Key district games on tap for area Eight-Man teams
With one district game already in the books for several area football teams, week two’s district matchups could go a long way in determining how the race for the four playoff positions in each district will take shape.
Murray, 1-1 for the season and 1-0 in Eight-Man District 6, hosts Ankeny Christian Academy at 7 p.m. Friday.
Ankeny Christian enters the contest with an 0-1 overall record, having lost 52-13 to Northeast Hamilton last week in a non-district game.
Much of the Eagles’ success in that game came through the air, as junior quarterback Noah Szymanski finished 12-of-31 passing for 166 yards and one touchdown.
Northeast Hamilton shut down the Ankeny Christian rushing attack, holding the Eagles to just 67 rushing yards.
Szymanski’s favorite target in the opening week loss was junior Daniel Strong, who caught six passes for 120 yards and one touchdown.
Murray comes off a 64-28 win over Mormon Trail on Friday.
So far this year, quarterback Matt Barnes is 6-of-19 passing for 139 yards, while senior Andrew Rider has led the rushing attack with 309 yards on 33 carries.
Rider has been dangerous on defense, as well. He has three interceptions and has returned two of them for touchdowns this year.
Murray won last year’s contest 90-12.
The Timberwolves of Southwest Valley face a tough test Friday when they travel to defending district champion Sidney in a battle of teams that are 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Eight-Man District 8.
Lenox is also 2-0 and 1-0 in District 8.
Sidney has done much of its damage on the ground this season, rushing for 642 yards in its two games.
Senior Chris Osborne leads the way with 325 yards on 12 carries, including five touchdowns. Junior Erick Rodriguez has 137 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries.
Sidney has only thrown the ball 12 times in two games, but has been efficient on its six completions from quarterback Michael Coates, who has 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Southwest Valley has shown an ability to balance the pass and the run in its two games.
Jordan Stuart is 10-of-17 passing for 222 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Zach Barton leads a four-headed rushing attack with 285 yards and six touchdowns. Tyler Bissell, Gunner McCuen and Stuart all have over 150 rushing yards for the season, as well.
Defensively, Southwest Valley has held its first two opponents to just 28 and 12 points, respectively.
The Lenox Tigers look to stay in a tie for first place in Eight-Man District 8 as they travel to Stanton, which is 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the district.
Stanton fell to Southwest Valley 60-12 last week.
Kyle Peterson is 8-of-23 passing for Stanton with 121 yards and two touchdowns to go with two interceptions.
Cade Confer leads the rushing attack with 84 yards on 30 carries through two games.
For Lenox, Dustin Gordon is 12-of-21 passing for 199 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
Gordon also has 96 rushing yards and five touchdowns. But the Tiger rushing attack is led by Dustyn Rauch, who has 174 yards on 22 carries with four scores.
Caleb Lange is the leading receiver with 113 yards on four catches.
The East Union Eagles draw the tough task of opening district play against Adair-Casey and powerful running back Clayton Plowman on the road.
The Bombers enter with a mark of 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Eight-Man District 6.
Plowman has 381 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 48 attempts, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Senior Traeton Jensen has run for 128 yards and four scores for the Bombers.
East Union, 1-1 overall, saw improved results with a new offensive scheme in a win over Moravia last week.
The Eagles used Brandon Wittstock as a lead-blocking back, allowing Jonathan Weis and Mike Ward to find open running lanes.
Fresh off a 44-0 win in a rivalry game last week against Nodaway Valley, the Mount Ayr Raiders return home for yet another rivalry game, this time against Bedford.
The Bulldogs lost to Central Decatur 40-6 last week.
This will mark the 80th meeting between the two teams, with Mount Ayr leading the all-time series 50-26-3.
Last week, Bedford amassed just 150 total yards of offense against Central Decatur. Quarterback Isaac Weed passed for 48 yards, while Johnathan Cox led the team with 49 rushing yards.
Mount Ayr won last year’s meeting 41-14.
Jacob Sobotka led the Raiders with 82 rushing yards and 169 passing yards in last year’s meeting, as Mount Ayr totaled 450 yards of offense in the game.
The Wolverines of Nodaway Valley will look to bounce back from a 44-0 loss to Mount Ayr a week ago, when they hit the road Friday and travel to Griswold.
The Griswold Tigers suffered a 58-24 loss to Council Bluffs St. Albert last week.
Holden Ogg threw for 200 yards on seven completions for Griswold. Kenneth Clary led the Tigers in rushing with 140 yards, while Tyler Muhlbauer added 100 and Caleb Schaaf finished with 80 rushing yards.
Nodaway Valley sophomore Jackson Lamb threw for 70 yards last week against Mount Ayr, and he also led the team with 21 rushing yards.
The Wolverines lost last year’s matchup 7-3.