Abraham Lincoln at West Des Moines Valley
Records (District): Abraham Lincoln 1-5 (0-2), WDM Valley 6-0 (2-0)
RPI: Abraham Lincoln is No. 31 in Class 4-A, WDM Valley is No. 2
Last Week: Abraham Lincoln lost to Ames 58-21; WDM Valley defeated Urbandale 52-13
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Valley
Rankings: A.L. isn’t ranked; Valley is No. 1 in Class 4-A
The Word: Looking at the final score of Abraham Lincoln’s game last Friday doesn’t tell the entire story. The Lynx lost, but they also had one of their best offensive performances of the season.
Junior quarterback Lennx Brown had his best game, completing 23 of 34 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns while adding 47 rushing yards and another score.
“I thought it was the best game he played all year,” A.L. coach John Wolfe said. “He also led our team in tackles (7). That was the first week we really played him on defense, too.”
Brown frequently involved senior Ben Fichter in the passing game. Fichter finished with eight catches for 133 yards and caught both of Brown’s touchdown passes. That tandem and the rest of the Lynx will have a much more difficult challenge this week.
West Des Moines Valley averages more than 41 points per game for the season as the top-ranked team in Class 4-A. It’s not an ideal opponent for a team that has to travel two hours and has allowed at least 56 points in four games already this season.
“We’ve got three main goals of focus. Offensively, we need to eliminate turnovers. Defensively, we want to limit big plays. And we’ve got to come out and play better from the kickoff in the second half. We’ve struggled with that as a team.”
Lewis Central at Harlan
Records (District): Lewis Central 6-0 (2-0), Harlan 4-2 (1-1)
RPI: Lewis Central is No. 1 in Class 3-A, Harlan is No. 10
Last Week: Lewis Central defeated Winterset 28-0; Harlan lost to Glenwood 28-21
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Harlan’s Merrill Field
Rankings: Lewis Central is No. 4 in Class 3-A; Harlan is unranked but receiving votes
The Word: L.C. coach Justin Kammrad acknowledges that it’s nice to have the No. 1 RPI. It’s also nice to be ranked where the Titans are in the latest Class 3-A rankings. They’re reflections of the Titans’ progress and consistency this season.
But he also knows that in the grand scheme of the season, they don’t mean anything in the second week of October.
“It’s the first of many that are to come,” Kammrad said of the RPI. “Many things are going to change from here on out. Like we told our kids, it won’t change as long as they keep doing what they’re doing. We’re happy where we’re at right now, but we know at this time last year, we were in a similar situation, and when they playoffs came around, we weren’t in that same situation.”
Instead, L.C.’s focus is on only Harlan. Kammrad is hoping his defense can maintain its stellar play. The Titans have allowed a total of 39 points in six games, and last week, Iowa recruit Logan Jones and Jake Lear each recorded sacks.
Now, the Titans must be ready for a motivated Harlan team coming off a close loss a week ago playing this week in front of its home crowd.
“We’re going to get their best,” Kammrad said. “I told our kids earlier this week that this is by far the best team you’ll have played to this point. They’re aggressive and physical, and they’ll challenge us.”
Riverside at St. Albert
Records (District): Riverside 1-5 (1-1); St. Albert 2-4 (1-1)
RPI: St. Albert is No. 40 in Class A; Riverside is No. 48
Last Week: Riverside defeated Nodaway Valley 24-6; St. Albert defeated Southwest Valley 28-7
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Al Leber Field
Rankings: Neither team is ranked
The Word: The Falcons went to work last Friday and earned a nice district road victory. The offensive stats won’t jump out, but the defensive and special teams efforts helped pave the way to St. Albert’s second victory.
The Falcons intercepted two passes, with Bennett Gronstall returning his for a touchdown. Sam Rallis had a 60-yard punt return for a score, and Cy Patterson accounted for the two scores on offense with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
“We’ve been getting back to a lot of our group work in all three phases of the game,” St. Albert coach Pat Ryan said. “Some of what we focused on during the preseason we’re cycling back into our practices again. The coaches decided to refocus on the basics.”
So far, that strategy has worked. But if the Falcons want to put consecutive wins together for the first time in 2019, they need to handle a Riverside team that likes physical play, a trait that has given the Falcons issues this season. The Bulldogs have a formidable rushing attack led by Austin Kremkoski (462 yards, 3 TDs) and Mason Bivens (442 yards, 3 TDs). Kremkoski has also thrown for 1,080 yards as the team’s quarterback.
“They’re a well-coached team, and they’re extremely physical,” Ryan said. “That’s what we’ve focused on this week. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They do what they do really well.”
Ames at Thomas Jefferson
Records (District): Ames 2-4 (2-0), Thomas Jefferson 3-3 (1-1)
RPI: Ames is No. 26 in 4-A; Thomas Jefferson is No. 23 in Class 4-A
Last Week: Ames defeated A.L. 58-21; Thomas Jefferson defeated Des Moines North 41-12
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Wickersham Stadium
Rankings: Neither team is ranked
The Word: Thomas Jefferson’s ideal end-of-year scenario was to close with four wins in its last four games. The first step was a success last week thanks to one of the Yellow Jackets’ best defensive performances of the season.
T.J. recovered four fumbles, with Hunter Jones returning one for a touchdown. Reese Schlotfeld also picked off two passes, returning one 41 yards for a touchdown.
“We were a little sloppy in the first half with some shotgun snaps,” T.J. coach Brant Anderson said. “Once we cleaned those things up in the second half, we were able to execute and make some things go. And we had some big plays with the pick-six.”
Anderson also commended the play of quarterback Austin Schubert. He threw only eight passes in the game but finished with 126 yards and a touchdown. Next up is an Ames team that earned a comeback victory over the Yellow Jackets last season.
Ames will enter Wickersham Stadium as winners of two in a row, scoring a combined 110 points in victories over Des Moines North and A.L.
“Our kids know how last year’s game went; they know we had that game in our hands and kind of let things slip away,” Anderson said. “Our kids have full confidence. They know we can compete with this team. It’s a matter of executing and minimizing big plays. They throw the ball a ton. You have a chance for big plays that way. We just need to minimize those things.”