Prairie City-Monroe football coach Greg Bonnett knows the importance of being tested on the gridiron. Getting “punched in the mouth” and then punching back can go a long ways in whether or not the Mustangs can reach their full potential.
Unfortunately for PCM, for the second straight season, opponents in Class 2A District 6 haven’t provided much resistance. Bonnett hopes that changes this week against Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.
“It would be nice to have games that went the distance,” Bonnett said. “I am concerned about it. There are going to be teams that we face that they’ve played all four quarters, or three at least, in each game. Since the Pella Christian game, our starters have only played seven halves. We just have to find a way to overcome that because like it or not, that might be the situation that we are in.”
PCM’s starters have not played a full game since the 24-22 Week 1 loss to the Class 1A No. 3 Eagles. The 2A No. 7 Mustangs (5-1 overall, 4-0 in district play) have outscored district opponents 232-40 this season.
PCM held a 371-22 advantage last season and have won 12 straight district games dating back to the final regular season game in 2015.
“Just because you are playing a team that hasn’t had a lot of success, that doesn’t mean you can play down to their level. You are still expected to execute on every play,” Bonnett said. “If that means you score 40 or 50 points in the first half, then that’s what that means. Then we put the backups in and go from there. That’s what we focus on, and that’s why we haven’t had any letdowns.”
EBF (3-4, 2-2) comes into the game with an offense averaging only 19 points per game, but the Rocket defense is holding opponents to 17 points per contest. They have lost their last two games to Albia (8-7) and Central Lee (16-14) by a total of three points.
“Offensively, they’ll do anything from two back to five wide,” Bonnett said. “The quarterback is a really good football player. They want to throw it if they can and run option.
Defensively, they have two down linemen, two stand up rush ends and they move the linebackers all over the place and blitz. It’s like a 4-3 that flexes out to a 4-1 against a spread team.”
The Rocket quarterback is junior Trey Moore. He comes into the game with 921 passing yards, which ranks 15th in Class 2A. He’s gained 478 yards on the ground and scored six touchdowns. Moore has thrown eight touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
Moore’s favorite target is junior Wyatt Klynn, who has 26 catches for 436 yards and six TDs on the season. Klynn has three interceptions on defense, too.
Junior Ryan Adams leads the Rocket defense with 65 tackles, which ranks fifth in 2A, and three sacks.
Friday night will be PCM’s homecoming game and the final home game of the season. Every Homecoming King candidate — Noah Anderson, Colton Warrick, Ivan Young, Caden Lewis and Dayton Boell — is on this year’s team.
“There can be distractions, but their job is to play well in the football game,” Bonnett said. “There are little kids that look up to our guys, and they’ll be in front of more kids than they have ever been in front of before. We need to make sure we don’t disappoint them. They need to be great role models because those young kids worship the ground that our players’ walk on.”
PCM’s offense is averaging 50.8 points per game this season and 58 points per game in district play.
Junior Reed Worth enters Friday night’s game with 1,095 passing yards, which ranks ninth in 2A. His 17 touchdown passes sits tied for third, and Worth has the fewest passing attempts and best yards per completion of the eight players ahead of him in passing yards.
Junior Wes Cummings has a team-high 544 rushing yards and six touchdowns and is averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Junior Preston Van Wyk is averaging 33 yards per catch and has 427 receiving yards and seven TDs to lead the receivers.
Worth has thrown a TD to seven different players and four Mustangs have at least nine catches.
The Mustang defense is surrendering nearly 13 points per game this year but that number drops to 10 points per game in district play. Most of those points in district games have come against backups in the second half.
The defense is led by juniors Cole Dustin and Jarron Trausch. Dustin and Trausch each have 21 tackles, Dustin has eight tackles for loss and Trausch has five tackles for loss. The Mustang defense has four picks and nine fumble recoveries.
PCM has won five straight games, including Montezuma’s Week 2 forfeit. Friday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Monroe.
WACO (3-4) at Baxter (5-1), 7 p.m.
Since losing in Week 2 to second-ranked Remsen-St. Mary’s, the 10th-ranked Baxter Bolts have been on a roll.
The Bolts have scored at least 62 points during their four-game win streak. Baxter is averaging 59 points per game this season and its 2,644 total yards ranks seventh in 8-man.
Baxter’s prolific passing attack is closing in on some all-state 8-man records.
Senior Travis Lindemoen is six touchdowns and 300 receiving yards away from the all-time record. He easily leads the class with 1,097 yards and 20 TDs. Lindemoen has nine more touchdowns than the next best receiver and nearly 400 more yards. His 45 catches currently ranks second in 8-man.
Lindemoen’s quarterback, senior Braydon Aker, leads the entire state with 40 total touchdowns. He’s tops in 8-man with 1,733 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, and he also has nearly 400 rushing yards and 10 scores. His three picks were thrown in Baxter’s Week 2 loss.
The Bolts lost all-state linemen Will Clapper to an injury early in that loss. Clapper has since returned to the field as has senior lineman Bryce Bacon.
The offense also features senior tailback Devin Carson, who has 278 rushing yards, 222 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns, and sophomore wideout Cole Damman, who has 27 catches for 304 yards and six scores.
Carson also has 49 tackles and two interceptions for a Baxter defense that is allowing 49 points per game. Senior Marcus Mitchell has a team-high 50 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
WACO will bring a more balanced offense to Baxter for the Bolts’ homecoming game this week. The Warriors have thrown for 1,117 yards and rushed for 1,383. They are averaging 44 points per game and surrendering 44 points per contest. WACO has allowed at least 60 points in its four losses.
The Warriors’ best player is Colton Horak. Horak leads the team with 433 rushing yards, has returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown, leads the defense with 42 1/2 tackles and three picks and is the team’s kicker. Horak’s 22 touchbacks ranks seventh in 8-man.
Two other WACO players have rushed for at least 298 yards. Cody Crawford has 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and two sacks for the defense.
Baxter and WACO have three common opponents. Baxter went 3-0 against English Valleys (62-40), Lone Tree (62-25) and Midland (70-66). WACO defeated English Valleys 57-0 but lost 62-36 to Lone Tree and 66-33 to Midland.
Lynnville-Sully (6-0, 4-0) at New London (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.
The Class A No. 6 Hawks handed Pekin its first loss of the season and knocked the Panthers out of the Associated Press rankings last week at home. This week, they face another team in New London which has yet to lose in 2017.
A win by Lynnville-Sully would go a long way in winning the District 6 title. A New London victory would create a logjam at the top of the standings with the Tigers heading to Pekin the following week.
The Hawks have rushed for 1,466 yards and average 7.5 yards per carry. Three of their primary ball carriers — senior Sage Zylstra and juniors Nate Stock and Gage Vander Leest — all have average more than nine yards per carry.
Lynnville-Sully averages 49 points per game and is allowing only 7.5 points. The Hawks have two shutouts. The most points they have given up was the 17 Colfax-Mingo scored in Week 1.
New London averages 45 points per game and surrenders 10 points per contest.
Junior Isaac McSorley has thrown for 385 yards and rushed for 217 while scoring 11 touchdowns. Junior Keonte Luckett and senior Dallas Bell each have more than 650 rushing yards and both average better than nine yards per game. Luckett has a punt return and kick return for a score and Bell returned a kickoff for a TD, too.
When McSorley throws it most likely will go to Mason Porter, who has 14 catches for 255 yards and four TDs. The Tigers also have two defensive scores.
GMG (0-6, 0-4) at Colfax-Mingo (3-4, 2-2), 7 p.m.
The Tigerhawks have a strong opportunity to pull their record to .500 on the season as they welcome winless GMG to Colfax-Mingo High School on Friday.
Colfax-Mingo has won two straight games to right its ship and next face a Wolverine squad which has scored only 21 points in six games.
GMG is allowing 48 points per game on defense and the fewest points it has allowed was 32 in the season opener. The Wolverines’ 420 rushing yards is the third fewest in Class A.
Blaze Krull is the team’s best player. He has 109 receiving yards on offense and leads the defense with 34 1/2 tackles and three interceptions. Kolton Gill is the starting quarterback, and he has thrown for 329 yards.
Gill has tossed 10 interceptions and faces a Colfax-Mingo defense that leads Class A with 15 picks. The Tigerhawks also are third in the class with 11 fumble recoveries.
Junior Zarek Hill’s six picks leads Class A and senior Alex Lewis ranks tied for third with three fumble recoveries. Senior Jake Dunsbergen’s 54 1/2 tackles ranks eighth in Class A.
Sophomore Brady Berkey has four interceptions and senior Reegan Van Dyke has picked off three passes.
Offensively, the Tigerhawks have the top passing offense in Class A with 1,302 yards. Van Dyke is tops in the class with 1,278 passing yards along with 14 TDs and four picks and also has a team-high 313 rushing yards and four scores.
Hill and Lewis are two of the most productive receivers in Class A. Hill’s 27 catches ranks tied for third, his 436 yards ranks fourth and his six TDs ranks tied for third. Lewis’ 23 catches and 368 yards both rank eighth and his five TDs sits tied for sixth.
The Tigerhawks are averaging 44 points per game in their three wins and 12.2 points in the four losses. The four teams which defeated Colfax-Mingo — Saydel, Lynnville-Sully, Hudson and Belle Plaine — are currently a combined 21-3.
Contact Troy Hyde at 641-792-3121 ext. 6536 or firstname.lastname@example.org