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East (0-0) 

at West (0-0)

  • When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
  • Where: Memorial Stadium, Waterloo
  • Last meeting: West stormed out to a 21-0 lead only to watch East climb back in it before the Wahawks held on for a 34-20 victory last season.
  • What to watch: This is the 107th meeting between the Trojans and Wahawks with the schools celebrating the 25th anniversary of Memorial Stadium Friday with several events, including the unveiling of a display of the five former Waterloo players who have played in the NFL -- Don Perkins, Tom Smith, Reggie Roby, Bruce Perkins and J.J. Moses. Players from both teams who participated in the 1994 game have been invited to take part in a ceremonial pre-game coin flip. ... West has won the last six meetings in this series, while East will be trying to snap a 15-game losing streak. The Trojans have a ton of returning experience back, including quarterback Dylan Reyes who be starting for the third time in this rivalry game. A year ago he passed for 1,716 yards. Top receiver Tyrell Newman is back, and East has a pair of talented running backs in Kjuan Owens and Cedar Rapids Washington transfer Alexander Glover. ... West returns eight players who were starters on offense and six on defense and another eight seniors who saw action in 2018. Quarterback Carter Maske is back as is leading rusher Isaac Tolbert and his 7.8 yards per carry average.
  • West coach Lonnie Moore: "We got to make sure we get the little things right. We have penalties we have to clean up that are not acceptable."

On East: "You look at them and this is coach Leonard's most experienced team. They got some players who are third-year varsity players. They are going to be a good team and it is going to be a good game.

  • East Coach Xavier Leonard, On the game: "Our guys are excited, I'm excited to open the season with West. This is a something I lobbied for to happen. With us in different classifications now, we can play this big rivalry game and then both of us can go on with ourselves.

On his team: "For us it is not about just playing well in the first and second quarters. It's what do you do in the fourth quarter. We got to play a complete game start to finish."

-- Compiled by Courier Sports Writer Jim Nelson

 

Ames (0-0) at

Cedar Falls (0-0)

  • When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
  • Where: UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
  • Radio: KCFI (1650 or 1250 AM, 105.1 FM)
  • Last meeting: Cael Loecher hit Logan Wolf with three long TD passes and the Tiger defense held Ames to minus-9 rushing yards in a 31-14 CF victory that was the beginning of a 12-1 season that ended in the Class 4A state championship game.
  • What to watch: Ames returns nearly all of its offensive playmakers from a 5-4 team, starting with quarterback Cooper Downs, who completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,802 yards and 15 TDs last season. Leading rusher Kavon Domond (337 yards rushing, 194 receiving) also returns, but the ground game wasn't a strength for the Cyclones a year ago (60.3 yards per game). Four dangerous receivers are back -- Gabe Ante (46 catches, 460 yards, 4 TDs), Jonah Strawhacker (24-368-3), Tamin Lipsey (9-214-4) and Dane Hustedt (12-188-2). Lipsey also averaged 30 yards on kickoff returns and 22.9 on punt returns with two TDs, and Ames returns reliable kicker Will Orth (27-29 PATs, 2-3 FGs). On defense, the Cyclones lost their top seven tacklers. With new starters throughout the lineup, this will be a good opening test for Cedar Falls on both sides of the ball.
  • CF coach Brad Remmert: "They've got some weapons and some production back from a team that was 5-2 heading into the least two weeks against West Des Moines Valley and Urbandale. Our defense is going to have to defend trips and doubles the whole time. They spread the field the entire time and they try to isolate guys in space and make plays."

On CF's offense: "Ideally, we'd like to keep the ball away from them as much as we can and control it. We're going to have to be balanced offensively. We have to find the things our big guys up front, our inexperienced linemen, can do, and we need to control the ball and take care of the ball. A big theme for us this year is ball security."

-- Compiled by Sports Editor Doug Newhoff

Ia. Falls-Alden (0-0)

at Columbus (0-0)

  • When: Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: T.J. McLaughlin Field, Waterloo
  • Last meeting: Columbus' defense made an opening night statement by holding Iowa Falls-Alden to 35 rushing yards and 158 yards of total offense with 12 tackles for loss and five sacks in a 31-14 Sailor victory.
  • What to watch: These are two teams that hope to contend for district titles this season. Columbus has most of its top players returning after a 7-2 season, including productive veterans like running backs Ray Seidel and Kobe Nobis and receivers Cannon Butler and Ben Sinnott. It'll be up to sophomore Carter Gallagher to get the ball into his playmakers' hands and provide a steady hand at quarterback. ... Iowa Falls-Alden returns 10 starters among 17 letterwinners from a 3-6 season that included two losses by six points or less. The Cadets' veteran leaders include quarterback Sam Off (56-120-6, 774 yards, 7 TDs), running back Kyler Hadwiger (736 rushing yards, 6 TDs, 116 receiving yards), receivers Karson Sharar (22 catches, 422 yards, four TDs) and Riley Burke (11-119, 2 TDs), along with defensive standout McKade Eisentrager (52.5 tackles, 10 TFLs, two sacks). Hadwiger also had 48 tackles a year ago while Alberto Salmeron had six TFLs and three sacks. Kicker Ivan Orosco also returns (20-21 PATs, 2-3 FGs).
  • Columbus coach Brad Schmit: "They (the Cadets) were super young last year and they've got a lot of kids who got a lot of experience coming back and some pretty good athletes. They were in some tight games last year, and we're expecting them to be much-improved. Based on what they did last year with a lot of underclassmen, I would guess they will do some similar things but you never know."

"The message we've been trying to get across to our guys, and they're probably sick of hearing it, is just 'win the day.' Focus on the fundamentals, play fast, play hard and play together. If we do that, what they do won't have much bearing on what we do.

"You get nine guaranteed opportunities to put a solid product and brand on the field, and we're certainly going to give it our best in those nine opportunities."

-- Compiled by Sports Editor Doug Newhoff

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