Opening Round Playoff Capsules
Blayze Griffis throws against Regina. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx. Class 4A No. 10 City High (7-2) at North Scott (5-4)
Where: Lancer Stadium in Eldridge, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Did not play
Player to Watch: North Scott junior running back Jared Rus (6-2, 200) has rushed for 995 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Key Stat: City High leads Class 4A with 15 interceptions and has returned three for touchdowns.
About North Scott: After starting the season 1-4 North Scott rattled off four straight wins to claim the District 6 title and reach the playoffs for the ninth straight season. The Lancers rank eighth in Class 4A in total offense, averaging 381 yards per game but their late-season turnaround has been spurred by defense.
After allowing 337 yards and 30 points per game during a 1-4 start to the season, North Scott is giving up 255 yards and 16.5 points per game during its current four-game winning streak. The Lancers forced two turnovers in the first five games this season but have come up with eight takeaways during its winning streak.
North Scott senior quarterback Sam Stonskas (5-8, 155) has completed 64 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. Nearly 70 percent of the Lancers’ completions have gone to Nathan Wilkerson and Cole Rollinger who each have 41 receptions for a combined 1,092 yards.
About City High: The Little Hawks bounced back from a disappointing 44-7 loss to No. 5 Bettendorf in week eight with a 55-20 win over one-win Davenport North in the regular season finale. City High is making its second straight playoff appearance after a rare postseason miss in 2014 and is coming off a quarterfinal appearance a year ago.
Before the loss to Bettendorf the Little Hawks had scored at least 36 points in three straight games and enter the playoffs averaging 32 points per game.
Senior quarterback Nate Wieland will make the first playoff start of his career on Friday after missing last year’s postseason with an injury. The Northern Illinois recruit has passed for 1,261 yards and five touchdowns this season and rushed for 595 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior tailback Bryce Frantz leads City High with 691 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
West High (7-2) at Class 4A No. 5 Bettendorf (7-2)
Where: TouVelle Stadium in Bettendorf, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Bettendorf 48, West High 20; Bettendorf 43, West High 18 (4A second round)
Player to Watch: Bettendorf senior quarterback J Michael Young (6-4, 185) has passed for 982 yards and nine touchdowns and run for 690 yards and eight scores.
Key Stat: In two meetings, last season Bettendorf held a 507 to 152 advantage in rushing yards over West High.
About Bettendorf: The Bulldogs have won seven straight after a 1-2 start to the season that featured losses to top-ranked West Des Moines Valley and No. 4 Cedar Rapids Washington. Bettendorf won the District 7 title with a 44-7 win over City High in week eight to secure its19th straight playoff appearance.
The Bulldogs average 36 points and 390 yards of total offense per game but is the Bettendorf defense that has been most impressive this season. The Bulldogs are holding opponents to 15 points and 230 total yards per game and have allowed more than 265 yards in a game just twice.
Bettendorf has been especially stingy against the run, holding five straight opponents under 100 yards rushing and allowing 100 yards per game on the ground this season.
About West High: The Trojans ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak to secure the runner-up spot in District 8 and qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight season. West High averaged 49 points and 363 total yards over the final four weeks of the regular season, scoring 50 points or more in three of its final four games.
After giving up 59 points in back-to-back losses to City High and Cedar Rapids Prairie the Trojans allowed 38 total points in their final four games.
Junior Evan Flitz returned from a knee injury that caused him to miss two games to complete 21-of-26 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns in the final two games of the regular season. Flitz leads a West High offense that features two of the top playmakers in the state in senior Devontae Lane and Oliver Martin. Lane has rushed for 562 yards and nine touchdowns and Martin leads the state with 59 receptions and 907 receiving yards.
West Branch (6-3) at Class 1A No. 1 Regina (8-1)
Where: Regal Field, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Regina 35, West Branch 28 (Class 1A quarterfinals)
Player to Watch: Reinga senior defensive lineman Jared Brinkman (6-2, 270) leads Regina in tackles (51) tackles for loss (5) and sacks (5).
Key Stat: West Branch senior Luke Lenoch has scored 15 rushing touchdowns in his last four games and 29 this season. Regina has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns all year.
About West Branch: An overtime loss to Clayton Ridge in the regular season prevented West Branch from securing the runner-up spot in District 3 but the Bears received one of two at-large playoff spots to return to the postseason for the ninth straight season.
Lenoch ranks fourth with in Class 1A with 1,722 rushing yards and needs 94 yards to reach 6,000 for his career. Senior Cooper Kabela will make his fifth straight start at quarterback after taking over for injured regulars Beau Cornwell and Brandon Rummelhart. Kabela has passed for 249 yards and three touchdowns in four starts and added 145 rushing yards.
About Regina: The Regals ran their winning streak to eight with a 43-7 win over Louisa-Muscatine last week. Regina has scored at least 34 points in every game during its current win streak and ranks seventh in Class 1A averaging just under 42 points per game this season.
The Regals rank fifth in 1A in total offense averaging 412 yards per game and have rolled up more than 425 yards five times in their last eight games. Junior quarterback Michael Conlon leads the Regina offense completing 72 percent of his passes while throwing for 847 yards and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Conlon has also rushed for 465 yards and eight touchdowns while juniors Jake Phillips and Isaac Vollstedt have combined for 1,049 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
Regina has held three straight opponents to single digits and is allowing 12 points and 222 total yards per game this season.
Benton Community (7-2) at Class 3A No. 7 Solon (8-1)
Where: Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m.
Last Season: Did not play.
Player to Watch: Benton Community junior running back Maurice Williams (5-8, 200) has rushed for 1,223 yards and 14 touchdowns and leads the Bobcats with 62 tackles.
Key Stat: During its current seven-game winning streak Solon has forced 21 turnovers and is +14 in turnover margin.
About Benton Community: The Bobcats are making their second straight playoff appearance after not appearing in the postseason since 2008. Benton Community has lost eight straight playoff games, including a 41-3 loss to West Delaware last season, and hasn’t won in the postseason since 1980.
Benton Community has won six straight since a 1-2 start to the season that included back-to-back losses to Marion and Cedar Rapids Xavier. Four of the wins during the Bobcats’ current six-game winning streak have come by a touchdown or less including three wins by three points or fewer.
The Bobcats have been balanced on offense, averaging 223 rushing yards and 135 passing yards. Junior quarterback Spencer Touro has completed 55 percent of his passes and thrown for 932 yards and seven touchdowns.
About Solon: The Spartans enter the postseason riding a seven-game winning streak after strolling through District 5 play unbeaten while outscoring opponents 290-39. Solon is holding opponents to 227 total yards and 10.4 points per game on the season and has limited teams to 5.6 points and 173 total yards during district play.
Since being shut out by Regina in week two, Solon has scored at least 26 points in every game and is averaging better than 35 points per game on the season.
Senior Blayze Griffis has passed for 1,368 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Three Spartans have more than 15 receptions, led by senior tight end Jacob Coons who has caught 23 passes for 394 yard and four touchdowns. Junior Kendrick Harris leads Solon with 790 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.