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Area prep playoff previews
AREA PREP PLAYOFF PREVIEWS

Area prep playoff previews

Class 3A

No. 6 Independence (9-0) at Pella (7-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Pella High School Stadium

Coaches: Independence, Justin Putz (6th season). Pella, Jay McKinstrey (23rd season).

Postseason history: It’s just the fourth playoff appearance for Independence and first since 2015. The Mustangs have never won a postseason game. Pella has one of the richest playoff traditions in the state with 30 previous appearances and 12 in a row. The Dutch own a a 42-27 postseason record and three state titles (2014, 2015, 2016), along with runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2017.

Quick slants: Independence won its first district title and raced to its first unbeaten regular season since 1973. Now a team that was 0-9 as recently as 2016 is taking aim at its first playoff victory. The Mustangs have a dual threat in quarterback Logan Schmitt, who has completed 64.7 percent of his 139 passes for 1,283 yards and 16 TDs with five interceptions and rushed for 1,349 yards and 21 TDs (7.0 yards per carry). Kaleb Lamphier has 688 rushing yards (9.4 avg) and Marcus Beatty 453. Brayden Holt and Brady Webb have 21 pass receptions each and Blake Bartz 15. That trio has a combined 10 TD catches. Defensively, Indee has 20 takeaways. ... Pella was just 2-2 at one point, but rides a five-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup. Quarterback Ryan Mace has hit 49.7 percent of his 175 passes for 1,591 yards and 19 TDs with six interceptions. Aaron Downs and Nolan Clayberg have 614 and 548 rushing yards, respectively, while Logan Shetterly leads the receiving corps with 41 catches for 781 yards and 12 TDs. Kody Huisman is a terror on defense with 12 solo tackles for loss and nine assists, along with 2.5 sacks. ... Pella played a challenging schedule that featured four playoff teams. The Dutch split, defeating Dallas Center-Grimes 14-0 and Oskaloosa 35-3 while falling to Norwalk 27-9 and Carlisle 42-36.

— Compiled by Sports Editor Doug Newhoff

Class 1A

No. 10 Panorama (8-1) at No. 1 Dike-N. Hartford (9-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Dike

Head coaches: Panorama, Mike Kauzlarich (2nd season). Dike-New Hartford, Don Betts (13th season).

Postseason history: It’s the eighth playoff trip for Panorama and first since 2014. Dike-New Hartford is in for the 18th time since consolidation with Dike High school making two additional appearances. Dike won the 1A title in 1981, while Dike-New Hartford has finished as the state runner-up five times, including last season.

Quick slants: The top-ranked Wolverines average 47.2 points per game while allowing just 6.0 with only three opponents scoring more than a touchdown. D-NH averages 178.8 yards rushing and 220.6 passing per game. Drew Sonnenberg has completed 71.3 percent of 122 passes for 1,515 yards and 21 TDs with six interceptions. Cade Bennett has rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 scores (8.1 yards per carry). Parker Kiewiet has 32 pass receptions for 781 yards and 12 TDs (24.4 per catch) and Dane Fuller has 20 for 320 and five TDs. Defensively, the Wolverines lead Class 1A with 20 interceptions. Fuller has six and Kiewiet and Nathan Graves four each. D-NH has 29 total takeaways. ... Panorama averages 27.7 points, 131.6 passing yards and 109.6 rushing yards per game. QB Dominic Walker has connected on 52.3 percent of 153 passes for 977 yards and 10 TDs with four interceptions. He’s also the leading rusher with 312 yards and eight scores. Five players have double-digit receptions. Defensively, Panorama also has 29 takeaways — 13 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries. Luke South has a pair of kickoff returns for TDs. ... D-NH has two wins over playoff qualifiers. The Wolverines whipped North Linn 62-14 and Iowa City Regina 42-10. Panorama is 2-1 against teams that made the postseason, defeating Mount Ayr 14-6 and Central Decatur 37-22, but fell to Van Meter 20-0.

— Compiled by Sports Editor Doug Newhoff

No. 4 West Lyon (8-1) at Osage (5-4)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Osage High School

Head coaches: West Lyon, Jay Rozeboom (28th season). Osage, Matt Finn (5th season).

Postseason history: West Lyon is in for the 30th time overall and 17th straight season with four state titles and three runner-up finishes. Osage is making its 12 appearance and second in a row.

Quick slants: West Lyon features explosive offense, tough defense and dangerous special teams. Jalyn Gramstad has passed for 1,174 yards (59 of 95) and 12 TDs with three interceptions. Logan Meyer has rushed for 842 yards (8.0 per carry) and Gramstad has 425. Meyer also has a team-best 419 receiving yards (26.2 per catch) while Gavin Lorenzen has 21 catches for 409 yards and eight TDs along with two kickoff returns and a punt return for TDs. The Wildcats average 143 passing yards, 252.9 rushing yards and 44.2 points per game while allowing 9.9 points each game. Six opponents have managed six or fewer points. West Lyon went 1-1 against the playoff field, losing 35-28 to West Sioux, then whipping Western Christian 35-0 in the regular-season finale. ... Osage turned its season around after an 0-4 start. Three of those defeats came against playoff qualifiers Clear Lake, St. Ansgar and West Hancock. Overall, the Green Devils average 217.8 passing yards, 133.7 rushing yards and 28.1 points per game. Colin Muller is 19 of 222 for 1,946 yards passing with 22 TDs against eight interceptions. Zach Williams has 696 rushing yards (5.3 per carry). Thor Maakestad has 661 receiving yards on 31 catches with 10 TDs, and Spencer Mooberry has 32 grabs for 573 yards. Connor Tabbert (22 catches) and Nathan Havel (19) are also options in the passing game. Defensively, Osage has allowed an average of 26.0 points per game overall, but just 10.4 over the past five games.

— Compiled by Sports Editor Doug Newhoff

Class A Central Decatur (5-4) at North Tama (9-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: North Tama High School

Head coaches: Central Decatur, Jon Pedersen (15th season). North Tama, Tom McDermott (16th season).

Postseason history: Central Decatur is making its fifth playoff appearance, first since 2014. The Cardinals have never advanced past the quarterfinal round. North Tama has ended a five-year hiatus with back-to-back playoff appearances. The Redhawks are in the field for the 16th time, and own a 2010 state title to go with a runner-up finish in 2008.

Quick slants: District champion North Tama will be hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2012. The Redhawks have been guided by Class A’s top-ranked scoring defense (allowing just 4.89 points per game) along with an offense that produced a pair of late go-ahead touchdowns to remain perfect. Zach Greiner, Skyler Staker, Ryan McLean and Luke Pennell each have over 40 tackles to lead the North Tama defense. Staker has shared reps at quarterback with Gabe Kopriva. Both the QB options have combined to rush for nine touchdowns and average 7 yards per carry. Noah Weber leads North Tama’s ground attack with 96 carries for 642 yards and 12 scores. Tate Payne has been a clutch leading receiver with five touchdown receptions. ... Central Decatur didn’t win a single game outside of its district, but has won all five district contests to reach the postseason. After managing a timeshare at quarterback throughout the season, senior Cole Pedersen took over the reps in the Cardinals’ regular-season finale against Wayne, rushing for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Pedersen has passed for 742 yards and rushed for 1,164 this season. Hayden Leymaster is the Cardinals’ top receiver with 46 catches for 618 yards and nine touchdowns. Matthew Boothe and Leymaster each have five interceptions on defense.

— Compiled by Sports Writer Nick Petaros

No. 5 Grundy Center (8-1) at Belle Plaine (7-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Belle Plaine High School

Head coaches: Grundy Center, Travis Zajac (6th season). Belle Plaine, Todd Bohlen (17th season).

Postseason history: Grundy Center has ended a three-year playoff drought with its 12th postseason trip in school history. The Spartans won state titles in 1984, 87 and 88. Belle Plaine has reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Plainsmen have won just one out of 10 playoff games.

Quick slants: Grundy Center will be a road favorite with a No. 5 ranking, and No. 3 North Tama responsible for its lone loss. The Spartans opened their season with a 29-12 win at Belle Plaine. Quarterback Logan Knaack rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another score during that victory. ... Grundy Center ranks second to district rival North Tama in Class A defense, allowing just 5.89 points per game. Linebacker Jesse Mackie leads the Spartans with 57.5 tackles, six for loss. Wes Willis has been a force on the defensive line with 49.5 tackles, including 10 for loss. Knaack will make his playoff debut. He’s passed for 815 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for another 636 yards and 13 scores. Zach Opheim leads the offense with 1,024 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Spartans are tested through a district with plenty of parity. Grundy Center capped its season with a six-point win over Hudson and a three-point win against Wapsie Valley. ... Belle Plaine is one of three teams to score multiple touchdowns against Grundy Center this season. The Plainsmen were perfect in district play with Lisbon accounting for their only other loss. Belle Plaine’s offense keeps the ball on the round. Travis Straight (1,456 yards, 20 touchdowns) and Luke DeMeulenaere (937 yards, 11 touchdowns) lead the Belle Plaine rushing attack.

— Compiled by Sports Writer Nick Petaros

No. 8 Edge.-Coles. (7-2) at No. 2 St. Ansgar (9-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: St. Ansgar High School

Head coaches: St. Ansgar, Drew Clevenger (19th season). Edgewood-Colesburg, James Rochford (9th season).

Postseason history: St. Ansgar is in the playoffs for the 19th time, after a string of 12 consecutive postseason appearances was snapped last season. The Saints won the Class 1A state title in 2011. Edgewood-Colesburg is making its sixth playoff appearance. The Vikings reached the state semifinals last season before losing to AHSTW, 39-12.

Quick slants: This top 10 showdown marks perhaps the best opening-round matchup in Class A’s playoffs. St. Ansgar is defined by physical play on both sides of the ball. The Saints lead Class A with 8.3 rushing yards per carry and 65 rushing touchdowns. Jack Sievert is the top option in the backfield with 1,490 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. Ryan Cole is on pace to become the second thousand-yard rusher with 923 yards and 16 scores. Preston Isler’s 53 tackles lead a defense that has shut out its last two opponents. ... Edgewood-Colesburg lost a 28-23 battle with No. 3 MFL MarMac for the district title. North Linn is the only other team to hand the Vikings a loss by a narrow 20-16 margin. The Vikings have a balanced offense. Parker Rochford has passed for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. Keegan Hansel has 1,078 rushing yards and 15 scores.

— Compiled by Sports Writer Nick Petaros

8-player

New London (7-2) at No. 1 Don Bosco (9-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tom Ryan Field, Gilbertville

Head coaches: New London, Mark McSorley. Don Bosco, Colby Yoder (9th season).

Postseason history: New London is the defending 8-player state champion and is in for the seventh time. Don Bosco has won three 8-player titles (2013, 2016, 2017) and is in for the ninth time.

Quick slants: New London won its final four games to earn a return trip to the playoffs. Shae Summerfield has rushed 190 times for 2,117 yards and 34 scores. New London has thrown the ball just 55 times. ... The Dons have steamrolled through the regular season with an average margin of victory of 56.4 points. Their closest game was a 44-0 season-opening win over Gladbrook-Reinbeck, which also made the 8-man field. Running back Thomas Evan has averaged 18.2 yards per carry while rushing for 1,416 yards and 25 scores. Quarterback Cael Frost has thrown for 861 yards and 20 touchdowns, and rushed for 823 yards and 15 more. Defensively, sophomore Cade Tenold leads the team with 65 tackles, including 21 for loss.

— Compiled by Sports Writer Jim Nelson

No. 8 Easton Valley (8-1) at No. 10 Gladbrook-Rein. (7-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Gladbrook

Head coaches: Easton Valley, Tony Johnson. Gladbrook-Reinbeck, John Olson (19th season).

Postseason history: This is Easton Valley’s second playoff appearance although the River Hawks made 14 as Preston. Gladbrook-Reinbeck is in for the 14th time and has reached the title game four times, winning back-to-back Class A titles in 2015 and 2016.

Quick slants: Easton Valley’s only loss was a 72-62 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Turkey Valley. Nathan Trenkamp has completed 163 of 253 passes for 2,242 yards and 35 touchdowns. Cade Jargo leads the River Hawks with 60 catches for 885 yards and 14 scores. Four players have 24 or more catches, and Easton Valley has three rushers with more than 400 yards. ... After losing to No. 1 Don Bosco and No. 3 Turkey Valley to open the season, Gladbrook-Reinbeck has won its last seven games while allowing just 54 points in those games. Keagan Giesking leads the way with 1,347 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Giesking also leads the team in tackles with 37 solos and 28 assists. Eli Thede has returned two kicks and one punt for touchdowns.

— Compiled by Sports Writer Jim Nelson

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