Jake Phillips runs against Solon. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
If you are being precise the halfway point of the high school season came at halftime of week five contests.
The unofficial and slightly less exact second half of the season begins this week and with district races heating up every game can be an elimination game.
Here are six things to keep an eye on in area games during week 6.
Who gets the call at West High?
West High coach Garrett Hartwig named junior Evan Flitz starting quarterback late in fall camp after a battle with classmate Ethan Postler for the job.
Since that time Hartwig and Flitz have both been adamant that West High (3-2) has two game-ready, varsity quarterbacks.
The Trojans may need to prove that on Friday against Burlington (2-3).
Flitz has thrown for 892 yards and eight touchdowns this season but left Friday’s game with Cedar Rapids Prairie in the second half with an injury.
Hartwig said Flitz is day-to-day but expects Postler to be ready in the event Flitz isn’t available against the Grayhounds.
The 6-5, 170-pound Postler completed 2-of-7 passes for 32 yards with an interception in relief of Flitz last week against Prairie.
“I’ve said all season we have two varsity quarterbacks,” Hartwig said. “Whoever takes the snaps Friday night will be ready to go.”
Unbeaten and unmatched
Clear Creek Amana has been one of the biggest surprises in Class 3A this season starting 5-0 for the first time since 1999 and jumping to No. 10 in the Associated Press rankings.
Another surprise on Friday would put the Clippers in uncharted territory.
A win over unbeaten and fifth-ranked West Delaware (5-0) on Friday would give Clear Creek Amana the first 6-0 start in program history.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to be 5-0 at this point,” Clear Creek Amana coach Matt Hughes said. “The kids have done what we’ve needed them to do and I’m really proud of them for putting themselves in this position.”
No district titles will be clinched this week and no postseason berths will be secured but a pair of area teams can take a big step toward doing both with a win this week.
1A top-ranked Regina (4-1) hosts No. 8 Wilton (5-0) in a matchup of 1A District 4 unbeaten teams while 3A No. 10 Clear Creek Amana hosts No. 5 West Delaware (5-0) in a battle of the lone remaining undefeated teams in 3A, District 4.
“You are starting to realize that’s it over halfway done and a lot of these teams are only going to have four games left with the new playoffs,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “With the new format every game you play at this point is a playoff game.”
Fans knew Devontae Lane was one of the best receivers in the state after watching the West High standout catch 49 passes for 810 yards and six touchdowns last season.
West High coaches knew Lane was as impressive running the football as he was catching it.
Everyone else got a chance to see that last week against Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Lane rushed for 215 yards on just 15 carries in his first career start at tailback last week in replace of injured West High running backs Matthew Huff and Andre White.
“We knew he was as good as is he is at running back but he’s also a talented receiver,” Hartwig said. “It was just a matter of time before he had an opportunity to run the ball and it was just the circumstances that caused it to work out. We weren’t surprised he was able to do that he’s obviously a special athlete.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Lane had touchdown runs for 82 and six yards while averaging better than 14 yards per carry last week.
Chasing 1,000, again
West Branch senior Luke Lenoch enters Friday’s home game with Durant (1-4) 77 yards shy of his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Lenoch surpassed the 5,000-yard mark for his career last week and enters Friday ninth in the state in rushing with 923 yards and has run for 14 touchdowns.
If Lenoch reaches 1,000 yards on Friday it will the second time he eclipsed the mark in the sixth game of the season.
Last year Lenoch cracked the 1,000-yard plateau in the seventh game of the season with 211 yards in a win over Wapello.
City High (4-1) has spent enough time away from Frank Bates Field this month to need a travel agent.
The Little Hawks will play their third straight road game on Friday at Davenport Central (3-2) and haven’t played at home since Sept. 9.
City High started its travel-heavy September with a win at Pleasant Valley.
Following a home loss to Ames and a win at cross-town rival West High the Little Hawks end the month with consecutive trips to Clinton and Davenport Central.
The travel hasn’t slowed Class 4A sixth-ranked City High.
City High is 3-0 on the road this season outscoring opponents 88-52 and is 7-2 in its last nine road games dating back to last season.