Week 5 Prep Football Preview

Marshalltown (0-4) at Ottumwa (2-2)

The Marshalltown football team will have to stop the run if it wants to ruin Ottumwa’s Homecoming celebration tonight in the Class 4A Division 3 opener for both teams.

The host Bulldogs have been held below 250 yards rushing only once this season, and that was in last week’s loss to a rated Indianola squad. Sophomore Isaiah Cox is 10th in 4A with 533 yards rushing, and Ottumwa stands 11th.

Marshalltown’s offensive woes have the Bobcats ranked 46th out of 48 teams in total yardage, ahead of only Burlington and Des Moines North.

MHS is trying to avoid its first 0-5 start since 1988.

South Tama (1-3, 0-2) at Saydel (1-3, 0-2)

The STC Trojans journey to Des Moines in search of their first Class 3A District 4 victory against a Saydel squad with a matching record.

Saydel has scored 46 points or more twice this season, but only once came away with a win. The Eagles are led by junior running back Clayton Sommers, who ranks 13th in 3A with 426 rushing yards.

South Tama has passed for more yards than it has run for so far this season, with junior QB Dalton Doyle completing 41-of-78 attempts for 632 yards but only two touchdowns.

North Polk (4-0, 2-0) at West Marshall (4-0, 1-0)

A ranked battle ensues tonight in State Center as Class 2A No. 9 North Polk and No. 4 West Marshall clash in a contest between unbeaten District 7 teams.

West Marshall has been nearly dominant this season, with its defense delivering two shutouts and allowing an average of just 9 points per game. Sophomore Jared Johnson ranks 10th in 2A with 49 tackles, including five quarterback sacks.

The Trojan offense is driven by the ground game once again, putting up 42 points per game behind the dual threat of backs Duncan Ferch and Devin Chesler. Ferch ranks second in 2A with 753 rushing yards and a Class-high 11 touchdowns, while Chesler has 431 yards and seven scores. The duo is averaging just shy of 11 yards per carry.

North Polk’s four victories have come by an average margin of just 7.25 points. Senior QB Cole Jackson is an efficient 36-for-61 passing for 463 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception.

East Marshall (0-5, 0-1) at Roland-Story (1-3, 1-1)

Fresh off its first win, Roland-Story hosts the only 0-5 team in Class 2A as East Marshall visits Story City for a District 7 showdown.

East Marshall is one of eight winless teams in 2A, hindered primarily by a defense giving up 43.8 points per game. The Mustangs are led by senior tailback Zach Rubenbauer, who has gained 423 yards rushing.

Josiah Soderstrum is Roland-Story’s top rusher and receiver, netting 365 total yards from scrimmage.

South Hardin (1-3, 1-1) at Gilbert (2-2, 1-1)

Gilbert nearly knocked off a rated North Polk team last week, falling in a seven-point Class 2A District 7 clash, while South Hardin’s bid for a 2-0 start in league play was stopped by Roland-Story.

South Hardin boasts the top passing offense in 2A, led by junior QB Sam Shindelar. He’s 60-for-109 for 986 yards with nine touchdowns but seven interceptions. Eric Mulder is the ninth leading receiver with 298 yards on 20 catches.

Quarterback Jared Gescheidler is one of the district’s top offensive talents. He’s thrown for 478 yards and leads the Tigers with 413 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

SE Webster-Grand (1-3, 0-2) at AGWSR (5-0, 2-0)

Class A’s fourth-ranked AGWSR Cougars start the second half of their schedule with a Homecoming game against Southeast Webster-Grand. Last week’s 6-0 District 2 win over then-ranked Bishop Garrigan in Algona was a statement victory.

AGWSR is out to the best start in shared school history, driven by a rough-and-tumble rushing attack and relentless defense. The Cougars are allowing just 4 points per game and have the second-most rushing yards in all of Class A. More than 90 percent of AGWSR’s offensive yards have come on the ground thanks to a stable of backs.

Tristan Ewing is Southeast Webster-Grand’s go-to performer on offense, as he has 96 carries for 542 yards and six of the team’s nine touchdowns.

BCLUW (1-3, 0-1) at North Tama (1-4, 1-1)

North Tama’s first win of the season came last week, putting the Redhawks into the top half of the Class A District 4 standings after an 0-4 start to the season. BCLUW, meanwhile, has scored just six points since putting 42 on East Marshall in a season-opening triumph.

The Comets’ schedule has been a brutal one, with losses to teams with a combined 12-2 record over the last three weeks. QB Conner Ubben and BCLUW’s passing attack will look to turn things around against another pass-happy offense.

North Tama has the third-leading passing attack with 645 yards coming through the air. Brody Hulme (50-for-91, 645 yards) and Ubben (36-for-77, 534) both rank in the top seven in passing in Class A, though interceptions have been a problem for both.

GMG (3-2, 1-1) at Belle Plaine (1-3, 0-1)

GMG comes off a crushing Class A District 4 defeat to Grundy Center for a road trip to Belle Plaine, whose last loss also was to those Spartans.

Belle Plaine lost 40-8 prior to a bye week last Friday, while GMG was defeated 47-10 at home. The Plainsmen have lost three straight overall since an opening 21-14, Week Zero victory over North Mahaska. Belle Plaine’s offense ranks 61st out of 63 teams in Class A, scoring just 7.3 points per game.

GMG’s dual threat in the backfield features Austin Vaughn (412 yards, 2 TDs rushing) and Brock Fisher (370 yards, 7 TDs), while Bryce Newcomb has 13 receptions for 230 yards to lead the Wolverines’ passing attack.

Iowa Valley (1-4, 0-2) at Grundy Center (3-2, 2-0)

Grundy Center can take the lead in Class A District 4 with a fourth straight win, hosting Iowa Valley for Homecoming in Spartan Country.

The Spartans have outscored their opponents 117-34 during their current run. Grundy Center is averaging 26 points per game overall. Junior QB Brock Rohler has thrown for 500 yards and seven touchdowns against only two interceptions, while running backs Jordan Clapp and Bryce Moats have both eclipsed 400 yards so far.

Meskwaki (0-4, 0-3) at Seymour (0-4, 0-2)

A pair of winless teams lock horns in search of their first win this season in 8-Man District 5 play.

Seymour ranks 61st offensively (12 ppg) and 62nd defensively (65 ppg), while the visiting Warriors are 54th and 57th, respectively. Meskwaki, whose statistics have not been updated through a Week 4 loss to Twin Cedars, should have the upper hand offensively.

Colo-NESCO (2-3, 2-1) at Lamoni (4-1, 1-1)

It would be hard to top last year’s shootout, but Lamoni and Colo-NESCO have both shown the firepower to mimic last year’s 80-58 Royals victory in 8-Man District 6 action.

Lamoni is the fourth-highest scoring team in 8-man football, tallying 62.8 points per game thus far.

Colo-NESCO’s offense has centered around QB Taylor Hill, who has rushed for 601 yards and thrown for another 102. He also has a pick-six to lead the defense.