Key contests for area prep squads
You can feel the weather dropping and the intensity heating up on the prep football field.
Week six has arrived, and with it several key district battles.
In Class 3A, fifth-ranked Clear Lake will face fellow unbeaten and No. 8 Webster City.
These two have crossed paths several times over the years, including recently in the postseason. They are coached by two legends in Bob Howard for the Lynx and Fred Wieck for the Lions, and are sure to put on a show.
Fellow District 3 squads Waverly-Shell Rock and Humboldt will also meet, with both sporting a loss inside league play.
In Manson, the Cougars will try to set themselves up for a huge game vs. No. 8 (1A) St. Edmond next week with a win over Sioux Central, while Prairie Valley takes to the road for a key district tilt.
Here’s a look at those games set for action tonight:
No. 8 (Class 3A) Webster City (5-0, 3-0) at No. 5 (3A) Clear Lake (5-0, 2-0)
For the Lynx, it will be all about Connor Larson.
The running back has ran for 755 yards this season and 11 touchdowns, numbers that place him second in 3A in both.
Larson has posted back-to-back 200-yard rushing games, but will also need help from quarterback Trey Tesdahl and Alex Oswald to keep the vaunted Lion defense from focusing in on him.
Tesdahl has thrown for 386 yards and four touchdowns, but also has eight interceptions. Combined with Oswald, the two have ran for another 431 yards and a couple of TDs.
Rylee Lawson, Nelson Ball and Gus Gasca anchor the Webster City defense.
For Clear Lake, it all starts with Brock Adams, as the junior has completed 62-percent of his passes for 595 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has 238 yards on the ground, while seniors Carter Hand (370 yards) and Pete Swenson (243) provide strong options.
Hand is also the top receiver, hauling in 13 passes for 189 yards. Connor Nosbisch leads the defense.
The Lions picked up a 24-7 victory last year, limiting the Lynx to just 123 yards rushing and 207 total. Larson had only 21 yards on seven carries in the loss.
Waverly-Shell Rock (4-1, 1-1) at Humboldt (4-1, 2-1)
Brady Ross and the Wildcats can’t sulk after their loss to Clear Lake last week.
Instead, Humboldt needs to get right back on track with another key district tilt vs. the Go-Hawks.
Ross has 729 yards on just 99 carries this year, scoring 10 touchdowns, while backfield mate Nikko Wheeler has racked up another 229 and five scores.
That was to be expected, but the difference has been the quarterback play. With Ben Jacobson graduating, Jaxon Heinz has stepped right in, throwing for 466 yards and completing 71-percent of his passes.
Waverly-Shell Rock is led by Eric Willis and Jake Velky. Willis has 340 yards rushing, while Velky is averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
Velky has started each of the past three games at quarterback, including a 5 of 8 performance for 143 yards last week. He also ran for 81 yards in the win over Oelwein.
Look for the ‘Cats to punish the ball with Ross on both sides, as he also paces the defensive unit.
Sioux Central (3-2, 2-1) at Manson NW (4-1, 1-1)
The Cougars are feeling good after defeating perennial state-title contender Emmetsburg for the first time in school history last week.
However, all that momentum and confidence could be lost if Manson Northwest Webster can bottle it up and use it back in district play vs. Sioux Central.
Junior Coy Snell has come out of nowhere to provide MNW head coach Jeff Anliker with a running game, posting his second consecutive 100-yard effort last week.
Snell followed up a career-high 171-yard performance vs. IKM-Manning with 105 yards and a touchdown vs. the E-Hawks.
Alex Bush remains solid at quarterback, as the junior has thrown for 578 yards, including 15 times to senior Hudson Spedding.
Braden Moser is a do-everything threat, rushing for 228 yards, while also hauling in nine passes for 131.
Next week, the Cougars face St. Edmond in a game that could ultimately determine the league champion. They need to remain focused in on tonight, though, before thinking ahead to that game.
Prairie Valley (2-3, 2-1) at Belmond-Klemme (4-1, 2-1)
There is currently quite the log-jam in Class A, District 2, as four teams are tied at 2-1 and a game behind AGWSR.
The Warriors could make quite the case for a postseason run if they can upset the Broncos on the road.
Last Friday, Prairie Valley pulled out a 14-7 victory over Mason City Newman thanks in large part to Austin Promes. The senior ran for 119 yards on just 14 carries.
Promes leads the Warriors with 380 yards rushing and three TDs, while senior Austin Wood has taken control of the offense the last two weeks and is completing 83-percent of his passes for 198 yards.
Elijah Kinseth is focal point for the Broncos. The senior ran for 171 yards and completed 10 of 16 for 114 in a win over Lake Mills last week.
On the year, Kinseth has 675 yards passing and eight touchdowns, including a 92-yarder, while also running for 637 yards and four scores. Sophomore Taylor Meints has seven TDs and 279 yards on the ground.
Prairie Valley, Belmond-Klemme, Bishop Garrigan and Mason City Newman are all standing pat at 2-1 in the league with several weeks remaining.
Other area games: Algona (1-4, 0-3) at Charles City (1-4, 0-3); Clarion-Goldfield (2-3, 1-2) at Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (4-1, 1-1); East Sac County (3-2, 1-2) at No. 9 (2A) Spirit Lake (4-1, 2-0); Forest City (2-3, 1-2) at South Central Calhoun (2-3, 2-0); Emmetsburg (2-3, 2-0) at Hull Western Christian (3-2, 2-0); North Union (0-5) at Pocahontas Area (1-4); Eagle Grove (0-5, 0-3) at West Fork (1-4, 0-2); Southeast Webster-Grand (1-4, 0-3) at Bishop Garrigan (3-2, 2-1); CAL (0-5, 0-3) at Laurens-Marathon (2-3, 1-2); Corwith-CWL (2-4, 1-2) at No. 5 (8-man) West Bend-Mallard (6-0, 3-0); No. 3 (8-man) Newell-Fonda (5-0, 3-0) at Graettinger-Terril (3-2, 2-1).