Colfax-Mingo football coach Jeff Lietz understands the type of team his Tigerhawk squad will face Friday in the season finale.
Making the trek to Colfax for a 7 p.m. kickoff will be two-time defending Class A champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck. And the seventh-ranked Rebels still have hopes for a district championship.
“They have been a class act program and at the head of our class for the past several years,” Lietz said. “They are a great team. This is an opportunity for our boys to show how good we are. We get to play the best. Why wouldn’t we want to play our best, too?”
Lietz doesn’t feel his Tigerhawks have played their best for a full game yet. It will take that kind of an effort to knock off the Rebels, who were state champions in 2015 and 2016 and the runner-up in 2014.
Colfax-Mingo and Gladbrook-Reinbeck look similar on paper. Both have quarterbacks who are among the leaders for passing yards in Class A, a pair of receivers who are among the state’s leaders in yardage and touchdowns and each has a defense that is capable of making things difficult on the opposition.
“G-R is fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball,” Lietz said. “We have to make them drive the field offensively. They love the big play. We need to keep everything in front of us and force them into some long drives.”
Reegan Van Dyke leads the Tigerhawks. He has thrown for 1,576 passing yards, which ranks second in Class A. Hunter Lott has 1,460 passing yards for the Rebels (7-1 overall, 5-1 in Class A District 5).
The wide receivers are Colfax-Mingo’s Alex Lewis and Zarek Hill and Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Walker Thede and Matt Johannsen. All four rank in the top 11 in both yards and touchdowns. Lewis and Hill also are top 10 in catches.
“For us offensively, we can’t be afraid to have long drives,” Lietz said. “We can’t get greedy. They’ll play a 4-3 cover 2 and cover up everything deep. We have to be patient.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s defense is stout. The Rebels have three shutouts in district play against North Tama, GMG and Belle Plaine. They are allowing only 5.6 points per game and tallied 14 sacks, 47 tackles for loss, nine interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.
Colfax-Mingo has nine sacks and ranks tied for second in Class A with 16 interceptions and tied for third with 13 fumble recoveries.
The Tigerhawks have been eliminated from playoff contention. They can finish with a .500 record with a win on Friday night. Colfax-Mingo is averaging 44.5 points per game in its four wins and 13 points per game in the five losses.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck lost to Hudson, 5-0, earlier this season. That snapped a 29-game winning streak that dated back to 2015.
To have any chance at the district championship, the Rebels need to beat Colfax-Mingo and second ranked Hudson (8-0, 6-0) must lose at Belle Plaine (6-2, 5-1) on Friday night. Belle Plaine can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the undefeated Pirates.
Class A No. 8 Lynnville-Sully (7-0, 5-0) at Montezuma (4-3, 3-2)
Both teams enter the final week of the regular season on winning streaks.
Class A No. 8 Lynnville-Sully has won its first seven games and looks to complete its first undefeated regular season since 1999. The Braves have won three straight games after starting 1-3.
Montezuma has allowed eight points during its three-game winning streak. Sophomore Clay Rousie leads the Braves with 978 passing yards, and senior Jordon Bender has 776 rushing yards, 206 passing yards and 11 total touchdowns.
Bender also leads the defense with 52 1/2 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
Montezuma’s offense is very balanced with 1,049 rushing yards and 982 passing yards. The Braves have four players with at least 11 catches and all four have been on the receiving end of Rousie’s eight TD passes.
Lynnville-Sully is allowing seven points per game in Class A District 6 play. The Hawks have outscored district opponents 231-35.
The offense has rushed for 1,630 yards, but no one has gained more than 500 yards on his own. Senior Sage Zylstra leads the way with 409 yards and five touchdowns. Zylstra and juniors Nate Stock and Gage Vander Leest all average at least 7.7 yards per carry.
The Hawks’ defense has totaled 13 sacks, 11 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries this season. Zylstra ranks first in Class A with five fumble recoveries.
Vander Leest has a team-high 42 1/2 tackles, senior Kemper Lukehart has 42 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks and Zylstra had 38 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and three sacks.
The Hawks wrapped up the district title two weeks ago with a win over New London. Pekin defeated New London, 14-8, last week to clinch the runner-up spot and second automatic playoff berth in the district.
Class 8-man No. 8 Baxter (7-1) at Easton Valley (2-6)
The Bolts conclude their first season in 8-man with a three-hour trip to Preston on Friday night. Baxter has a six-game win streak on the line, and it has scored 67 points per game during the streak.
Baxter’s offense has transitioned well to the 8-man game. The Bolts’ 2,275 yards is the most in the class, and they rank third in total points with 489.
On the flip side, Easton Valley is allowing more than 57 points per game. In the six losses, Easton Valley is surrendering 67 points per contest.
Leading the way for Baxter is a talented crop of senior skill players.
Braydon Aker leads 8-man with 2,243 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes. He’s also rushed for 622 yards and six TDs. Aker’s 56 total touchdowns is tops in the state.
Aker’s favorite target is senior Travis Lindemoen, who set all-time single season 8-man records in receiving yards and receiving TDs last week. He has 1,433 yards and 27 touchdowns on 58 catches.
Baxter’s defense is led by seniors Devin Carson and Marcus Mitchell. Carson, who has 442 rushing yards and 10 TDs and hauled in five TD passes, leads the Bolts with 56 tackles and two interceptions. Mitchell has tallied 54 1/2 tackles and six tackles for loss.
Like Baxter, Easton Valley prefers to pass the ball. Nathan Trenkamp has thrown for 1,667 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Cameron Wilhelm has 436 rushing yards and six TDs and has hauled in 31 catches for 669 yards and 14 receiving TDs.
Class 2A No. 5 PCM takes Week 9 forfeit
The Mustangs will take an 8-1 record into the postseason for the second straight season as Clarke plans to forfeit its Week 9 game to PCM.
PCM, which finished 7-0 in Class 2A District 6 play, was given two forfeits in 2017. Montezuma also forfeited its game to the fifth-ranked Mustangs in Week 2.