Western Iowa first-round playoff capsules as compiled by World-Herald staff writers Kevin White, Tony Boone and Frank Hassler, including picks by Kevin White in bold.
All games: 7 p.m. Friday
Carroll at No. 2 CB Lewis Central
Records: Carroll 6-3, Lewis Central 9-0
Postseason appearances (most recent): Carroll 17 (2016), Lewis Central 13 (2017)
The Word: With the TCU recruit Max Duggan at the controls, no western Iowa program has higher hopes than the Titans, whose 9.8 yards per play leads all of the state’s 11-man programs. He’s completed 98-of-143 (68.5 percent) for 1,754 yards and 21 touchdowns with no interceptions, and he also leads all 3-A rushers at a 12.7-yard-per-carry average, piling up a team-best 890 yards on just 70 attempts, including 18 touchdowns. Senior Josh Simmons leads 3-A in receiving yards (907) and is second in touchdowns (11). Lewis Central also ranks second in 3-A in scoring defense, allowing just 9.4 points per game. It’s a monumental task for the Tigers, who edged a 1-8 Dallas Center-Grimes team 10-7 last week to reach the postseason. Carroll likes to toss it around, with junior Colby Vincent having thrown for 1,433 yards and 13 scores with 12 INTs, while completing 52.8 percent (112-of-212) of his passes. His top target is senior Isaiah Badding, who has 43 catches for 625 yards and eight TDs.
Harlan at No. 7 Oskaloosa
Records: Harlan 7-2, Oskaloosa 8-1
Postseason appearances (most recent): Harlan 37 (2017), Oskaloosa 17 (2017)
The Word: Harlan takes its high-powered passing offense on the road in search of its Iowa-leading 93rd playoff victory. Senior Preston Mulligan leads 3-A in passing yards (2,275) and touchdown passes (28), while throwing just four interception and completing 119-of-211 attempts (56.4 percent). His top target is senior Elijah Boldan, who has 30 catches for 743 yards (a 3-A leading 24.8 yards per catch) and nine TDs. Oskaloosa, which snapped an 11-game losing streak to Pella with a 36-35 OT win, features towering 6-foot-9, 203-pound quarterback Cole Henry, a Northern Iowa basketball recruit. Henry ranks fourth in 3-A with 2,022 passing yards, and has thrown for 22 TDs with five INTs, completing 65.3 percent. With FieldTurf, dry conditions and little wind in the forecast, it could be a high-scoring affair.
Sioux City Heelan at No. 5 Sergeant Bluff-Luton
Records: Heelan 7-2, SB-L 8-1.
Postseason appearances (most recent): Heelan 37 (2017), SB-L 10 (2017)
The Word: The IHSAA said it would make an effort to avoid district rematches in the first round, but didn’t guarantee it would do so. This is a District 1 rematch, as the Warriors beat Heelan 23-9 to open district play in Week Five. Heelan led that game 9-2 with nine minutes remaining, before Sergeant Bluff scored three late touchdowns to get the win. Sergeant Bluff quarterback Daniel Wright has thrown for 1,680 yards and 19 scores with two INTs, completing 66.7 percent of his passes. Britton Delperdang has rushed for 1,187 yards and nine scores. Heelan quarterback Brant Hogue has thrown for 1,206 yards and nine TDs, while Tommy Schiltz has rushed for 975 yards and nine scores. However, Heelan struggled last week in a 32-14 loss to Spencer, managing just 170 total yards.
Sioux City Heelan (7-2) at Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-1)
Spencer (7-2) at Norwalk (6-3)
Carroll (6-3) at Lewis Central (9-0)
Harlan (7-2) at Oskaloosa (8-1)
Pella (8-1) at Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0)
Clear Creek-Amana (8-1) at Decorah (7-2)
Western Dubuque (7-2) at Solon (9-0)
Waverly-Shell Rock (8-1) at North Scott (8-1)
Carroll Kuemper at No. 1 PCM
Records: Kuemper 5-4, PCM 9-0
Postseason appearances (most recent): Kuemper 17 (2017), PCM 16 (2017)
The Word: Top-ranked PCM hopes to cap an unbeaten season with a postseason run to the school's first state championship. The Mustangs will have to overcome their own playoff history to do that. PCM is making its 11th consecutive postseason appearance, but it has gone only 3-10 in the playoffs over the past decade. This Mustang team appears to be special, however. It has allowed only 7.4 points per game on average and has held six of its nine opponents to 10 points or less. Offensively, PCM averages 49.2 points per game and has been held under 40 points only once. It's closest game was decided by 23 points. The Mustangs have a 1,500-yard passer in Reed Worth and an 1,100-yard rusher in Wes Cummings. Slowing PCM down will be a tough task for a Kuemper team that lost by 28 two weeks ago.
OA-BCIG at No. 5 Southeast Valley
Records: OA-BCIG 7-2, Southeast Valley 7-2
Postseason appearances (most recent): OA-BCIG 6 (2014), SE Valley 3 (2016)
The Word: OA-BCIG will try to rebound from a 49-6 loss to Greene County to end the regular season. The Falcons will rely on the arm of senior Kaden Ladwig, the state 2-A leader in touchdown passes (26) and passing yards (2,570). His top target is Cooper DeJean, whose 838 receiving yards are fourth in 2-A. They’ll face a Southeast Valley team that has won five in a row since losing 49-6 to South Central Calhoun on Sept. 14. Since then, the Jaguars have beaten current top-10 teams Algona and Spirit Lake. Kyler Fisher leads 2-A with 24 rushing touchdowns and is second with 1,664 yards. Defensively, Fisher has returned two of his three fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Aaron Graves has a team-high eight sacks.
Carroll Kuemper (5-4) at PCM (9-0)
West Marshall (7-2) at Williamsburg (6-3)
Spirit Lake (7-2) at Boyden-Hull/RV (8-1)
OA-BCIG (7-2) at Southeast Valley (7-2)
Union (6-3) at Waukon (8-1)
Algona (8-1) at Crestwood (6-3)
Greene County (8-1) at Benton Community (8-1)
Chariton (8-1) at West Liberty (6-3)
Treynor at No. 5 West Sioux
Records: Treynor 8-1, West Sioux 8-1
Postseason appearances (most recent): Treynor 18 (2013), West Sioux 12 (2017)
The Word: Treynor's first playoff assignment in five years matches it up with last year's Class A champion. After moving up in classification, West Sioux hasn't skipped a beat. The Falcons have reeled off eight consecutive wins since losing to Class 2-A No. 2 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in their opener. West Sioux averaged 47 points in its five district games, winning them all by four scores or more. The Falcons are led by quarterback Hunter Dekker, who has thrown for 2,441 yards and 34 touchdowns. He totaled 285 passing yards and three scores in the state championship game a year ago. The Cardinals counter with dual-threat quarterback Jake Fisher, who has put up nearly 1,500 yards of total offense. Treynor also has a 1,000-yard rusher in Kyle Christensen. He has seven rushing TDs in the past three weeks.
West Lyon (7-2) at South Central Calhoun (9-0)
Treynor (8-1) at West Sioux (8-1)
Mediapolis (8-1) at Bellevue (9-0)
Pella Christian (6-3) at Wilton (8-1)
Mount Ayr (7-2) at Interstate 35 (9-0)
South Hamilton (7-2) at Dike-New Hartford (9-0)
Sumner-Fredericksburg (7-2) at Van Meter (9-0)
West Branch (8-1) at Osage (7-2)
Alta-Aurelia at No. 2 AHSTW
Records: Alta-Aurelia 7-2, AHSTW 9-0
Postseason appearances (most recent): Alta-Aurelia 1 (Alta made 4 appearances; Aurelia made 6), AHSTW 5 (2017; AvoHa made 4; AHST made 10)
The Word: The Vikings are flying high after completing an unbeaten regular season. Senior quarterback Blake Osbahr ranks fourth in Class A in passing yards (1,738) and has the best touchdown-to-INT ratio at 27 to 3, while completing 64.9 percent. His favorite target is perhaps the top big-play threat in his class, senior Drake Partridge, who ranks second in receiving yards (858), first in yards per catch (29.6) and first in touchdowns (14). Bruising running back Gabe Pauley is a nice complement to the pass game with 1,252 rushing yards and 18 scores. In its first appearance as a consolidated school, Alta-Aurelia doesn’t possess flashy numbers. Junior Anthony Krier is the rushing leader with 797 yards and 10 scores. The Warriors average just more than seven passes per game, and have thrown for only 375 yards.
Lynnville-Sully (7-2) at Hudson (9-0)
Highland (7-2) at Durant (7-2)
Wapsie Valley (7-2) at Algona Garrigan (9-0)
BGM (8-1) at Edgewood-Colesburg (8-1)
Akron-Westfield (7-2) at Westwood (8-1)
West Hancock (7-2) at Hinton (8-1)
Alta-Aurelia (7-2) at AHSTW (9-0)
North Tama (8-1) at Mason City Newman (7-2)
Lenox at No. 5 Fremont-Mills
Records: Lenox 7-2, F-M 8-1
Postseason appearances (most recent): Lenox 16 (2017), F-M 10 (2017)
The Word: This will be the eighth time in the last nine years that western Iowa Eight-Man powers Lenox and F-M have been in the playoffs together. This, however, will be only the second time that they've met in the postseason. The Knights routed the Tigers 69-0 in the opening round two years ago on their way to the semifinals. F-M has advanced to the UNI-Dome in three of the past four seasons, and it has the talent to get there again. The Knights have won eight straight games since a season-opening loss to Exira-EHK. A potential rematch with the Spartans awaits if F-M can get past Lenox in a matchup of two of the top rushing teams in the state. They've combined for more than 5,600 yards on the ground. F-M is averaging 9.3 yards per rushing attempt and has 52 rushing TDS, both of which rank second in its class.
No. 8 Northwood-Kensett at No. 1 Ar-We-Va
Records: Northwood-Kensett 8-1, Ar-We-Va 9-0
Postseason appearances (most recent): N-K 18 (2015), Ar-We-Va 12 (2016)
The Word: Ar-We-Va’s passing attack is led by quarterback Keegan Simons, whose 26 touchdown passes are tied for fourth in Iowa Eight-Man. His main targets are Drew Schurke (46 catches, 11 TDs) and Derek Oeser (30, 16). Six Rockets have rushed for more than 150 yards, led by Schurke (581) and Simons (520). Defensively, the Rockets lead Eight-Man with 18 interceptions, five returned for touchdowns. Ar-We-Va will face a Viking defense that gave up only 19 points all year before a 36-26 loss to Rockford to end the regular season. Quarterback Logan Bejegerdes has passed only 33 times (six touchdowns) but has run for 676 yards and 13 scores. Seven Vikings have at least 15 solo tackles and 25 assists this year, led by Kyle Nichols (38 solos 57 assists, 10 sacks). The Vikings handed No. 3 Don Bosco its only loss, 18-0, on Sept. 28.
Stanton at No. 7 Exira-EHK
Records: Stanton 7-2, Exira-EHK 8-1
Postseason appearances (most recent): Stanton 15 (2017), Exira-EHK 8 (2016; EHK made 3 appearances; Exira made 1)
The Word: Stanton will try to capitalize after landing the last spot in the Eight-Man playoffs. The Vikings closed out the regular season with a 70-18 loss to Fremont-Mills, ending a six-game win streak. Quarterbacks Keygan Day and Colby Royal combined for 1799 yards and 32 TD passes. Senior Drake Johnson leads the team in rushing yards (663), receptions (41), tackles (83 solos, 60 assists) and interceptions (four). Exira opened the season with a win over Fremont-Mills but lost at Woodbine 49-45 on Oct. 5. Quarterback Josh Pettepier was injured in that game, but sophomore Tyler Petersen replaced him and led the Spartans to wins over Boyer Valley and Coon Rapids-Bayard. Cole Burmeister is the Spartans’ leading rusher (734 yards) and receiver (55 catches).
Midland (9-1) at Iowa Valley (9-0)
New London (8-1) at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-2)
Northwood-Kensett (8-1) at Ar-We-Va (9-0)
Newell-Fonda (8-1) at Southeast Warren (10-0)
Stanton (7-2) at Exira-EHK (8-1)
Lenox (7-2) at Fremont-Mills (8-1)
Rockford (8-1) at Turkey Valley (8-1)
Central City (8-1) at Don Bosco (8-1)
Southeast Polk (4-5) at Ankeny Centennial (9-0)
Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-2) at Johnston (7-2)
Ankeny (5-4) at West Des Moines Valley (9-0)
Fort Dodge (7-2) vs. West Des Moines Dowling (7-2) at DM East
Indianola (6-3) at Cedar Falls (9-0)
Urbandale (6-3) at Waukee (7-2)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-3) at Iowa City West (8-1)
Pleasant Valley (5-4) at Bettendorf (8-1)