The Prairie City-Monroe football team didn’t have much trouble cruising through Class 2A District 6 competition last season.
The Mustangs outscored the rest of the league 371-22 in going unbeaten and claiming their first district title in five years.
That trend continued last week when PCM drilled Albia, 61-6. That was seven points better than last year’s win over the Blue Demons.
If the 2A No. 9 Mustangs are to continue to be dominant, they’ll have to beat a Centerville team coming off a 41-0 win over Clarke last week.
“I think Centerville is going to come in with plenty of confidence,” PCM coach Greg Bonnett said. “I think they know they have a good, quick offensive line and some playmakers that can go up and make catches when they throw the deep ball.”
Centerville opened the season with losses to 1A Central Decatur (30-10) and 1A No. 6 Pleasantville (40-7). Most of the offensive production this season came in the win over the Indians last week.
“I have always thought Centerville is a solid team year in and year out, and they were 1 of the 16 playoff teams last year,” Bonnett said. “I don’t think anybody is overlooking them, including us,”
Centerville’s spread offense is guided by two quarterbacks who share time evenly. Freshman Brady Kauzlarich is 12-of-24 for 207 yards with one touchown and one interception, and sophomore Quinton Koestner is 14-of-28 for 176 yards with two scores and one pick.
The team’s top receiver is senior Zac Kratofil, who has seven catches for 152 yards and two TDs. Sophomore McCaine Oden leads the rushing attack with 154 yards and two scores.
“They want to pass the ball to set up the run,” Bonnett said. “They are going to spread you out with empty formations and make you vacate the box to cover everybody and that is when they strike with their RB or QB running it.
“I like their scheme, and I think it presents challenges that gives our defense an opportunity to be forced to adjust and communicate throughout the game.”
While many of the offensive skill position players at Centerville are underclassmen, nine of the top 11 tacklers are seniors. Stephen Wardlow leads the Big Red’s defense with 20 1/2 tackles. Jaxson Ocker, a junior, has four interceptions.
Bonnett hopes the Mustangs’ offense can be balanced Friday night.
“Centerville always brings a physical front with blitzers all day long,” Bonnett said. “I think their defense is improved over last year as far as coverage goes. It seems like they have some perimeter players that will get after you. We are excited to play against this defense.”
The Mustang offense is led by junior quarterback Reed Worth, who has thrown for 431 yards and six touchdowns in two games.
He has connected for TDs to five different receivers, including a pair of TD catches by junior Isaac Telfer.
Junior Wes Cummings has 152 rushing yards, 107 receiving yards and three total touchdowns to highlight a balanced attack.
Juniors Cole Dustin and Jarron Trausch headline the defense. Dustin has 12 1/2 tackles and four tackles for loss and Trausch has 11 tackles and four tackles for loss.
The PCM-Centerville game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Monroe.
Colfax-Mingo (1-3, 0-1) at Belle Plaine (2-1, 1-0), 7 p.m.
Two South Iowa Cedar League foes will battle this week in a Class A District 5 football contest. The last time Colfax-Mingo and Belle Plaine played another SICL team, both were in wins over North Mahaska.
The Tigerhawks and Plainsmen appear to be pretty even on paper. Colfax-Mingo defeated North Mahaska 50-22 one week after Belle Plaine knocked off the Warhawks 49-14.
Belle Plaine has rushed for 826 yards in three games this season but 379 of those came in last week’s win over winless Grand View Christian.
The Tigerhawks’ No. 1 concern on defense is slowing down dual-threat quarterback Garrett Straight, who has thrown for 162 yards and rushed for 199 yards. Straight has three passing TDs and five rushing TDs.
Tanner Meeks has 263 rushing yards and Travin Straight has totaled 208 rushing yards.
Belle Plaine’s defense is led by Brandon Van Nevel, who has 21 1/2 tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Tigerhawks have done most of their damage in the air this season.
Senior Reegan Van Dyke has thrown for 511 yards and six scores while also rushing for 136 yards and a TD.
Van Dyke’s top two targets have been senior Alex Lewis (14 catches, 197 yards and three scores) and junior Zarek Hill (11 catches, 127 yards and a TD).
The Tigerhawk defense has seven interceptions, three sacks and four fumble recoveries. Leading the defense is senior Jake Dunsbergen, who has 23 1/2 tackles.
Baxter (2-1) at East Union (3-0), 7 p.m.
This 8-man football game should be contrasting styles as Baxter’s passing game will try to outscore an East Union squad which does most of its damage on the ground.
Baxter senior Braydon Aker ranks second in 8-man with 662 passing yards and is tied for second with 12 touchdown passes. He’s also rushed for 120 yards and three scores.
Aker will need to have another big game as the Bolts face an East Union team who has outscored its first three opponents 144-26. Two of East Union’s three games were shutouts.
The Eagles are led by running back Matthew Wittstock, who has 331 rushing yards and four TDs on the season. Wittstock is averaging 5.7 yards per rush, and he also has a kick return touchdown.
Five of East Union’s top seven tacklers are seniors. The Eagles have three interceptions, seven sacks and a defensive TD on the season.
Aker will look to challenge East Union with skilled receivers on the outside.
Senior Travis Lindemoen ranks fourth in the state with 358 receiving yards and ranks third with six touchdowns. Sophomore Cole Damman also has 13 catches for 147 yards and five scores.
A trio of seniors lead the Bolts’ defense. Marcus Mitchell has 18 tackles and three tackles for loss, Jusson Roush has 17 tackles and three tackles for loss and Aker sits at 14 tackles and one sack.
The Bolts will likely be without starting linemen Will Clapper, Bryce Bacon and Brandon Hammer another week because of injuries.
Lynnville-Sully (3-0, 1-0) at Cardinal (1-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
Lynnville-Sully has allowed 38 points in three games this season. Cardinal has scored just 36 points in its three games.
Cardinal is led by quarterback Trey Albert, who has thrown for 217 yards and four TDs. Cardinal has rushed for 321 yards.
The Hawks, who defeated Cardinal 53-0 last season, is as balanced in the running game as any team in the state can be. Four players have gained at least 100 yards on the ground, and Lynnville-Sully has 714 rushing yards total.
Senior Sage Zylstra leads the Hawks on both sides of the ball. He has 184 rushing yards and two scores on offense and has 20 tackles, seven tackles for loss and a sack on defense.
Junior Nate Stock has three rushing TDs and junior Gage Vander Leest has two rushing touchdowns, 20 tackles and a punt return touchdown.
The Hawk defense has eight sacks, two interceptions and seven fumble recoveries this season.