5 Things to Watch in the Football Quarterfinals
By Ryan Murken Your Prep Sports
The calendar turning to November in Iowa means it’s time for indoor football.
Spots in the UNI-Dome and the state semifinals are up for grabs in all six classes on Friday night.
With four area teams fighting for spots in the semifinals in three different classes here are five things to watch in Friday’s quarterfinals.
If you’re a fan of high-scoring games or looking for a shootout Spartan Stadium isn’t the place for you on Friday night.
Seventh-ranked Solon (9-1) and No. 2 Pella (10-0) bring two of the top defenses in Class 3A into Friday’s quarterfinal tilt.
Solon is allowing 10.8 points and 231 yards per game on the season and hasn’t allowed more than 15 points in a game during its current eight-game winning streak.
Pella has been even more stingy, holding opponents to 5.6 points and 174 total yards per game.
The Dutch have posted five shutouts and haven’t allowed more than 14 points in a game this season.
Something has to give in Friday’s 4A rematch between Cedar Rapids Prairie and West High.
West High (8-2) is allowing just 151 rushing yards per game while No. 6 Prairie (9-1) leads Class 4A in rushing yards averaging 334 yards per game.
Prairie was the only team to rush for more than 185 yards against West High this season, rolling up 349 yards on the ground in a 39-20 win over the Trojans on September 23.
Since the regular season loss to Prairie the Trojans allowed just 113 rushing yards per game in five consecutive wins while Prairie has rushed for 400 yards or more twice and is averaging 362 rushing yards in its last five games.
Top-ranked and six-time defending champion Regina (9-1) hosts No. 2 Pella Christian (10-0) in a highly anticipated 1A quarterfinal on Friday.
The marquee matchup in the battle of the top two teams is a Pella Christian offense that ranks among the best in 1A against a Regina defense that has been the gold standard in 1A.
However, keep an eye on the Regina offense and the Pella defense.
Regina ranks fourth in Class 1A averaging 417 total yards per game and ranks fifth in scoring at 42.5 points per game.
Meanwhile, Pella Christian is holding opponents to 8 points and 179 total yards per game.
Returning the Favor
Few plays turn momentum quicker than a defensive or special teams touchdown.
And few teams have been better at coming up those plays the past few seasons than Cedar Rapids Washington.
Fourth-ranked Washington (9-1) has nine touchdowns on defense and special teams entering Friday’s Class 4A quarterfinal matchup with City High (8-2) and has scored 29 non-offensive touchdowns over the past three seasons.
The Little Hawks have had their own success scoring points on defense and special teams.
City High has four defensive scores and scored five touchdowns on special teams after Zach Jones returned a punt 89 yards last week in an opening round win over North Scott.
Last year Cedar Rapids Washington scored two defensive touchdowns in a 39-20 win at City High.
In a relatively even matchup special teams and defensive scores would be game changers on Friday.
Big play Brady
The Regina defense will get one of its biggest tests of the season on Friday from the high-flying passing attack of Pella Christian.
Regina senior defensive back Brady Bigley could be key in helping to ground the Eagles’ aerial attack.
Bigley has an interception in four straight games and is tied for the team lead with six picks this season despite missing two games with a shoulder injury.
The senior has returned three of his six interceptions for touchdowns including a 22-yard pick-six last week against West Branch.