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Week 8 Prep Football Preview

October 18, 2013
By TIMES-REPUBLICAN STAFF (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Mason City (2-5, 2-1) at Marshalltown (0-7, 0-3)

With the four-year playoff streak all but lost, the Marshalltown Bobcats are trying to avoid the program's first winless season since the mid-1980s.

With a Week 9 trip to top-ranked Dowling Catholic waiting in the wings, MHS hosts a Mason City team that's won its last two for its only wins of the season. The Mohawks have found success through the air recently as senior quarterback Matt Meyer is a combined 26-for-64 for 365 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Marshalltown has been on the wrong side of the turnover battle in recent weeks, something the 45th-ranked offense in Class 4A can't afford. The Bobcats have won the last two, and seven of the nine, in the series with Mason City.

Benton Community (2-5) at South Tama (2-5)

South Tama will have to manufacture its motivation for a non-district clash with neighboring Benton Community as the Trojans have been eliminated from playoff contention in Class 3A District 4. The visiting Bobcats will try and build up momentum for a Week 9 game against Solon that Benton desperately needs to reach the playoffs.

Fact Box

Mason City at Marshalltown, 7 p.m.

AGWSR at Lake Mills, 7 p.m.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck at Belle Plaine, 7 p.m.

GMG at BCLUW, 7 p.m.

Grandview Park Baptist at Colo-NESCO, 7 p.m.

North Tama at Grundy Center, 7 p.m.

Tri-County at Meskwaki, 7 p.m.

Benton Community at South Tama, 7:30 p.m.

Nevada at East Marshall, 7:30 p.m.

North Polk at South Hardin, 7:30 p.m.

Roland-Story at West Marshall, 7:30 p.m.

STC and Benton appear similar on paper, though the Bobcats have allowed nine more points per game than the Trojans.

Nevada (2-5, 1-3) at East Marshall (0-8, 0-4)

Hopes of halting the program's 12-game losing streak will demand that East Marshall's defense stops Class 2A's second-leading rusher. Nevada tailback Chase Dobson has gone over 200 yards four times this season, including last week's top performance of 271 as the Cubs snapped a five-game skid with a win over South Hardin.

It's the last game in Le Grand for a team that hasn't won there since last September. The Mustangs will say farewell to 11 seniors before closing the year in Week 9 at North Polk.

North Polk (6-1, 3-1) at South Hardin (1-6, 1-4)

The top two passing teams in Class 2A District 7 square off tonight in Eldora, the final home game in a resurgent season - despite the results - for a South Hardin program that failed to field a team last fall.

The Tigers are the second-leading passing team in 2A, trailing only top-ranked Kuemper Catholic, while North Polk ranks 11th in the class. South Hardin has three receivers with more than 20 catches, 300 yards and three touchdowns - Eric Mulder, Bobby Hatton and David Shindelar.

Russell Greene is North Polk's top target with 28 catches for 355 yards and four scores. But the Comets also boast a pair of 500-yard rushers in Matt Cox and Garrett Moeckly. QB Cole Jackson has completed 64 percent of his passes this season.

Roland-Story (2-5, 2-2) at West Marshall (7-0, 4-0)

All signs point to a Week 9 clash to determine Class 2A District 7 supremacy at Gilbert, so West Marshall will try to keep Roland-Story from foiling its plan of a sixth straight league title.

Josiah Soderstrum will be the Trojans' focus defensively, as Roland-Story's do-everything running back is also the top receiver for the Norse.

The Trojans boast the eighth-best defensive scoring average in 2A, allowing only 10.14 points per game. West Marshall's big-play offense has only turned the ball over six times, too.

AGWSR (8-0, 5-0) at Lake Mills (3-4, 2-3)

Its starting quarterback sidelined for the remainder, AGWSR has refused to lose nonetheless.

Junior QB Cody Williams is out after having surgery to repair a torn ACL, bringing the spotlight now to Brandon Johnson. But in true Cougar form, handing the ball off has been the best option for its quarterback. AGWSR is 10th in total offense in Class A thanks to the fifth-best rushing attack behind its bulky line. Clay Meinders has 101 carries for 635 yards and 12 TDs to lead a balanced backfield.

Lake Mills boasts a balanced attack with QB Hunter Kingland passing for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns, while tailback Josh Peters has 641 yards and eight TDs rushing. The Bulldogs are playoff hopeful but the schedule isn't favorable.

North Tama (1-6, 1-3) at Grundy Center (5-3, 4-1)

Grundy Center hosts North Tama in hopes of righting the ship that became unsettled after last Friday's decisive loss at now-ranked Gladbrook-Reinbeck. The Redhawks, meanwhile, need to close with two wins and get some help, otherwise the program's seven-year playoff streak will end.

The Spartans are playoff-bound despite a five-game winning streak getting stopped last week. They still boast the fifth-best passing attack in Class A, while defensive back Lane Bangasser shares the state's lead with five interceptions.

North Tama hasn't scored more than 19 points in any game this season. Junior QB Brody Hulme is the sixth-leading passer with 902 yards but has nine interceptions to his seven touchdowns.

GMG (4-3, 2-2) at BCLUW (3-4, 2-2)

So many playoff scenarios still exist for the third- and fourth-place teams in Class A District 4, much of them hinging on tonight's showdown in Conrad.

GMG, BCLUW and Belle Plaine are fighting for two spots, with North Tama trailing by a game and fighting to get in the mix.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck (5-2, 4-0) at Belle Plaine (3-4, 2-2)

Gladbrook-Reinbeck moved into the Class A rankings by The Associated Press on the strength of last week's 42-0 win over arch-rival Grundy Center, moving into the driver's seat in Class A District 4 in the process.

The Rebels head to Belle Plaine with a playoff berth secured for the fourth year in a row, buoyed by top-10 rankings in both offense and defense. G-R is eighth in Class A with a 34 point-per-game average, and ninth defensively at 12.14. Tailback Chase Clark leads the class with 1,353 rushing yards.

Tri-County (3-5, 2-3) at Meskwaki (3-4, 2-3)

A win tonight at home would set up a winner-take-all finale for the Meskwaki Warriors in their bid to reach the playoffs for the second time in school history, but resultant punishment from last week's win may play a factor.

A member of the Meskwaki team was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after last Friday's win at Moravia. School officials did not disclose the disciplinary action taken.

The Warriors ride a three-game win streak into tonight's clash with Tri-County, and a win would mean Meskwaki's Week 9 contest at Melcher-Dallas would determine the fourth and final playoff qualifier from 8-Man District 5.

Grandview Park Baptist (2-5, 2-3) at Colo-NESCO (2-6, 2-4)

The Royals need a win and some help to reach the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history, but the odds are long against them.

Tonight's game with Grandview Park Baptist is Colo-NESCO's regular-season finale. The Royals must win (by at least 12 points) and Mormon Trail must lose twice (by 13 points both times). Mormon Trail's Week 9 tilt at Ankeny Christian (0-7, 0-5) is the long shot.