The lead in class 1A district four goes to winner of tonight’s game as ninth ranked Dike-New Hartford hosts second rated South Winneshiek.
“They’ve got quite a football team, a heck of a football team,” Dike-Hartford coach Don Betts says. He says the players know what is at stake and this is why they play football — to play in big games on your home field.
South Winneshiek coach Jason Ohrt says slowing down the Wolverines ground game will be a key as he says they are very physical on the front line and have some good backs. Ohrt hopes his team can keep up the trend of being true “road” Warriors.
In class A district 4 as 6th rated Gladbrook-Reinbeck visits third rated AGWSR. With a victory the Cougars would clinch the district title. Gladbrook-Reinbeck coach John Olson says AGWSR is a very disciplined team the does everything the way it should be done and are simple in the aspect of what they are trying to accomplish.
With a victory Gladbrook-Reinbeck would take sole possession of the district lead with two games remaining.
Two teams that met in the semifinal round of the playoffs a year ago meet in eight-man district one as fourth ranked Exira/EHK hosts Newell-Fonda. Exira/EHK enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record. Spartans coach Tom Peterson says they lost several kids to graduation and have made progress through the season.
He says Newell-Fonda is making strides after losing all of their starters from last season. Newell-Fonda is 3-1 in the district and needs a win to keep their title hopes alive. After opening the season 0-3 the Mustangs have won three straight.
Exira/EHK beat Newell-Fonda 56-7 in last year’s semifinal round.
Rated teams collide in class 4A as seventh ranked North Scott visits top ranked Bettendorf. The Lancers will be looking to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season. North Scott coach Kevin Tippet says they are big, fast and physical and says they wear on you and grind you down with power football.
Bettendorf’s defense has been susceptible to the pass this season but Tippet says stats can be deceiving as he says the front four do a good job of getting pressure, and other teams have been behind and throwing the ball a lot.
Tippet says the key for the North Scott offense is to stay balanced between the run game and the passing of sebior quarterback Matt Sacia.
In class 3A, third ranked Carroll visits fifth ranked Sioux City Heelan. This is a non district game but Carroll coach Dennis McCartan says with the playoffs coming up it is a good test. “these guys are the defending state champs and they called in the spring to see if we wanted to play…I said ‘heck yeah.’ I think it’s fine we are ready to go,” McCartan says.
Heelan has relied primarily on the passing game this season while Carroll wants to be balanced on offense.
Carroll is 6-0. Heelan is 5-1.
Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein; Darin Svenson, KDEC, Decorah; Ryan Thompson, KAYL, Storm Lake also contributed to this story.