Week six of the high school football season could turn out to be one of the most important weeks of the season for Nodaway Valley, Lenox and East Union.
All three teams are harboring hopes of making the postseason, and a win in week six would make those dreams one step closer to coming true.
Nodaway Valley, which scored 35 points in the fourth quarter last week to defeat West Central Valley and improve to 2-1 in Class 1A District 8, travels to Tri-Center, Neola to take on the 1-4, 0-2 Trojans.
A win for the Wolverines would guarantee them of at least tying for fourth place in District 8, and would give Nodaway Valley head-to-head tiebreakers over Missouri Valley, West Central Valley and Tri-Center.
But the Wolverines will have to shut down the run-heavy Trojans in order to accomplish that. Tri-Center has thrown for just 196 yards in five games, but is averaging 283 rushing yards per contest.
Ben Wellman leads the Trojans with 754 yards on 127 carries. He has punched the ball into the end zone nine times, with a long touchdown run of 78 yards.
Nodaway Valley senior Zach Brewer continued his hot streak last week with 159 yards and four touchdowns rushing. He is averaging 146 rushing yards per game through four games this year after sitting out the opener against Mount Ayr.
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Lamb was efficient last week, passing 7-of-12 for 140 yards and two touchdowns, spreading the ball around amongst four different receivers.
The Lenox Tigers, at 4-2 overall and 3-2 in Eight-Man District 8, will look to bounce back from last week’s 47-16 loss to Southwest Valley.
The Tigers host 2-4, 2-2 CAM in a critical game for district positioning. Including the game against CAM, the Tigers have just two district contests remaining, with the other coming at Fremont-Mills to close the season.
A win by Lenox guarantees the Tigers of at least tying for fourth place in District 8, and would give them head-to-head tiebreakers over CAM, Essex/South Page, Stanton and Nishnabotna.
With a loss, the Tigers would have to beat Fremont-Mills to give themselves a shot at the playoffs.
Junior quarterback Trace Ticknor makes the CAM offense tick. He’s thrown the ball for 870 yards and eight touchdowns and has a team-high 488 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns this year. Dylan Amdor also provides a threat out of the backfield, with 396 rushing yards and six scores.
Lenox came out of last week’s game with Southwest Valley banged up, as quarterback Dustin Gordon was nursing an ankle injury and running back Hugo Montiel left the game in the first half with a leg injury.
Southwest Valley, currently sitting third in District 8, has a bye week this week before hosting Exira/EHK next week in non-district action.
For East Union, 2-4 overall and 1-2 in Eight-Man District 6, a win at home over 5-1, 2-1 Lamoni would create a logjam in the district.
If East Union wins, as many as four teams could have two district losses at the end of Friday’s slate of games. An East Union win also keeps the Eagles right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Lamoni features a triple threat out of the backfield with seniors Daniel Ansong and Beau Bjorland and junior Colton Ranney.
Ansong leads the Demons with 439 rushing yards, while Ranney has 303 yards and seven touchdowns. Bjorland has 298 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Jacob Williams also has seven rushing touchdowns, while Darin Martin has added five rushing scores.
Bjorland has completed 50 percent of his passes this year for 586 yards and 12 touchdowns, compared to just three interceptions.
East Union features a balanced rushing attack of its own, with Trevor Barnett, Mike Ward and Jonathan Weis.
Murray, also in District 6, takes the week off from district play as the Mustangs, 4-2 overall and 3-1 in district play, travel to Moravia to take on the 0-6, 0-4 Mohawks.