Area teams fight for quarterfinal spots

The prep football field was sliced in half last week.

And will dwindle down by another 16 after tonight, leaving all six classes with quarterfinal round qualifiers.

Action is set across Iowa in the second round, with four Messenger-area schools doing battle.

One of those – Manson Northwest Webster – takes on No. 4 St. Edmond in Class 1A action.

In A, a battle is set for Algona, as fifth-ranked Hinton comes to town to meet No. 6 Bishop Garrigan.

The other two games feature rated 8-man squads, as No. 8 West Bend-Mallard heads to seventh-ranked and defending state champion Marcus-MMC, while third-rated Newell-Fonda hosts Graettinger-Terril.

Quarterfinal round games will be played this Friday, while the semifinals take place the following week inside the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

Here’s a look at the three area games tonight:

No. 5 (A) Hinton (8-2) at No. 6 Bishop Garrigan (8-2)

Six straight wins since starting the year 2-2 have the Golden Bears riding high.

That includes a 27-point win in the first round over West Sioux.

Marty Wadle and Bishop Garrigan stuck to the ground game in the opener, rushing for well over 300 yards. They did not attempt a single pass, as quarterback Reece Wadle ran for 143 yards on just six carries, scoring twice.

David Klein and Connor Langerman each had two rushing TDs.

Brayton Loss is the leading rusher for the Golden Bears, who have only lost to fellow playoff qualifiers St. Edmond and AGWSR this year. The senior has 725 yards, while Wadle, Langerman and Ben Vaske have combined for 1,200-plus.

Hinton enters on a seven-game win streak dating back to a 1-2 start. The two losses also came to playoff qualifiers in South O’Brien and West Lyon.

Cole Johnston and Austin Sitzmann anchor a balanced attack, as Johnston gets it done with his arm and Sitzmann with his legs.

On the year, Johnston has 1,126 yards passing and 15 touchdowns, while Sitzmann leads the running back crew with 400-plus yards.

Expect the Golden Bears to rely on their defense and ground game again in pulling out a home victory.

No. 8 (8-man) West Bend-Mallard (10-1) at No. 7 Marcus-MMC (9-1)

Revenge will be on the mind of the Wolverines, as they were ousted from the postseason a year ago by Marcus-MMC, which went on to win the school’s first-ever state title.

West Bend-Mallard rolled past Remsen-Union in the first round, 52-14. Jesse Zinnel ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns, while also completing 5 of 15 for 86.

Zinnel, a senior, has over 1,800 yards of total offense and 19 rushing touchdowns, while also throwing for another 10.

After a quiet playoff opener, expect more from Davey Jergens this evening. The senior has over 800 yards on the ground and is averaging 9.7 yards per carry.

Many of the key players from last year have departed for MMC, which is led by Conner Holmes and Derek Erdman – who are both underclassmen.

Holmes, a junior, has 1,070 yards rushing, while Erdman, a sophomore, has 906. They have ran for 19 touchdowns, with Dylan Spieler posting a team-high 14 scores.

Spieler is also the quarterback and has 1,163 yards through the air and a 21-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Marcus-MMC won last year’s meeting in the opening round, 49-6. This time, look for the Wolverines to punch their ticket to the quarters behind Zinnel and company.

Graettinger-Terril (7-3) at No. 3 (8-man) Newell-Fonda (10-0)

The Mustangs are looking for another appearance in the round of eight after waxing Remsen St. Mary’s, 55-8, last week.

Brady Bohe continued to run wild, carrying the ball just 11 times for racking up 125 yards and three touchdowns in limited work.

Gabe Podraza had 74 yards passing and 52 yards rushing, while Brady Dicks and Dustin Johnson each found the end zone.

On the year, Bohe has 1,618 yards and 29 touchdowns – numbers that place him high amongst the leaders in 8-man. Podraza has successfully replaced Zak Sievers at quarterback, completing 60-percent of his passes and throwing just two interceptions on the year.

Graettinger-Terril has won four in a row since a loss to Newell-Fonda, 28-6. Kyle Dalen had 112 yards in that game, and ran for 148 and a score in first round playoff action.

Dalen has just under 1,000 yards on the year, scoring 11 times.

Bohe ran for 169 yards in the first meeting and you can expect him to go well over that number again tonight in another Newell-Fonda win.