The Baxter football team will play its first-ever 8-man home game at 7 p.m. Friday against English Valleys.
But it won’t be a normal game.
Channel 5’s local “Blitz” show will be in town for plenty of festivities leading up to the game. And the Bolts will be without their best player and another starting linemen.
“This day will be good for us,” Baxter coach Rob Luther said. “It helps put the Baxter Bolts on the map. It shows that we are doing OK with this 8-man thing. We are still here. They’ll be a lot of people there. We just have to pace ourselves because it will be a long day.”
The festivities for the Blitz program starts with live broadcasts from the football field from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
There will be plenty of festivities in the evening leading up to the game as well. But the Bolts will have to play English Valleys (2-1) without junior linemen Will Clapper and Brandon Hammer.
Clapper injured his knee in last week’s loss to No. 4 Remsen-St. Mary’s. An X-Ray Tuesday showed a partial tear to his meniscus. Luther expects him to miss around three weeks.
Hammer suffered an eye injury last week and the Bolts (1-1) already were without senior Bryce Bacon, who broke his collar bone in preseason camp. Bacon is expected to miss two more games.
“We have some playmakers, but we are thin up front,” Luther said. “It’s really tough to lose the best player on the field. Right now, we are just trying to get as many reps to the young guys as we can. And we’ll try to get the ball in space the best we can.”
The good news for Baxter is that senior Jusson Roush is now on the team after not playing at all in Week 1 against West Central. He should be up to speed this week, but the coaching staff has moved him to center to compensate for the injuries.
“Roush has never snapped a ball before, but we are working on it as best we can,” Luther said. “We moved Andrew Esqueda to guard, too. So we’ll have a new center, a new guard and a freshman guard in Micah Kearns.”
The changes on the line will affect what plays Luther calls. Expect him to dial up several pass plays where his talented skill guys can get the ball in space.
Defensively, the No. 1 priority will be slowing down junior Cooper Andreassen. Andreassen leads the team in rushing (304 yards and two TDs) and tackles (39 1/2) and he also has five catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and has six tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery.
“On offense, he likes to get to the edge,” Luther said. “We need to keep inside the tackles. If he gets outside, he will score because he’s faster than anyone on our team.”
Luther said the coaching staff moved quarterback Braydon Aker to defensive end to help with setting the edge. And Roush will play linebacker.
English Valleys blew out Tri-County 42-0 in a Week 0 game. The Bears lost 32-20 to Melcher-Dallas and defeated Twin Cedars 48-46 last week.
Cael Hester is the quarterback. He’s thrown for 311 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 113 yards and seven scores. He’s hooked up with five different receivers and four of them have caught TD passes.
In two games this season, Aker has thrown for 365 yards, six touchdowns and three picks. Senior Devin Carson has 94 rushing yards and three scores, and senior Travis Lindemoen leads the receivers with 150 yards and two scores on seven catches.
Kickoff for the non-district 8-man game is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be shown on the Cube.
No. 9 PCM (1-1) at Albia (0-3)
The Mustangs return to action after being handed a forfeit win by Montezuma in Week 2.
PCM cracked the Class 2A rankings without playing a game on the field. The Mustangs open 2A District 6 play on the road against winless Albia. The Blue Demons have been outscored 154-14 in their first three games.
In their three losses, Albia has allowed at least 200 rushing yards in each game. In a 64-7 loss to Washington, Albia allowed seven sacks and 361 rushing yards.
Albia also allowed five sacks and 278 rushing yards to a Pella Christian team PCM nearly knocked off in the season’s opening week.
Albia senior Cade Crall has thrown for 313 yards and a touchdown and he also has a rushing TD. The Blue Demons have rushed for just 79 yards in three games.
The Blue Demons’ best player is Tyler Stringfellow. He leads the receivers with 12 catches,185 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Stringfellow has 14 1/2 tackles and an interception.
North Mahaska (0-3) at No. 8 Lynnville-Sully (2-0)
While the Hawks have allowed just 24 points in their first two games, North Mahaska has surrendered at least 36 points in all three of its losses.
Lynnville-Sully’s balanced rushing attack has produced 461 yards and eight rushing TDs in two games. The Hawks could have continued success against a Warhawk team which allowed at least 230 yards in its first games.
In last week’s loss to Colfax-Mingo, North Mahaska’s defense allowed 154 rushing yards and 195 passing yards.
The Hawks’ top priority in their Class A District 6 opener will be to slow down Luke Groves, who has gained 480 yards and four rushing TDs in North Mahaska’s first three games.
Ben Sherburne has thrown for about 100 yards per game but also has six interceptions. Colfax-Mingo picked off the Warhawk quarterback four times last week.
Senior Sage Zylstra leads a balanced Lynnville-Sully team. Offensively, Zylstra and junior Evan Squires each have 126 rushing yards and one TD on 20 attempts. Zylstra leads the defense with 18 tackle, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Junior Nate Stock has 88 rushing yards and two scores on offense and 11 tackles and two sacks on defense.
Colfax-Mingo (1-2) at Hudson (2-0)
The Tigerhawks broke a two-game losing streak with a blowout win over North Mahaska last week. They’ll try to make it two straight wins Friday against a Hudson squad that continues to get votes in the Associated Press poll.
Hudson enters the game just outside the top 10 in Class A after dominating its first two opponents. Hudson defeated 2A East Marshall 48-6 and then shut out Nashua-Plainfield 32-0 last week.
The Pirates are about as balanced offensively as a team can be. Junior Jacob Murray has thrown for 316 yards on just 14 completions. The team also has rushed for 459 yards, led by 232 from junior Christian Seres and 164 from senior Cameron Fulcher.
Murray has connected with seven different receivers, but only three have more than one catch. Zach Buzynski has two TD receptions on his four catches.
Hudson’s defense is led by senior Dawson Ellingson, who has 13 1/2 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks. The defense has combined for nine sacks, 17 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Colfax-Mingo’s Reegan Van Dyke got the TIgerhawks out of their losing streak with five total touchdowns. He has 396 passing yards and six TDs in first three games. He’s also rushed for 144 yards and a TD.
Like Murray, Van Dyke also has found seven different targets but senior Alex Lewis leads the way with 11 catches for 177 yards and three scores.
The TIgerhawk defense has seven picks (Brady Berkey and Van Dyke have two each) and three sacks (Nick Barnes has two). Senior Jake Dunsbergen leads the defense with 21 1/2 tackles and a pick.