36.4 average).
Scouting Bellevue: Junk has rushed for 435 yards, and receiver Casey Blake has caught 12 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns for the Comets, who have 14 seniors.
Last word: “They played a tough non-district schedule, and they've had some close losses. They're coming off their first win, so you know they'll have some confidence. We need to be up to the challenge." — Bellevue coach Rick Pogemiller.
WEST LIBERTY AT CAMANCHE
Time, place: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Camanche
Records: West Liberty 1-3; Camanche 0-4.
Last year: West Liberty won 31-7.
Eye-catcher: After moving from halfback to tight end to fullback, Camanche's Brad Maxwell seems to have found the perfect spot. He scored both Indians touchdowns in last week's loss, including an 86-yard kickoff return.
Scouting West Liberty: The Comets boast a shotgun spread offense led by first-year starting quarterback Mason Garcia. West Liberty's only win this season came against winless Tipton.
Scouting Camanche: Running back Mike Sullens has run for 295 yards on almost five yards per carry. The senior also leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss. Moritz Mueller has completed 3 of 11 passes for 35 yards since taking over at quarterback.
Last word: "They pose the same threats we've seen before. But we need to focus 90 percent of our efforts on Camanche football. We've lost our edge as far as confidence. We're thinking again and not just reacting. We're getting in our own way." — Camanche coach Steve Dougherty.
CLINTON AT DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION
Time, place: 7 p.m. Friday, Brady Street Stadium, Davenport
Records: Clinton 4-0; Assumption 3-1
Last year: Clinton won 14-7.
Eye-catcher: Clinton last started 5-0 in 1985. That same season, the River Kings posted their first undefeated regular season in 38 years. Clinton has not tasted 9-0 since.
Scouting Clinton: The River Kings sit alone atop the Mississippi Athletic Conference. Running back David Johnson rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns last week in Clinton's momentous win over Bettendorf. The Clinton defense has allowed only 10 points by an opposing offense.
Scouting Assumption: Ryan Byrne spearheads Assumption's Wing-T offense with over 100 rushing yards a game. He rushed for 181 yards and four touchdowns last week. Quarterback Sean Finn has completed 61 percent of his passes (30-for-49) for 395 yards and three touchdowns.
Last word: "Assumption does a great job of running the ball. Our defense really has to read its keys this week. (Assumption does) so much misdirection and counters and crisscross. Focusing on our keys is going to be huge for us this week." — Clinton coach Lee Camp
EDGEWOOD-COLESBURG AT NORTHEAST
Time, place: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Goose Lake
Records: Edgewood-Colesburg 0-4; Northeast 2-2.
Last year: Northeast won 33-12.
Scouting Edgewood-Colesburg: The Vikings are just the type of team the Rebels are looking for following a shutout loss last week at Clayton Ridge. Ed-Co has gained fewer yards this season (338) than Clayton Ridge had last week. Adam Lake leads the running attack with 150 yards. Junior Mitch Brady (10-for-11, 44 yards and sophomore Jacob Kluesner (5-for-14, 39 yards) have manned the quarterback spot.
Scouting Northeast: The Rebels are looking to get some offense going after picking up just 63 total yards a week ago. For the season, Jed Rogis (207 yards passing), Mitchell Bielenberg (225 yards rushing) and Tanner Loots (220 yards rushing) all have put up similar numbers.
Last word: “They are a team that has been struggling with a new head coach. They have not been close in any game they've played. It's our homecoming, so it's important we stay focused each day in practice and on Friday.” — Northeast coach Jeremy Mosier
CENTRAL DeWITT AT BENTON COMMUNITY
Time, place: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Van Horne
Records: Benton Community 2-2; Central DeWitt 3-1
Last year: Sabers won 35-33.
Scouting Central DeWitt: It should come as no shock that the Sabers have gained about six times as many yards on the ground as through the air (1,283-215). Again this year, no one player is carrying the load. Ben Comer (441 yards), Ryan Daniels (362) and Brennan Ketelsen (168) have between 25 and 46 carries.
Scouting Benton Community: The Bobcats are coming off a loss to Maquoketa. Junior quarterback Zach Twedt (392 yards rushing, 353 passing) is the main weapon, but Mark Hemmelsbach (32 carries, 224 yards) also is a threat to run. All but two of the team's 26 completions have gone to Justin Lopata or Mitch Lester.
Last word: “We've got to stop the run, and we've been able to stop the run pretty well, but I don't know if we've seen this kind of back. The Twedt kid last year gave us about everything we could handle. We ended up barely escaping that one.” — Central DeWitt coach Kurt Kreiter.
PRESTON AT SPRINGVILLE
Time, place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Springville
Records: Preston 4-0; Springville 2-2
Last year: Preston won 42-16
Scouting Preston: The Trojans broke into the AP rankings this week at No. 10, so they will have to see how they deal with that. Senior running backs Kyle Feller (97 carries, 596 yards) and Austin Hughes (35 carries, 346 yards) continue to lead the offensive, while sophomore quarterback Jason Feddersen (125 yards rushing, 159 passing) continues to develop. . “So far, we've been pretty effective running the ball, but I would like to throw more,” Preston coach Kevin Behr said.
Scouting Springville: Preston plays the eight-man equivalent of the 11-man double-wing formation this week. Noel Nissen (377 yards rushing) returns in the backfield, and quarterback Jordan Scriver is back, too. “Springville is a well-rounded team and runs a deceptive offense,” Behr says. “They do a lot of criss-crossing off the quarterback, and it can be effective if we don't do what we're supposed to and stay home.”
Last word: “I kind of like the underdog role, but it's nice for the kids to get some recognition.” — Behr, on Preston's ranking.
FULTON AT AMBOY/LaMOILLE
Time, place: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Amboy.
Records: Fulton 2-2; Amboy 4-0
Last year: Amboy won 23-21.
Eye-catcher: The Clippers have allowed only five points a game (20 points total).
Scouting Fulton: The Steamers will need the balanced attack they found last week against River Valley to continue against a much-larger Amboy/LaMoille team. The rushing balance that back Evan Regenwether gave quarterback Tyler Renkes allowed the Steamers to more than easily take care of business against River Valley.
Scouting Amboy/LaMoille: Size and a power running game are the Clipper watchwords. Running back Cody Richardson is A/L's top ground-gainer, but he was held in check a bit by Erie/Prophetstown last week.
Last word: "Hopefully, we can take advantage of the mismatches we have. They're going to run the football and play physical football and we have to match that physicality Friday night. We won't be able to shut down (Richardson) but we have to contain him and not let him break those 40, 50, 60, 70-yard runs." — Fulton coach Patrick Lower.
EAST CENTRAL AT LANSING KEE
Time, place: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Lansing
Records: East Central 0-4; Lansing Kee 3-1
Last year: Kee won 54-0.
Scouting East Central: Things have gotten a little tougher for the undermanned Raiders. The loss of Taylor Keeney (pulled muscle) leaves the team with just 12 players. And the schedule doesn't get any easier (the Raiders' first five opponents have a combined 17-3 record). The loss of Keeney takes away a key offensive weapon for East Central, which averages 211 yards a game.
Scouting Lansing Kee: The Kee Hawks have several offensive weapons, and they spread the ball around. Jacob Milton (333 yards), Jason Mooney (276) and Jalen Cooper (231) all are threats to run, and Cooper has completed 21 of 38 passes for 241 yards. Charlie Ewing (33 tackles) heads a defense that averages better than two takeaways a game.
Last word: “They traditionally are a physical, strong team. They have some pretty athletic kids who are strong and can push you around and move you. They have a strong, hard-nosed defense that doesn't like to give up many yards.” — East Central coach Dave Jenkins.
ANAMOSA AT MAQUOKETA
Time, place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Maquoketa
Records: Anamosa 0-4; Maquoketa 4-0.
Last year: Maquoketa won 31-13.
Scouting Anamosa: There’s no hiding the fact that the Blue Raiders are struggling. They use a spread offense led by quarterback Mitch Hewitt. “Anamosa does have a very good quarterback,” Maquoketa coach Kevin Bowman says. “He’s not blessed with the supporting cast some of the other teams have.” The running game has been almost non-existent (35.5 yards a game average), and the top rusher, Spencer Wood, has just 51 yards on 19 carries. Hewitt has completed 49 of 111 passes for 717 yards and has three receivers with 10 or more catches. Dalton Ahrendsen (18 receptions, 276 yards) is the top target."
Scouting Maquoketa: The Cardinals have been much more effective with their spread offense and have had more success running than throwing. Senior quarterback Colin Nickeson and senior running back Zach Scheibe (“Zach had his best night of the season last week and had a lot of his yards after contact,” Bowman says) each average more than 100 yards a game on the ground. Nickeson hasn’t had to pass as much as might be expected in a spread (27-for-67, 452 yards), but part of that is because of senior receiver Tyler Rutenbeck (13 catches, 298 yards). “Ever since the first game when Tyler went crazy against West Liberty, people are giving him a huge cushion, and that opens up the running game,” Bowman says.
Last word: “We will have our wok cut out recognizing the offensive formations they run.” – Bowman.
MORRISON AT RIVER VALLEY
Time, place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Varna
Records: Morrison 4-0; River Valley 0-4.
Last year: The Mustangs won 34-0.
Eye-catcher: How each team's defenses perform early will be key. The Mustangs average 11.3 points allowed, River Valley 52.
Scouting Morrison: Mustang Josh Vos is the centerpiece of the Mustang offense, and he's been devastatingly effective in the past two weeks. Going almost unnoticed is the improved quarterback play of Andrew Cook, who is getting more comfortable under center each week.
Scouting River Valley: This week, it's the Mustangs' turn to try and slow down the Falcons' track meet. River Valley rolled up 300-plus yards in a loss to Bureau Valley, over 600-plus against Erie/Prophetstown and had a huge week against Fulton last week, pushing the Steamers before falling by three touchdowns.
POLO AT WEST CARROLL
Time, place: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Savanna.
Records: Polo 3-1; West Carroll 2-2.
Last year: The Marcos won 32-0.
Eye-catcher: West Carroll teacher Dan Hartman was a state-champion wrestler for Polo in the 1981-82 season. He won three state medals for the Marcos, winning at 167 pounds in 1982.
Scouting Polo: Thunder coach Dave Baisden's review of the game film showed that the Marcos run a unique offense: the veer, which had most prevalence in the late 1970s. The U.S. Naval Academy runs it currently. "It's a fun offense to watch," Baisden said of the scheme.
Scouting West Carroll: Watch how well the Thunder plays assignment football Friday night. Galena made a mistake against Polo by spreading its linebackers too wide, and that required them to over-pursue the veer.
Last word: "I feel like we could have a real good defensive effort. This is a big stepping stone for us. (Though not a conference game), it's a game we need to win. We could walk out 2-3 and have an uphill battle the rest of the way (to make the playoffs) or walk out 3-2 and have some confidence." — Baisden.
ERIE/PROPHETSTOWN AT BUREAU VALLEY
Time, place: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Manlius.
Records: E/P 2-2; Bureau Valley 3-1.
Last year: The Storm won 47-25.
Eye-catcher: The Panthers have given up nearly as many points (125, 31.3 per game) as they've scored (130, 32.5).
Scouting Erie/Prophetstown: The backfield combination of quarterback Brandon Borkovec and running back Jeremy Majeski has combined for 12 TDs so far this season. But coach Chuck Milem thinks his team will need to make more strides offensively. "We can't turn the ball over that many times. We've had mental mistakes and some awful reads," he said.
Scouting Bureau Valley: Watch the Storm's defensive line, Milem says, and it will show why Bureau Valley has been so successful for so many consecutive years. "They're so disciplined defensively," Milem said. "That's what has made BV good, not necessarily their offense but really their defense. They're very solid up front, particularly the defensive front."
Last word: "Tuesday and Wednesday were as good a practices as we've had in a long time. We've got to decide if we're content to just hang with a team ahead of us in the conference or if we're going to try to beat those teams." — Milem.
MAQUOKETA VALLEY AT BELLEVUE