Mount Ayr, St. Albert square off in quarterfinals
Three times, all in the past six years, the Mount Ayr Raiders and the Council Bluffs St. Albert Falcons have met in the football playoffs.
The combined score in those three games tilts heavily in St. Albert’s favor, 117-7, with a 35-0 margins in 2006 and 2010, and a 47-7 win last year.
But, the seventh-ranked (Associated Press) Raiders come into Friday’s Class 1A playoff meeting boasting an 11-0 record. The Falcons, ranked eighth, come in at 10-1, with its only loss coming to Class 3A quarterfinalist Lewis Central, 48-0.
St. Albert comes into the game with a potent rushing attack with four players having rushed for more than 400 yards each, and four more players having rushed for more than 100 yards. The Falcons have scored 45 touchdowns on the ground.
“The Falcons are a run-oriented offense,” Mount Ayr co-head coach Delwyn Showalter said. “They have a lot of speed and they like to get their backs to the perimeter quickly.”
Senior Cole Herr is the leading rusher on the team with 743 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging almost 7 yards per carry. Junior Jacob Bendgen has 516 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 7 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Tucker Culjat has 500 yards and 10 touchdowns, and also averages close to 7 yards per carry. Senior Isacc Finn is the home run threat, with 420 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 16 yards per carry.
But, the Raiders come in with a strong ground game, as well.
Junior quarterback Jacob Sobotka is the leading rusher with 1,366 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 8 yards per carry. Junior Erik Freed adds 430 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior Cody Stackhouse has 279 yards and three scores, while sophomore Lincoln Martin has rushed for 178 yards and three scores. Senior Zane Sickels is also over 100 yards with 154 and three touchdowns.
The Falcons do not throw the ball often, but are efficient when they do take to the air.
Culjat is 43-of-76 (56 percent) passing for the season with 596 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Sophomore Jon Meyerring has completed 13 passes for 152 yards and one score.
Meyerring is also the leading receiver with 16 catches for 159 yards. Senior Jim Hawk has added seven catches for 134 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore Cole McBride has 10 catches for 113 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Sobotka is 105-for-180 (58 percent) passing for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns, compared to just three interceptions.
Senior Braydee Poore is the leading target with 37 catches for 795 yards and nine touchdowns. Freed has 25 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
In 11 games this season, the Falcon defense is giving up an average of just 13 points per game.
Hawk is the leading tackler with 66 tackles, including a total of eight for a loss. Senior Trae Tietsort has 64 tackles and three sacks. Junior Mason Beezley and senior Jake Lewis each have 61 tackles.
Mount Ayr holds opponents to an average of 14.7 points per game. Stackhouse is the leading tackler with 92 tackles, including 10 for a loss and four sacks.
Senior Shane Swank has 74 tackles with three sacks and junior Mason Mercer has 71 tackles with 16 for a loss and six sacks.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Council Bluffs at Al Leber Field. Al Leber Field is located at 400 Gleason Avenue.