Week seven of the high school football season provides several area teams a chance to make a big statement, as the season starts to wind down.
Nodaway Valley, riding a hot streak, hosts Treynor in a battle of teams with one loss apiece in Class 1A District 8. Southwest Valley, fresh off a bye week, has a non-district game against Eight-Man’s top ranked team in Exira/EHK. Meanwhile, Mount Ayr will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season in a rivalry game at Central Decatur.
Nodaway Valley enters Friday’s game against Treynor as winner of three of its last four games. Each of the past two weeks, the Wolverines have overcome halftime deficits, riding the running game to victories.
The Wolverines, 3-3 overall and 3-1 in Class 1A District 8, host Treynor (4-2, 2-1). Panorama, which owns a 10-0 win over Nodaway Valley, also has one loss in District 8. Council Bluffs St. Albert leads the district at 4-0.
“It’s a pretty big game, and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Nodaway Valley head coach Steve Shantz said about the game. “Hopefull we’ll get it done.”
The key for Nodaway Valley will be stopping the potent Treynor rushing attack, an effort spearheaded by senior Dane Livengood.
Livengood averages nearly 150 rushing yards per game, totaling 895 yards on 185 attempts, with 11 touchdowns. He averages 4.8 yards per carry.
“Last year he and (Zach) Brewer kind of went toe to toe,” Shantz said. “He’s a really good back.”
In a 36-35 loss to Nodaway Valley last year, Livengood carried the ball 24 times for 172 yards and scored on a 69-yard touchdown run. He also caught one pass — a 64-yard touchdown. Brewer carried the ball 24 times for 168 yards in that contest, scoring two touchdowns.
The two runners are very similar to one another in that they’re both quick, shifty backs.
“He’s not a huge guy,” Shantz said of Livengood. “He doesn’t look like he’s a huge kid by any means, but he’s quick, very shifty. One of those kids you have to contain him. If he gets in the open field, he can be trouble.”
Brewer is averaging 177 yards rushing per game in his five games played this year. Last week against Tri-Center, Brewer carried the ball 45 times for 302 yards, scoring five touchdowns. He’s scored 16 touchdowns in his five games.
Shantz said Brewer’s return to the Wolverine lineup after missing the opening game against Mount Ayr has been a huge asset for his team.
“He’s a great runner, a great kid,” Shantz said. “Our offensive line has come together and done some good things for him. If we can get Zach to the second level, he can do some good things. Get him into open spaces, he can make some people miss.”
The Timberwolves of Southwest Valley, 5-1 overall and 4-1 in Eight-Man District 8, come off their bye week and host Exira/EHK, ranked No. 1 in Eight-Man.
The game, for now, is essentially for bragging rights, as it has no bearing on playoff seeding.
But, it provides Southwest Valley with an opportunity to see how it stacks up against one of the best teams in the state, and a chance to make a statement. Plus, it’s a preview of a potential playoff matchup, as Exira/EHK resides in District 7, the district paired with District 8.
Exira/EHK has leaned heavily on the rushing attack of junior Drew Peppers this year. Peppers 1,144 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on 139 attempts this year, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. He also has seven passing touchdowns.
Stop Peppers, and the defense still has to worry about capable runners in senior Trey Sander and Peppers’ older brother Nick Peppers.
Sander averages 9.0 yards per carry this year, totaling 506 yards and eight touchdowns. Nick Peppers has only carried the ball 16 times this season, but averages better than 6 yards per carry.
Southwest Valley head coach Kent Bass said the bye week came at a good time for the Timberwolves, as several players had banged up knees and ankles that needed the rest.
The Mount Ayr Raiders entered last week’s showdown between undefeated teams in Van Meter ranked second in the state, but in the 800th football game in Raiders history, the team suffered its first loss of the 2013 season.
The Raiders will look to bounce back as they travel to Central Decatur for a rivalry game with the Cardinals.
Friday’s game will mark the 71st meeting between the two teams, as the Raiders own a 46-21-3 advantage in the series.
The Cardinals enter with a record of 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Class 1A District 7.
Wyman Reed is the leading rusher for the Cardinals with 508 yards on 82 carries, but missed last week’s game against Colfax-Mingo. Peyton Gilbert stepped up and filled the void, rushing for 156 yards and five touchdowns in the Central Decatur win.
Trenton Wells is also a capable rusher, totaling 379 yards for the season, including 172 yards and one score last week.
Mount Ayr’s defense still ranks second best in the state, giving up an average of 7.17 points per game, despite last week’s 14-0 loss to Van Meter.
Eight-Man District 6
East Union travels to Mormon Trail in a game vital to the Eagles’ hopes of making a playoff appearance. Both teams enter the contest with a 1-3 record in District 6.
Mormon Trail picked up a 48-16 win over Colo-Nesco last week.
The Saints feature a balanced rushing attack, led by Jakob Horton’s 557 yards and nine touchdowns. Brett Leer has 447 yards and four touchdowns, while Kelton Stansberry has 198 yards and four scores.
Murray, meanwhile, hosts Colo-Nesco for the Mustangs’ senior night.
Colo-Nesco is led by Taylor Hill’s 851 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.