We’re always up to something new and exciting and will try to keep it all posted here.
The Class 5A football playoff pairings have been announced by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
No. 3 Ankeny (8-1) has been placed in Pod C and will host a first-round game against No. 13 Sioux City East (7-2) on Friday. The Black Raiders’ only losses were to Ankeny Centennial and Waukee Northwest, two teams that the Hawks defeated this season.
No. 6 Johnston (6-3) will host No. 11 Iowa City High (6-3) in the other opening game in Pod C. The two winners will then play in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 4.
No. 12 Centennial (5-4) has been placed in Pod D and will play at No. 5 Cedar Falls (7-2) on Friday. It will be a rematch of a game from Sept. 16, which the Jaguars won, 28-14.
The Tigers have reeled off five straight wins since that loss. They closed out the regular season with a 24-14 victory at Dubuque Senior.
No. 4 Pleasant Valley (9-0) will host No. 14 Valley (5-4) in the other opening game in Pod D. The two winners will then play in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 4.
The Ankeny football team is cruising into the Class 5A playoffs.
The Hawks, who were tied for third in the latest Associated Press rankings, rolled to a 54-6 victory at Des Moines Lincoln in their regular-season finale on Friday.
Ankeny improved to 8-1 with its sixth straight win. Lincoln finished with a 1-8 record.
The Hawks have outscored their last three opponents by a 157-13 margin.
“The kids are playing pretty well,” said Ankeny coach Rick Nelson. “I’m pleased, and we’re just kind of anxious to see who we’re going to get paired up with (in the playoffs).”
Ankeny held a 47-0 halftime lead after dominating the first two quarters. JJ Kohl passed for four touchdowns in the opening half, while Jazan Williams ran for two scores and caught a pass for another.
“JJ’s feeling really comfortable, and Jazan has improved each game,” Nelson said. “We wanted to make some of those quick throws. We knew they were going to load the box, so we were able to do that. And we had some nice runs, too.
The Hawks took a 7-0 lead on a 49-yard pass from Kohl to Jamison Patton midway through the first quarter. Williams ran 9 yards for a score with 3 minutes 38 seconds left in the period, but Ankeny then missed the PAT.
On the Railsplitters’ next possession, Jacob Krueger picked off a tipped pass and returned it 25 yards to the end zone. The touchdown increased the margin to 20-0 with 2:09 left in the quarter.
Patton scored again just 16 seconds into the second quarter. This time, it was a 17-yard reception from Kohl.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was on the sidelines watching the game, checking out future Cyclones Kohl and Patton. Patton, who is projected as a safety at the collegiate level, had three catches for 80 yards.
“Jamo is just a fantastic player,” Nelson said. “We’ll have to use him both ways from here on out as the competition goes up.”
Kohl tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Williams with 9:15 remaining in the half. The Hawks led, 33-0, after botching the PAT attempt.
Ankeny needed just one play to score on its next possession. Evan Irlmeier turned a short pass from Kohl into a 44-yard touchdown with 7:36 to go in the second quarter.
“Irlmeier’s been a great addition to the offense,” Nelson said. “And we should get (Devon) Akers back this week. He’s a 6-foot-5 receiver.”
Williams added a 14-yard scoring run with 3:10 left in the half. He rushed for 78 yards on just four carries.
Kohl went 7-of-9 through the air for 184 yards. His backup, Luke Anderson, went 4-of-4 in the second half, including a 25-yard scoring pass to Keaton Roseland.
The playoff pairings will be announced on Saturday at 10 a.m. Ankeny moved ahead of Pleasant Valley and into the No. 3 spot in the final RPI rankings.
The Hawks could host No. 14 Valley in the opening round.
“I don’t know if (moving up) is going to help us or not,” Nelson said. “If there’s one team that nobody wants to play in the first round, it’s Valley. They are going to be a lower seed, but I think they would beat a lot of the teams that are in the single-digit numbers.”
Well folks, we’re basically at the end of the Iowa high school football regular season.
Over the past few weeks, the Des Moines Register looked at team records and overall statistics to pick out the state’s top quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
But who says the offense should have all the fun?
There's no shortage of talent on the defensive side of the ball in Iowa, and we wanted to recognize the players who might not always make the highlight reel. Narrowing down athletes for this list wasn't easy, especially because we combined all the defensive positions.
Every player on this list deserves to be here. So many more could’ve also made the cut.
Here are 25 of the top defensive players in Iowa high school football, as well as 10 athletes who just missed the cut.
Names are listed in alphabetical order.
Diego Jackson, Ankeny
Ankeny is another program with a stacked defense, but Jackson beats out his other teammates to make this list. The senior defensive lineman has 21 tackles, with a team-high nine tackles for loss. Jackson adds two sacks on top of that.
PJ Westover, Ankeny
Helped the Hawks to a 7-1 record with 28.5 total tackles, 18 solo takedowns and 3.5 tackles for loss. Picked up one interception, as well.
A lot is still in play entering Week 9 of the 2022 high school football season, which is always fun. The playoff pictures in Iowa's three largest classes have changed and morphed and shifted throughout the last few weeks, setting the stage for this week's regular-season finale.
Each week has felt like another step toward the ultimate goal, which can really be broken up into two parts: first, playoff qualification; second, postseason success. We'll finalize that first part this week, and then embrace whatever the second part looks like over the next four weeks.
Postseason success will vary for each team that makes the big dance. For many, a state championship is the end goal. For some, reaching the UNI-Dome is equally as big. For others, simply qualifying after years of futility or even a slow start is worth a community celebration.
It looks different for everybody, which is another endearing part of the high school sports experience. Rings are nice, but there's an equal appreciation for the process required to get to where we are now. There's value in learning that hard work pays off — sometimes now, sometimes in a few months, sometimes many years down the road.
That's a hard thing to teach 16-, 17-, and 18-year-old kids, many of whom will have their hearts broken this week or in the weeks ahead. Some of their biggest dreams hinge on an odd-shaped ball bouncing their way. Football is a funny game. All they can do is prepare the best they can to be ready for their moment.
enough for them to play one more game. For many teams, the playoffs begin in earnest with their Week 9 matchups
, if only because a loss might eliminate the chance to play again next week.
A lot is still in play — for those jockeying for top seeds and for others trying to qualify. Here's to another great night of football, one that'll set the stage for what's expected to be a fantastic sprint to the finish.
Went 16-4 again last week, bringing me to 121-39 overall this season, good for 75.6%. Gonna need to finish strong to hit that 80% goal, but I've been 16-4 three times over the first eight weeks, so at least I'm consistent?
In any case, we've got 20 more picks this week — the Top 10 in Class 5A (based on our most recent rankings), other Des Moines-area large-class teams, plus other matchups that piqued my interest. Let's go.
#1 Pleasant Valley vs. Iowa City West
Jack Wallace, West's sophomore quarterback, has been spectacular this season, throwing for 1,602 yards and 15 touchdowns. He appears poised to become the next Eastern Iowa football star, so a regular-season finale against the top-ranked Spartans could go a long way in his continued development. Pleasant Valley, 35-14
#2 Dowling Catholic vs. Waukee
Waukee is squarely on the RPI bubble, at No. 15 this week, so a win (or perhaps losses by West Des Moines Valley and Davenport West) is crucial to the Warriors' postseason hopes. But against Dowling? I don't know, man. Dowling, 42-14
After kind of struggling through the first three weeks, the Hawks have blown through the back half of their schedule, winning five in a row, all by multiple possessions. That's going to be a tough tidal wave for Lincoln to avoid. Ankeny, 35-6
A state championship contender against a winless team just doesn't seem very fair, man. SEP, 42-6
Welcome to Week 9 of the high school football season. While the small classes begin postseason play this week, Iowa’s largest three classes will finalize their playoff qualifiers Friday night.
Before we break down this week’s RPI, let’s spin through the tiebreaker rules. There’s a chance some will come into play when the games end this Friday, especially in Class 4A and 3A, where district results play a role in qualifying.
The district champion is the team with the fewest district losses. The district runner-up is the team with the second-fewest district losses. If two teams are tied at the top, their head-to-head result determines first and second.
If three teams are tied with the fewest district losses, they first look to see if any one of them beat the other two. For example, Team A, B, and C all go 3-1, but A beat both B and C, A wins, then the head-to-head result between B and C determines the runner-up.
If A, B and C all beat each other then the RPI deterimines the distrct champ, then the head -to-head result between the remain two determines the districts runner-up. The same process applies if there are four teams tied with the fewest district losses.
Those same protocols are then followed if there’s a definitive district champ, but there’s a tie of any kind to determine the runner-up. The top two teams from each district, plus four at-large teams determined by the RPI, qualify in both Class 4A and 3A.
Those tiebreaker rules don’t apply at all to Class 5A, as all 16 teams are determined via the RPI — ratings percentage index — which is the three-part formula to determine a team’s overall position compared to other teams in their respective class. It was instituted in 2018 for the three largest classes, and is broken down as such:
The following is a breakdown of the RPI polls ahead of Week 9 for Class 5A, 4A, 3A, as well as a look at the district races and automatic qualifying scenarios for both 4A and 3A.
Buckle up. This week is going to be a fun one.
lass 5A RPI Rankings
Week 9 Games To Watch
Analysis: There was a lot of shakeup in the Class 5A poll after Week 8.
The most-notable climbers: Linn-Mar and Waukee both jumped from outside the playoff field to into the Top-16. The Lions went from 17th to 10th after a 72-0 win over Davenport Central. The Warriors went from 19th to 15th after beating Urbandale, 30-7.
The most-notable fallers: Davenport West and Urbandale both tumbled out of playoff contention. West lost 55-6 to Iowa City High and went from 10th to 17th. Urbandale lost to Waukee and fell from 13th to 18th.
There was more movement — Ames jumped from 14th to 8th, Iowa City High jumped from 16th to 11th, Johnston jumped from 11th to 6th, Ankeny Centennial fell from 8th to 14th, Waukee Northwest fell from 7th to 12th and Valley fell from 12th to 16th — and it all sets the stage for an exciting Week 9.
Centennial and Valley both have favorable Week 9 matchups, against Des Moines East and Des Moines Roosevelt, respectively. Waukee has top-rated Dowling Catholic, a less-than-ideal must-win game for a bubble team.
Davenport West has a winnable game against Muscatine, and while the math doesn’t guarantee a win-and-in scenario there, it’s hard to picture a 7-2 team missing the playoffs.
Honestly, the most intriguing game come Friday night might very well be Urbandale-Waukee Northwest. They’re separated by enough in the RPI that it’s not fully guaranteed a 6-3 J-Hawk team cracks the final 16 … but a 4-5 Northwest team could.
And the volatility of the RPI makes Linn-Mar’s game against Prairie intriguing, too. If the Lions can jump seven spots this week, who’s to say they couldn't tumble back out with a loss?
A fun week awaits.
Only one week remains in the regular season, but four of our high school football polls have officially gone final.
The updated Class 2A, 1A, A, and 8-Player polls will be the final rankings used for the rest of the season, with the playoffs starting this week. The top-rated teams as we enter the postseason: Williamsburg in 2A, Van Meter in 1A, West Hancock in A and Remsen St. Mary's in 8-Player.
We will continue to track their postseason progress, of course, and will start by listing their first-round playoff results next week along with our final polls for the large classes.
Class 5A, 4A, and 3A still have Week 9 to play before the postseason begins. After Week 8's results, only 5A's rankings underwent major changes this week.
The top four are the same: Pleasant Valley, Dowling Catholic, Ankeny and Southeast Polk. Cedar Rapids Prairie, after a 49-28 win over Iowa City West, is up to No. 5. Cedar Falls survived against Bettendorf, 10-7, to move to No. 6. Johnston thumped Cedar Rapids Kennedy and jumped to No. 7 while the Cougars stumbled to No. 9.
Iowa City High, a team that's been in and out of the rankings all year, is back again at No. 8 after throttling Davenport West, and Linn-Mar, fresh of a 72-point performance over Davenport Central, checks in at No. 10 entering the regular-season finale.
The 35 things we learned from Week 8 of the 2022 Iowa high school football season:
1. Student sections always crack me up, but as someone who does our rankings every week, I take those “overrated” chants personally sometimes, man.
2. The Johnston student section unleashed the “overrated” chants early in Friday’s game between the Dragons and Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Can’t blame them, since Johnston led 14-0 less than three minutes in and went on to win 28-7.
3. Nobody feels sorry for a sports writer, but when it comes to Class 5A, these rankings have been incredibly difficult this year.
4. I’m not talking about deciding the top teams. The top tier in 5A is well-known by now: Pleasant Valley, Dowling Catholic, Ankeny and Southeast Polk. They’re a step or two ahead of everybody else.
5. But that’s the thing, “everybody else” is just, like, I don’t really know.
10. Does your head hurt yet? Mine does. Every single week.
11. (I’m not actually all that beat up over the “overrated” chants, but it was an easy entry into my notes on how much of a clusterbleep Class 5A has been this year.)
25. The Cyclone recruits also balled out. Southeast Polk’s Abu Sama rushed 22 times for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Rams’ 42-16 win over Centennial. This was Sama’s fifth multi-touchdown game this season, and third with at least three.
26. Ankeny QB JJ Kohl went 15-of-17 for 120 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another in a 31-7 win over Northwest. It is the third time this season, and fifth time in the last 21 games, that Kohl has finished a game with two or fewer incompletions.
Ankeny football coach Rick Nelson had an uneasy feeling about Friday’s game against visiting Waukee Northwest.
The seventh-ranked Wolves were coming off a 20-14 victory over Ankeny Centennial on the same field a week ago, when Brady Grisham ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
“I was scared they were just going to be able to run it down our throats,” Nelson said.
It turns out that Nelson’s concerns were overblown.
The No. 3 Hawks held Grisham to just 54 yards on 16 carries and built a 31-0 lead before Northwest scored a late touchdown to avoid a shutout. The 31-7 victory improved Ankeny’s record to 7-1, while the Wolves fell to 4-4.
“I was really pleased because I was scared of their tailback,” Nelson said. “Our kids kept him in check, so I was proud of our defense.”
The Hawks took a 14-0 lead barely 5 minutes into the game. Jazan Williams scored on a 1-yard run on the game’s opening possession, then Reid Johnson picked off a pass from Northwest quarterback Sam Johnson and returned it 42 yards for another touchdown.
JJ Kohl threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Evan Irlmeier in the second quarter, giving Ankeny a 21-0 halftime advantage. Kohl completed 15-of-17 passes for 120 yards.
“JJ made some nice throws, and Jazan ran well, too,” Nelson said. “We had some pretty good field position throughout the game.”
Kohl scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. Keeghan Warner added a 40-yard field goal in the final period.
The Hawks outgained Northwest by a 300-183 margin. Williams ran 30 times for 100 yards, while backup Caden Henkes added 41 yards on eight attempts.
Irlmeier caught six passes for 66 yards. Jamison Patton added six catches for 26 yards and also picked off a pass on defense.
“We took off pretty good at the start and just kept going,” Nelson said. “The kids did great.”
Sam Johnson completed 7-of-16 passes for 139 yards in the Wolves’ loss. He threw a 61-yard scoring pass to Jackson Adams with 14 seconds left in the game.
Chase Lamb had 13 tackles for Northwest.
Ankeny will play at Des Moines Lincoln (1-7) to close out the regular season on Friday. The Hawks trail Dowling Catholic and Southeast Polk in the RPI rankings, and Nelson said he isn’t sure if his team can move up any higher.
“I guess we’ll see,” he said. “We’ve just got to try to keep winning and stay healthy.”
PREGAME & SENIOR NIGHT FIRST HALF SECOND HALF
Cedar Rapids Kennedy is driving two hours west to play Johnston this week. The Cougars are 6-1 after crushing Davenport West last week. Johnston is 4-3 and has alternated wins and losses over the last five weeks.
On paper, Kennedy is probably the favorite. They're averaging more points per game (34.6 to Johnston's 18.7) and are allowing fewer points per game (7.7, the best in Class 5A, to Johnston's 16.7). The Cougars are sitting 5th in the latest RPI rankings. The Dragons are 11th.
And yet … I'm not sold.
We touch on this subject, either purposefully or inadvertently, each season, so let's just dive right into it now. The whole 'Des Moines Suburbs-against-The World' conversation again — or, more specifically, the Des Moines Suburbs-against-Eastern Iowa football discussion.
This Kennedy-Johnston matchup provides a window into that world, and it's tilted heavily toward the teams in Des Moines.
This season alone, Des Moines suburban schools are 6-2 against Eastern Iowa teams. Southeast Polk is responsible for three of the wins: 56-0 over Waterloo West, 49-27 over Linn-Mar, and 41-0 over Prairie last week. There's also Dowling Catholic's 34-0 win over Iowa City High, Ankeny Centennial's 28-14 win over Cedar Falls, and Urbandale's 27-14 win over Bettendorf. The two Eastern Iowa wins: Cedar Falls, 14-0 over Johnston, and City, 55-19 over Ames.
That shouldn't really surprise anybody who's been paying attention for — wait for it — the last two decades.
Central Iowa teams have won 18 of the last 22 large-class state football championships, dating back to 2000. Dowling has ruled the roost with 10 titles, followed by Valley with five, Ankeny with two and Southeast Polk last year. The last Eastern Iowa team to win in the large class was Iowa City High, in 2009.
Since then, Eastern Iowa teams are a combined 5-22 against Des Moines suburban schools in the playoffs. They're often dominated, too, with 14 of those 22 losses decided by 20 points or more.
Here are the five wins:
That 2018 Cedar Falls team lost to Dowling, 22-16, in the finals. The 2019 Kennedy team was trounced by Dowling, 42-6, in the semifinals. Last year's City High team lost 33-7 to Southeast Polk in the semifinals. There's something to be said about losing to the team that ultimately wins the whole thing, but then again, that's the point here.
At the beginning of each season, we ask ourselves: Can an Eastern Iowa team hang with the top large-class teams from Des Moines? That answer, since 2010, has been a resounding no, and the early returns from this season suggest much of the same — not just by that 6-2 record, but by the way teams like Dowling, Ankeny and Southeast Polk have been playing.
The jury's still out on top-ranked Pleasant Valley, who's pulverized everybody in their way this year. They're beating teams by an average of 30 points per game, but if you're into nit-picking, their seven wins have come against teams that are a combined 18-31, and only three have come against teams that currently have a winning record … in Week 8.
For a while, Kennedy looked like they might match the Spartans each week, but then they stumbled against Cedar Falls, turning the ball over four times in a 23-16 loss. They rebounded by handily knocking Davenport West from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, and are now coming to play Johnston this week.
That's part of what makes this game so intriguing, at least to me. Johnston has been hot-and-cold this year. They have a win over an Urbandale team we think highly of, and a sophomore quarterback that often showcases an arm-cannon. They are plenty capable of making the playoffs, but will need to be more consistent to make a deep run.
How will they match up against a tough Kennedy team? Can the Cougars find their footing and win convincingly enough to make us think Eastern Iowa has a chance this year? Or will Johnston punch them square in the mouth and make us all want to fast-forward to the Class 5A state semifinals?
We'll find out Friday night.
We leveled back out last week, going 16-4. That puts us at 105-35 for the season. That's 75%. We're running out of time to hit that 80%. Maybe we'll peak in the playoffs. We'll see.
Another 20 games this week — the usual Top-10 in Class 5A, most of the other Des Moines metro teams, plus some small-class matchups that look like fun. Let's go.
Not sure anybody in Eastern Iowa can hang with Pleasant Valley this year, which isn't good for Dubuque Senior, who enters this week at No. 18 in the RPI rankings. Pleasant Valley, 35-13
It's the Battle for West Des Moines, which is always awesome. Here's a crazy stat, courtesy of Dowling assistant coach Andy Pollock: This is the 27th Valley-Dowling game in the last 18 years. The Maroons have won three in a row in this series (doesn't count the state quarterfinal forfeit from 2021). That ties the longest winning streak by either team in that span (Valley won three in a row between 2007-08). Dowling, 34-20
#3 Ankeny vs. Waukee Northwest
Waukee Northwest has won four in a row after an 0-3 start. Since that slow start, they've allowed 28 total points. Now they get an Ankeny team that's averaging 32.1 points per game. Ankeny, 31-21
Centennial's four-game win streak was snapped last week by a surging Northwest team, and now they get a high-flying Southeast Polk squad. If the Rams win, could there be some RPI worries for the Jaguars entering Week 9? Let's wait and see how the math breaks first. Southeast Polk, 24-14
2022-10-11 - Breaking down Iowa high school football RPI rankings, district standings ahead of Week 8 – Des Moines Register by Cody Goodwin
The RPI can be interesting to calculate week to week. Here are a few examples after last week’s Class 5A schedule:
West Des Moines Valley was the biggest climber of note, jumping from 17th last week to 12th this week after a 54-0 win over Des Moines Lincoln. Iowa City West was the biggest faller of note, from 13th last week to 20th this week after a 42-6 loss to Bettendorf.
Those were the only two teams to move in or out of the top 16 in the Class 5A RPI, meaning 15 of the 16 teams that were in last week’s standings stayed in this week’s standings.
Two teams actually dropped spots after winning last week: Pleasant Valley fell from 2nd to 4th after a 51-21 win over Iowa City High, and Sioux City East fell from 14th to 15th after a 65-16 win over Des Moines East.
Others shuffled around but remained in playoff contention, and we’ll break it down again this week after the Iowa High School Athletic Association released its updated RPI rankings and updated its district standings.
A quick refresher on the number of playoff teams in each class:
Class 5A: 16 playoff teams — all 16 are decided through the RPI
The Des Moines North football team got off to a 4-1 start, winning four games in a season for the first time since 2008.
But the Polar Bears had not played an opponent like third-ranked Ankeny.
The Hawks visited North on Friday and turned in a dominating performance, rolling to a 72-0 victory. They built a 51-0 halftime lead and cruised to the win, improving their record to 6-1.
Ankeny outgained the Polar Bears (4-3) by a 462-150 margin. The Hawks did most of their damage on the ground, rushing for 333 yards on just 26 carries.
Jazan Williams ran 10 times for 127 yards and four touchdowns. Caden Henkes rushed for 131 yards and two scores on just seven carries, and he also recovered a fumble in the end zone for another touchdown.
Dylan Panther and quarterback JJ Kohl also ran for scores. Kohl completed 6-of-8 passes for 129 yards, including three completions to Jamison Patton for 80 yards.
Will Hinrichs also found the end zone, picking off a pass by North’s Jayden McGregory and returning it 24 yards for a score. Austin Bailey added a fumble recovery for the Hawks.
Ankeny will host Waukee Northwest (4-3) on Friday. The Wolves will play at Ankeny Stadium for the second week in a row after defeating No. 6 Ankeny Centennial, 20-14, on Friday.
Let's think big for a moment.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association revealed the Class 5A RPI rankings this week. It doesn't mean a lot, at least not yet, but it does give us a good idea of where things stand heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. That helps us build a roadmap of games to watch, teams to follow, on and on.
What it also does is allow us to think about the potential playoff picture.
If we used the current RPI rankings and paired the teams up, March Madness style, the 5A playoff picture would look like this:
That looks pretty clean!
But with those pairings, we'd also be sending teams all over the state.
Assuming higher seeds host, Ames would drive two hours to Kennedy, Sioux City East would drive three hours to Ankeny, Northwest would drive almost three hours to Davenport, City High would drive two hours to Centennial, and Urbandale would drive 175 miles to Pleasant Valley.
That doesn't seem ideal, even if 5A schools can probably do all of that.
But this exercise spurs two more thoughts.
First, how will this picture fluctuate over the next three weeks?
This takes us back to the roadmap — teams like Iowa City West, Sioux City East, Urbandale and Johnston, all teams currently in the top 16, are all worth following these next few weeks in the same way that Valley, Linn-Mar, Dubuque Senior, Des Moines North and Des Moines Roosevelt, who are all right outside the top 16, are worth following.
And the fun part about Class 5A is that only the top 16 teams get in. No districts in Iowa's largest class, so every result indirectly impacts everybody else. So expect some healthy fluctuation in the RPI, and for the stakes to only get bigger, each week.
Second, will the IHSAA pair up the final 16 teams in a way that's a true seeded playoff picture?
The final RPI standings a year ago made that an easy decision:
1. Southeast Polk vs. 16. Johnston
8. Dowling Catholic vs. 9. Linn-Mar
5. Ankeny vs. 12. Waukee Northwest
4. Cedar Rapids Prairie vs. 13. Bettendorf
3. Valley vs. 15. Ankeny Centennial
6. Pleasant Valley vs. 11 Cedar Falls
7. Iowa City High vs. 10. Urbandale
2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy vs. 14. Dubuque Senior
The only difference, for those who nit-pick such things: No. 14 Dubuque Senior and No. 15 Ankeny Centennial flip-flopped, playing No. 2 Kennedy and No. 3 Valley, respectively. Otherwise, the final RPI made it a true seeded tournament that involved some travel in the quarterfinals: Pleasant Valley driving to Valley, Ankeny driving to Prairie.
These are just a few things that tickled my brain after scanning the RPI rankings this week, and will continue to be something we monitor each week as we get closer to the playoffs.
We followed our best week with our worst week, going 13-7 in Week 6. Dropped us to 89-31 overall. We've got some serious work to do now.
Another 20 games this week, including many intriguing matchups. Let's go.
Pleasant Valley gave City High its only regular-season loss last season, a humbling 31-14 defeat in Week 7. The Little Hawks responded by reaching the UNI-Dome while PV fell to West Des Moines Valley in the quarterfinals. The Spartans can further cement themselves as eastern Iowa's power with a win this week. PV, 28-24
Ames QB Dallas Sauser continues to climb the all-time record books each week, but this Dowling defense is going to cause him a lot of problems. Dowling, 35-17
More:Breaking down Iowa high school football RPI rankings and district standings ahead of Week 7
North's spectacular start took a hit last week in a wildly entertaining loss to Roosevelt, but now the playoff push begins against the Hawks, a true state championship contender. Ankeny, 35-21
#4 Southeast Polk vs. #5 Cedar Rapids Prairie
Game of the week! At least here in central Iowa. Prairie has, kind of quietly, won five in a row after losing to PV in Week 1. But this game against the Rams will be a true measurement of how they stack up against Class 5A's best. Southeast Polk, 38-20
There are two different conversations to be had regarding West Des Moines Valley after last week’s wildly-entertaining 34-24 loss to third-ranked Ankeny.
First, the Tigers are now 3-3, and when put into postseason context, they're currently on the outside looking in, according to the most up-to-date Class 5A RPI standings, threatening a consecutive playoff appearance streak that’s spanned 30 years.
Second, the Tiger offense, which struggled through the first three g
ames this season, looked pretty good against Ankeny — yes, even in a loss.
In rewatching the game, thanks to the folks at Central Iowa Sports Network, who streamed the game live and archived the webcast on YouTube, it was clear that much of Valley’s offensive success came through the play of senior quarterback Michael Provenza.
The other thing that stood out from the Ankeny-Valley game is the connection between Ankeny quarterback JJ Kohl and his star receiver Jamison Patton.
Patton hauled in seven receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown, giving him 38 catches for 494 yards and two scores through six games this season. His 494 receiving yards are the sixth-most among Class 5A receivers. His 38 receptions are third.
Currently, Patton is on pace for about 56 catches for 740 receiving yards, and that’s just through the regular season. If Ankeny reaches the 5A title game, that’s four more games, meaning Patton could potentially reach 82 receptions for 1,070 yards.
That would be an insanely-productive season, especially for an Ankeny receiver. Consider: Brady McCullough, now at Northern Iowa, led the Hawks last year with 55 receptions for 935 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2020, Brody Brecht, now at Iowa, led Ankeny with 42 catches for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Patton may not have as many touchdowns as McCullough and Brecht, but he’s clearly Kohl’s go-to receiver this season — which isn’t surprising, but still impressive since every team they play this season knows it’s coming, but they still can’t stop it.
2022-10-04 - Breaking down Iowa high school football RPI rankings and district standings ahead of Week 7 – Des Moines Register by Cody Goodwin
There are just three weeks left in the high school football regular season — or two if your favorite team is a smaller school — which means it’s time to start breaking down playoff races.
Over the next three weeks, we’ll use this space to analyze the RPI polls and district standings released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. We’ll identify games to watch each week and break down how they might impact the postseason races.
To start, here’s a quick refresher on how teams in each class reach the playoffs:
The RPI — ratings percentage index — is a three-part formula to determine a team’s overall position compared to other teams in their respective class. It was instituted in 2018 and is broken down as such:
We'll start this weekly dive with some big-picture thoughts, takeaways and games to watch from the Class 5A, 4A, and 3A RPI polls and district standings.
Week 7 Games To Watch
Analysis: There’s still a lot to be decided in Iowa’s largest class, only because all 16 playoff teams are decided by the RPI, meaning every single game played by a 5A team impacts every other 5A team.
That said, if the playoffs started today, West Des Moines Valley, postseason qualifiers for a state record 30 consecutive seasons, would not be in the Class 5A field. Wild to think about.
The good news for the Tigers is that the playoffs do not start today, and their final three regular-season games include Des Moines Lincoln (1-5), Dowling Catholic (5-1), and Des Moines Roosevelt (3-3). A 2-1 record in that span puts Valley at 5-4, which might be enough to lift them into the Top-16.
Johnston is another bubble team, but with a meaner final three games, at least on paper — against Sioux City North (3-3), Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5-1) and Ames (5-1). The Dragons have been hot-and-cold this season but will need to heat up to secure a playoff berth.
Linn-Mar, Dubuque Senior, Roosevelt and North are all teams currently on the outside who need to pick up wins this month to better position themselves.
The Lions have two winnable games against Ottumwa (3-3) and Davenport Central (1-5) before ending the year against Cedar Rapids Prairie (5-1). Senior’s path is a little tougher, against Muscatine (2-4), Pleasant Valley (6-0) and an all-important Week 9 game against Cedar Falls (4-2).
The Roughriders play Marshalltown (2-4), Sioux City East (4-2) and Valley (3-3) while the Polar Bears play Ankeny (5-1), Ottumwa and Marshalltown. It’s not impossible to picture them both making a late-season playoff push, but they’ll need to be at their best and maybe pick up some help along the way.
Welcome to Week 7 — or what we like to call, the homestretch of the 2022 high school football season.
Only three weeks remain for the Class 5A, 4A and 3A regular seasons, and only two for Class 2A, 1A, A and 8-Player. October has officially arrived, and with it comes the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason.
As such, virtually every game carries more importance, especially in Iowa’s largest football class, where all 16 playoff qualifiers are decided through the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s RPI system.
With that in mind, our new rankings have set up some must-watch games for Week 7.
Iowa City High has returned to the Top-10 in Class 5A after a 55-0 win over Davenport North. This week, the Little Hawks get top-ranked Pleasant Valley, who moved to 6-0 after crushing Bettendorf, 44-14.
Davenport West, ranked No. 8 this week, continued its magical season by improving to 6-0 after a 28-10 win over Dubuque Senior. The Falcons play Cedar Rapids Kennedy, who dropped to No. 7 after their first loss of the year to Cedar Falls.
Cedar Rapids Prairie has now won five in a row and has climbed to No. 5 in our latest 5A poll. They’ve got a big one this week, playing on the road against No. 4 Southeast Polk. It marks the first of a couple of Eastern Iowa vs. Central Iowa matchups over the next few weeks.
Other games deserve your attention this week. District races are heating up and some could even be decided this week. Other teams are trying to stay in the playoff hunt over the next few weeks.
The final three weeks should have all kinds of fireworks. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Dropped Out: Urbandale, Sioux City East
A huge defensive stand and a late scoring drive allowed the Ankeny football team to post a 34-24 victory over visiting Valley on Friday.
The third-ranked Hawks allowed just three points in the second half while raising their record to 5-1 on the season. The Tigers dropped to 3-3.
“That was a big one,” said Ankeny defensive back Ben Sandvig. “We just realized we’ve got to play some football. We’ve got to go hit. Our d(efensive) line came with some energy, and (assistant coach Aaron) Baugher gave a great speech at halftime. He got us fired up. It was a good half. We played well.”
Ankeny held a 27-21 lead after three quarters, but Valley threatened to score a go-ahead touchdown when the Tigers drove into the red zone midway through the final period. However, on third-and-2 from the Hawks’ 6-yard line, Darius Mason was stuffed for a 7-yard loss, forcing Valley to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Dawson Stine with 6 minutes 59 seconds left.
Ankeny then answered with a clutch nine-play, 80-yard drive to seal the win. Jazan Williams had seven carries for 39 yards on the drive, including a 4-yard dash up the middle for the touchdown with 1:47 remaining.
“It was definitely a huge win,” said Ankeny quarterback JJ Kohl, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. “Valley’s a great team. This was a good one for us.”
Kohl set up the clinching touchdown with a 34-yard pass to Jamison Patton. Patton had seven catches for 144 yards, including four receptions of 29 yards or more.
“(Those long passes) were there, so JJ just kept hitting me and we kept making plays,” said Patton. “I loved it.”
The Hawks outgained Valley by a 450-263 margin. The two teams combined for 426 yards of total offense in the first half, which ended in a 21-21 tie.
“Both offenses were really flowing in the first half,” said Kohl, who completed 14-of-20 passes for 249 yards. “It was good to see our defense finally get going. It was just a good team win overall.”
Kohl connected on 5-of-6 passes for 58 yards on the game’s opening drive. He scrambled 9 yards for a touchdown to give Ankeny a 7-0 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter.
Valley responded, though, with a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie the score. Quarterback Michael Provenza matched Kohl with a 9-yard scramble to the end zone.
“He can move,” Sandvig said of Provenza, who is planning to play lacrosse in college. “He’s a natural.”
A 40-yard punt return by Chase Hutchinson set up the Tigers’ next touchdown. After Ayden Price gained 23 yards on a reverse, Mason plunged across the goal line from 2 yards out to give Valley a 14-7 lead with 11 minutes left in the half.
Ankeny needed just eight plays to go 84 yards for a tying score. Kohl threw a 2-yard pass to Patton on fourth-and-1 to make it 14-14 with 7:43 remaining until the break.
Kohl fired passes of 29 and 30 yards to Patton on the drive.
“We’ve always had those plays in (our offense),” Kohl said. “We haven’t really connected as much as we’d like. Honestly, huge kudos to Jamo tonight. He just made a bunch of plays for me. Some of those I was just throwing it up to him. Great athletes make great plays, and Jamo definitely did tonight.”
The Tigers then drove 65 yards in 10 plays to regain a 21-14 lead. Provenza, who ran for 92 yards and passed for 114 more, scored again on a 10-yard run.
With only 1:40 left in the half, Ankeny didn’t have much time to respond. But the Hawks answered right away.
Patton was slow to get up after gaining 9 yards on a rushing attempt. But the injury wasn’t serious.
“I just had a charley horse,” he said. “I took a helmet to the quad. It just got a little tight on me.”
On the next play, Kohl lofted a pass along the right sideline to Maddox Ward, who caught the ball in stride, sidestepped a defender and raced 71 yards to the end zone.
“I saw they were in Cover 2 and I just tried to get outside, because the safety was playing more in the middle,” Ward said. “JJ hit with me with (the pass), and I just had to run my ass off. I juked the one guy, and no one else was there. I just couldn’t get caught (from behind).
“It was big. We wanted to at least be tied going into halftime, and then our defense got a big stop,” he added.
After the Hawks forced a three-and-out to begin the second half, Kohl dashed 30 yards to the Valley 27 on a designed run two plays later. The run by Kohl, who gained 70 yards on seven carries, set up a 30-yard field goal by Keeghan Warner shortly thereafter.
Another Valley punt gave Ankeny the ball near midfield. Four straight carries by Williams, who finished with 117 yards on 20 attempts, led to a 41-yard field goal by Warner.
That set the stage for the Hawks’ big defensive stand on Valley’s ensuing drive.
“It feels really good,” Patton said. “We kept the momentum going after the win over Roosevelt last week.”
The Hawks will travel to Des Moines North on Friday to play the Polar Bears (4-2), who have already won four games in a season for the first time since 2008.
Des Moines North's resurgence has been one of the coolest stories of the high school football season. The Polar Bears are 4-1 and have a chance to outright clinch a DMPS city title this Friday against Roosevelt (2-3).
North's turnaround season has been fueled by many different playmakers.
There's Aron Gonkaryon, Class 5A's leading rusher, with 1,094 yards, who also does a little bit of everything. There's David Caulker, a future Hawkeye who's currently third in 5A with 16 tackles for loss.
There's also Frank Konate and Augustine Sleh, and a bruising offensive line that's paved the way for the top rushing offense in all of 5A, and a stout defense that's in the top-half in points allowed per game in 5A.
The Polar Bears boast an offense that ranks eighth in Class 5A, at 30.4 points per game. They have also taken great care of the football, with a +8 turnover differential.
Went 17-3 last week, the best we've done this year. Puts us at 76-24 overall this season. That's a clean 76% through 100 games. Need to keep trending up.
Another 20 games this week, including some spectacular small-class matchups. Let's go.
This is typically a fantastic rivalry, but Pleasant Valley has won three in a row in this series, during which Bettendorf has scored 12 total points. Sparty by a lot. Pleasant Valley, 35-7
Sneaky fun matchup here! At least it could be. Dragons have been hot-and-cold this season and Dowling seems to have a few more things figured out. Dowling, 31-14
We've seen the last couple of weeks just how good Ankeny can be when everything is clicking. Valley's defense will cause some problems, but the Hawks might have a little too much firepower. Ankeny, 24-14
Linn-Mar showed they can be a scrappy team that's capable of hanging with the big dogs, but this Southeast Polk team might just be too big of a dog. Southeast Polk, 31-14
Another week, another set of positional rankings.
It’s now five weeks into the Iowa high school football season, and some players are having themselves a season.
Last week, the Des Moines Register highlighted the top quarterbacks in the state right now, from highly ranked recruits to players making an impact in the 8-player game. This time around, we’re looking at wide receivers.
There were a lot of athletes with the stats to make this list, but there are some players who have emerged as the best of the best in the state. It’s been a weird season: Some of the most highly touted receivers haven’t had the best seasons, while players who had flown under the radar made this list.
Again, the talent pool is deep, and this list does not include tight ends. But we had to narrow it down to the top receivers in this season, without accounting for past success.
Christian Janis, Iowa City West
Riley Hawkins, Moravia
Javion Jondle, Fort Dodge
Drew Kingery, Indianola
Jalen Lueth, Ames
Eric McGill, Woodbury Central
Cooper Nicholson, Dowling
.Gavin Phillips, Des Moines Christian
Cade Sears, Harlan
Walker Tart, Dubuque Senior
Just missed the cut:
2022-09-26 - Small changes in the Register's high school football rankings set up exciting Week 6 games – Des Moines Register by Cody Goodwin
There weren't many changes to the Des Moines Register's high school football rankings after Week 5, but some of the changes that were made set up an exciting Week 6.
Each of the seven No. 1-ranked teams held serve last Friday: Pleasant Valley in Class 5A; Lewis Central in 4A; Harlan in 3A; Williamsburg in 2A; Van Meter in 1A; West Hancock in Class A and Don Bosco in 8-Player.
Really, only seven total teams dropped out of our polls after losses last week, allowing a couple of teams to return to the rankings — a hearty welcome back to both Solon and Independence — and a handful more to make their debut:
Though changes were few, the Week 6 schedule will feature potentially explosive matchups.
In Class 5A, No. 6 Urbandale (4-1) hosts a surging No. 8 Ankeny Centennial (3-2). Both teams have won three in a row, and this result may loom large when it comes to playoff positioning.
More games will draw just as much interest, for a number of reasons — RPI positioning, district races, rivalries, pride. But we've officially entered the homestretch of the 2022 season. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
1. Pleasant Valley (5-0), beat Davenport North 49-12
2. Dowling Catholic (4-1), beat Council Bluffs Lincoln 52-0
3. Ankeny (4-1), beat Des Moines Roosevelt 35-18
4. Southeast Polk (4-1), beat Waterloo West 56-0
5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5-0), beat Dubuque Senior 38-0
6. Urbandale (4-1), beat Des Moines East 48-0
7. Cedar Rapids Prairie (4-1), beat Ottumwa 49-14
8. Ankeny Centennial (3-2), beat Sioux City East 31-28
9. Sioux City East (4-1), lost to Ankeny Centennial 31-28
10. Davenport West (5-0), beat Dubuque Hempstead 14-7
Dropped Out: Iowa City West
30. Ankeny High beat Roosevelt, 35-18, in a game that had to have been a little weird for Jamison Patton, an Iowa State recruit who plays receiver and safety for the Hawks but starred at Roosevelt before transferring to Ankeny.
31. On Friday, Patton hauled in 4 catches for 37 yards and rushed for 20 yards. Jazan Williams scored three touchdowns and rushed for 68 yards. Quarterback JJ Kohl threw for 196 yards, one touchdown, and had a nifty run for another.
Jamison Patton felt right at home on Friday night at Drake Stadium.
So did his Ankeny football teammates.
Patton caught four passes for 37 yards against his former team as the third-ranked Hawks built a 28-0 lead and went on to post a 35-18 victory over host Des Moines Roosevelt. He played for the Roughriders last season before transferring to Ankeny.
“I treated it just like any other game but it was definitely a different feeling than any other game,” said Patton, who also ran three times for 20 yards. “I got to talk to almost everyone. It felt so good to be back there. I’ve missed the feeling of playing in Drake and the whole atmosphere.”
Patton, a two-way starter and an Iowa State recruit, helped Ankeny improve to 4-1 on the season. The Roughriders’ record dropped to 2-3.
Patton mostly played on offense during Friday’s game, even though he’s expected to become a safety for the Cyclones next year.
“I think he wanted to do well,” said Ankeny coach Rick Nelson. “He did some nice things. He played a little bit on defense, but not a lot–maybe 10 snaps. We’re going to need to use him quite a bit next week (against Valley).”
Ankeny jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and then added two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Evan Irlmeier scored on a 9-yard pass from JJ Kohl to put the Hawks ahead with 5 minutes 7 seconds left in the opening period.
Jazan Williams scored the next two touchdowns before Kohl found the end zone himself to make it 28-0 with 4:18 remaining in the half.
“We started off pretty well, then kind of slowed down a little bit and then picked it back up,” Nelson said. “It was a good win. I wasn’t anticipating the rain–I think it rained the whole game.”
Roosevelt got on the board late in the first half to close the gap to 28-6. The Roughriders then scored again after recovering an onside kick to open the second half.
However, Ankeny then drove down the field and answered with Williams’ third touchdown run of the game.
“They got us on a trick play, then got us on a hurry-up play when we weren’t quite ready,” Nelson said. “We had a lot of penalties, especially in the second half. We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot. But overall, our kids played pretty well.”
Williams carried 17 times for 68 yards. He also caught two passes for 46 yards.
Kohl completed 11-of-18 passes for 196 yards. Irlmeier had three catches for 66 yards, and Jeremiah Kruger added a 38-yard reception.
“Jazan rushed well, Jamo did some nice things, and JJ had a nice game,” Nelson said. “I thought our line played pretty well.”
The Roughriders scored their final touchdown with 8:22 left in the game.
“They have a couple real nice players–like the big tight end,” Nelson said. “But we were happy. It’s always nice to win.”
The Hawks will host Valley (3-2) on Friday.
We've reached the midway point of the high school football regular season. Before long, we'll start crunching RPI numbers and closing in on district matchups. The playoffs begin in just 28 days for the small classes, and only a week later for the large classes.
It's wild how fast the season goes every fall. If you blink, you'll miss some pretty important happenings.
So to kick off Week 5, here's an outline of the stories and developments that we're following:
This week, Ankeny plays Des Moines Roosevelt, a game that might draw a lot of interest here in Central Iowa if only because Jamison Patton, the Hawks' star receiver and safety, used to play for the Roughriders.
The other Ankeny team, Centennial, hosts undefeated Sioux City East this week. This is something of a prove-it game for the Raiders, one of four remaining unbeaten 5A schools and one of just 44 undefeated teams statewide entering Week 5.
Another Des Moines team, North, has a chance to sweep all the DMPS schools. The Polar Bears have already beaten Hoover and East. They play Lincoln this week and Roosevelt next week. =
There are certainly many more. In the coming weeks, postseason pictures will take shape and we'll start focusing on the games that will play a role in deciding those precious playoff spots.
Welcome to Week 5. Buckle up and enjoy the ride, because it'll be over before we know it.
Took a step in the right direction last week, going 16-4. We're now 59-21 for the season. That's about 73.8%, so we've still got some work to do.
Another 20 games here for Week 5. Let's make it happen.
No. 3 Ankeny vs. Des Moines Roosevelt
If JJ Kohl plays like he did last week — 21-of-23, 261 yards, 4 touchdowns — the Hawks may never lose again. … Ankeny 40-10
Four weeks of high school football is a good benchmark to see who the top players are at some of the major positions.
There is still plenty of time for athletes to emerge as playmakers, but some players have already separated themselves from the crowd.
And what better way to start than with a look at the top quarterbacks in Iowa this season. We're listing 10 quarterbacks who have been difference-makers for their programs. That includes everyone from the No. 2 recruit in the 2023 class to a standout in the 8-player class.
Plenty of other quarterbacks could have made this list. It’s a tough position to judge when each team has a different system and when the talent pool is so deep. But we had to narrow it down.
Here are the top 10 quarterbacks in Iowa high school football at this point in the season, and five players who just barely missed the cut. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
JJ Kohl, Ankeny
It was a bit of a slow start to the season for the Iowa State quarterback commit. But Kohl is still the best quarterback in the state, and he stepped up big-time in the Hawks' state championship rematch against Southeast Polk.
Through four games, Kohl has thrown for 822 yards and six touchdowns, although he was picked off three times. His 64.3 completion percentage on 112 attempts is solid for competing in Class 5A.
It was a bit of a slow start to the season for the Iowa State quarterback commit. But Kohl is still the best quarterback in the state, and he stepped up big-time in the Hawks' state championship rematch against Southeast Polk.
Through four games, Kohl has thrown for 822 yards and six touchdowns, although he was picked off three times. His 64.3 completion percentage on 112 attempts is solid for competing in Class 5A.
Ankeny’s offense has been one of the best units in Class 5A for some time, and a lot of that had to do with the Kohl’s arm. He’s a Division I recruit with the size, athleticism and arm talent to one day be a pro, and he knows how to command an offense.
But something wasn’t clicking in the first three weeks of the 2022 season.
Yes, Ankeny was 2-1 coming into Friday’s game. But the most points the Hawks have scored in a game this season is 17, and Ankeny did not look like the dominant offense everyone expected this season.
The Hawks dropped last week’s game to Dowling, 17-10, in what should’ve been an offensive game featuring two of the top quarterbacks in the state. In total, Kohl has 561 yards this season, which might seem like a lot for most quarterbacks three games in, but Kohl has pushed himself to a higher standard.
Friday’s game was different. Not only did the Hawks score three touchdowns in the first half alone, but all three of those scores were passing plays from Kohl. It’s not like Kohl needed a performance like this to boost his confidence, but it certainly can’t hurt.
“We moved some guys around,” Kohl said. “Offensively, we got some different personnel in there and I feel like that was huge for us. Just trying to find different way to be productive with the ball. We were struggling a little the past couple weeks, just trying to get points on the board.”
The Hawks clearly had a strong game plan for the Rams. Southeast Polk ran the ball way more than the Rams passed it, which could’ve worked better if Ankeny didn’t seem to know what SEP was doing before the snap. The Hawks' defense was speedy and they swarmed to the ball.
A lot can happen in four weeks.
Already, the 2022 high school football season is approaching the halfway mark of the regular season. The smaller classes are well into district play while the power balances in the large classes are beginning to crystallize.
As such, we’re making a mid-season revisit to our Super 10, our poll that ranks the state’s 10 best high school football teams, regardless of class — and there have been plenty of changes from our preseason edition.
Most notably, a new team sits atop our Super 10 rankings, an additional Class 4A team now in the mix, and plenty of new teams that makeup our best-in-the-state poll.
Like we said, a lot can happen in four weeks.
Read on for our mid-season Super 10 assessment.
1. Pleasant Valley Spartans
The Spartans are off to a 4-0 start for the second time in three years. They also started 4-0 in 2020, and ultimately reached the state semifinals that year. This team, after outscoring their first four opponents by a combined 142-21, is plenty capable of that.
It’s not unreasonable to think this Pleasant Valley team could run the table the rest of the way, but the remaining schedule isn’t exactly a cakewalk.
2. Dowling Catholic Maroons
The Mighty Maroons are back.
Dowling is 3-1 after the first four weeks, powering its way to three straight wins after a Week 1 loss to Southeast Polk. Those wins: a dominant 45-17 win over Waukee Northwest, an impressive 17-10 win over Ankeny, and a thorough 34-0 beating over Iowa City High.
After that gnarly stretch to begin the season, the Maroons have a much lighter stretch the rest of the way. Intriguing matchups with Johnston and West Des Moines Valley await over the final five weeks, but an 8-1 regular-season record seems within reach.
3. Ankeny Hawks
Ankeny’s been an odd team to judge through the first few weeks.
The Hawks rallied to win its first two games this season, over a Waukee team that’s now 1-3, and an Ankeny Centennial squad in a rivalry game. That come-from-behind script bit them in a Week 3 loss to Dowling Catholic, because, well, they didn’t come from behind.
Then they hung 31 points on Southeast Polk, who through the first three weeks this season looked every bit like the state’s top team. JJ Kohl went 21-for-23 for 261 yards and four touchdowns and the offense put up 327 yards. The Hawks very much go as he goes.
So No. 3 seems right, at least for now. Ankeny is clearly a top team, capable of winning it all with the star-power on that roster, but have also shown an ability to fall short if they aren’t firing on all cylinders.
4. Southeast Polk Rams
Maybe dropping the Rams to No. 4 is harsh after just one loss, but considering they, Ankeny, and Dowling have all beaten each other, there’s a case to be made that they could be anywhere between Nos. 2, 3, or 4.
Southeast Polk still has the look of a team capable of scaling the Class 5A mountain this season. Recall just last year, when the Rams lost a lopsided Week 4 contest to Ankeny, led by a stellar performance by Kohl. Southeast Polk got them back in November.
Just like last season, the Rams still have everything in front of them. Their remaining schedule features, currently, just one team with a winning record. Much like Dowling and Ankeny, an 8-1 regular-season finish is on the table.
5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy Cougars
Kennedy rounds out the top-tier of Class 5A teams after toppling Iowa City West, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids Washington and, this past week, Cedar Rapids Jefferson. They’ve won those four games by a combined 144-31. Pretty good!
Like Pleasant Valley, the Cougars haven’t faced the toughest schedule yet — both Bettendorf and Jefferson are 0-4, for example — but that season-opening win over West may end up paying dividends come playoff time.
The good news is that Kennedy has ample chances over the next few weeks to solidify their standing as a 5A contender, with games against Dubuque Senior (3-1), Cedar Falls (2-2), Davenport West (4-0) and Johnston (2-2) all up next.
6. Lewis Central Titans
Lewis Central, now 4-0 after topping Indianola 34-16, checks in at No. 6, the highest-ranking Class 4A team in our undated Super 10. The Titans withstood four consecutive early-season tests against teams that, currently, are all 3-1 after four weeks.
The reward for a 4-0 start is a lighter schedule down the stretch, at least on paper. Lewis Central looks the part of a team capable of winning another state title. The offense has found its groove — 35.3 points per game — and the defense is doing just enough.
7. Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints
… these Saints look equally as dominant as the Titans in Class 4A.
While the Titans are lighting it up offensively, Xavier is locking teams down defensively. allowing seven points per game in its 4-0 start. Their latest masterpiece was a 17-0 shutout against North Scott, who was previously undefeated and averaged 41 points per game.
Xavier and Lewis Central tangled in an epic overtime state championship game last season. After just four weeks this season, it’s not hard to imagine they may end up meeting again in late November.
8. Sioux City East Raiders
Perhaps a surprise? The Raiders are 4-0 for the first time since 2014. They actually started 5-0 that season, then stumbled to a 6-4 finish.
The coming weeks will reveal if this East team will write a different ending, or suffer a similar fate. They face Centennial, Waukee Northwest, Des Moines East, Des Moines Roosevelt and Sioux City West the rest of the way.
There’s a world where a 6-3 East team misses the playoffs. There’s also a world where they finish 7-2, 8-1, perhaps even 9-0. That’s ultimately up to them.
9. Iowa City West Trojans
How about Iowa City West?
The Trojans, 2-7 a year ago, are now winners of three straight games and back as a Class 5A team to pay attention to the rest of the year. The offense has put up 42, 40, and 42 points in each of the last three weeks, led by sophomore quarterback Jack Wallace, who thrown for 786 yards and 10 touchdowns over four games this season.
West has plenty of challenges remaining, with matchups against City High, Cedar Rapids Prairie and Pleasant Valley still coming, but they are rounding into a formidable team that could make some noise not just in future seasons, but perhaps this season as well.
10. Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks
The Go-Hawks check in at No. 10 in our updated Super 10, giving Class 4A three teams in our list of the state’s best teams. They’ve brutalized all four of their opponents thus far, by a combined 147-21.
Waverly-Shell Rock was a UNI-Dome team a year ago, and look like they could emerge again from a crowded second tier in Class 4A to reach the semifinals again. A ferocious defense and overwhelming offense has been the formula thus far.
We’ll see how long they can keep rolling.
For the third time in five weeks, the Des Moines Register’s high school football rankings feature a new No. 1 team in Class 5A.
But for the first time this season, it’s a team out of eastern Iowa that’s on top of the heap.
Pleasant Valley, now 4-0 after dismantling Muscatine 49-9 on Friday, is the Register’s new top-ranked team in Class 5A, taking over a spot previously held by both Ankeny and Southeast Polk.
The Spartans, ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll, have looked dominant thus far, outscoring their opponents 142-21. That, in tandem with Dowling, Southeast Polk and Ankeny all beating each other in the first four weeks, helped elevate Pleasant Valley to the top spot.
While Pleasant Valley taking over at the top was the most notable change in our Week 5 rankings, there were plenty of shuffling throughout the 5A poll and across all seven classes.
Johnston, Iowa City High, and Cedar Falls all lost last week, allowing Iowa City West, Urbandale, and Ankeny Centennial to jump into the top-10 in 5A.
1. Pleasant Valley (4-0), beat Muscatine 49-9
2. Dowling Catholic (3-1), beat Iowa City High 34-0
3. Ankeny (3-1), beat Southeast Polk 31-14
4. Southeast Polk (3-1), lost to Ankeny 31-14
5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-0), beat Cedar Rapids Jefferson 55-6
6. Sioux City East (4-0), beat Sergeant Bluff-Luton 42-14
7. Iowa City West (3-1), beat Davenport North 42-7
8. Urbandale (3-1), beat Des Moines Roosevelt 37-13
9. Cedar Rapids Prairie (3-1), beat Bettendorf 18-17
10. Ankeny Centennial (2-2), beat Cedar Falls 28-14
Dropped Out: Johnston, Iowa City High, Cedar Falls
1. Let’s have a power balance conversation.
2. The list of Class 5A contenders has crystallized now that we’re four weeks into the season. For my money, right now, there are five teams in that top tier.
3. Those five teams: Pleasant Valley, Dowling Catholic, Ankeny, Southeast Polk, Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Their order depends on the results from the most recent week.
4. The three central Iowa teams have all beaten each other — Southeast Polk thumped Dowling in Week 1; the Maroons powered through Ankeny in Week 3; and the Hawks toppled the Rams this past week — because of course they did.
5. The two eastern Iowa teams are interesting. They’re both 4-0. They both have, on paper, favorable schedules down the stretch. And they won’t face each other until the postseason.
6. We like Pleasant Valley, a lot, so much that we elevated them to No. 1 in our Week 5 rankings. That doesn’t mean we don’t like Cedar Rapids Kennedy, for the record. We have them at No. 5.
7. But are they good enough to beat any of the three central Iowa powers? History says not likely. Eastern Iowa teams are a combined 5-22 against Central Iowa teams in the postseason since 2009, which was the last time an Eastern Iowa team won a large-class state title.
8. But that, tangentially, spurs thoughts of potential playoff structure.
9. If both Pleasant Valley and Kennedy run the table, will the Iowa High School Athletic Association pair them together in the same quarter, meaning only one will reach the semifinals at the UNI-Dome? Or will they be separated?
10. At the same time, what does that mean for the three Central Iowa teams, who are all likely eyeing 8-1 regular-season records? Will they be separated? Or will we see a quarterfinal rematch?
11. After four weeks and all these results, the playoff picture is part of the power balance conversation. It will continue to take shape as the rest of the season unfolds.
18. So remember how Ankeny, Dowling, and Southeast Polk have all beaten each other? Check this out:
19. This week, Waukee Northwest beat Johnston, who’s beaten Urbandale, who’s beaten West Des Moines Valley, who’s beaten — ready? — Northwest.
20. That win for the Wolves, their first of the season, was impressive. They picked off Johnston quarterback Will Nuss twice and rushed for 268 yards — Sam Johnson and Brady Grisham both topped 100 — in a dominant victory.
21. We could rope Ankeny Centennial into that circle of chaos, too, since they beat Cedar Falls, who beat Johnston, who beat Urbandale, who beat … you get it.
22. The Jaguars are now 2-2 after starting 0-2. They beat Cedar Falls this Friday, 28-14. Elijah Porter rushed 21 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns. The junior is up to 396 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this season.
23. Centennial is also the only Class 5A team to reach 2-2 after an 0-2 start. Keep an eye out.
2022-09-17 - Here are the top performers from Week 4 of Iowa high school football
Week 4 was a wild one, huh?
Two top-10 matchups in Iowa's biggest classes resulted in one upset and one blowout. There were tons of close games throughout the state and a lot of big wins too. School records were shattered, defenses held strong and pinpoint passes were thrown. This list could probably stretch into the 50s with how many quality performances we saw on Friday.
But alas, we have to narrow it down a little bit. So without further ado, here are the top performers from Week 4 of Iowa high school football action.
JJ Kohl, Ankeny QB
Kohl, an Iowa State commit, hadn't been looking like himself through the first three weeks of the season. The Hawks stumbled to a 2-1 record through three weeks and all indications pointed toward them getting blown out against no. 1 Southeast Polk on Friday.
But that wasn't going to happen on Kohl's watch. He completed 21 of his 24 attempts for 261 yards in a four-touchdown performance, three of which came in the first half, during Ankeny's 31-14 drubbing of the Rams.
On paper, the Ankeny football team was expected to have an explosive offense in 2022.
After being held to 17.7 points per game in the first three weeks of the season, the fourth-ranked Hawks finally unleashed their lethal attack on Friday.
Quarterback JJ Kohl completed 21-of-23 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns to lead Ankeny to a 31-14 victory at No. 1 Southeast Polk in a rematch of the last two state championship games. Both teams are now 3-1.
“Tonight we were just clicking offensively,” said Kohl, who entered the game with more interceptions (3) than scoring passes (2). “The coaches put together a great game plan, and we had a good week of practice. We were very focused. It just showed tonight. It was a good win.”
Ankeny’s defense also played a key role in the victory. Reid Johnson, PJ Westover and Jamison Patton each had an interception for the Hawks.
“We knew we needed to get some interceptions so we could keep the offense on the field,” said Johnson. “We did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Patton also caught nine passes for 87 yards. His 14-yard scoring reception early in the second quarter put the Hawks ahead for good, 14-7.
“I knew we had it in us,” Patton said. “It was just a matter of time to let it loose.”
Johnson intercepted a pass from Southeast Polk quarterback Connor Moberly on the Rams’ next possession. That led to a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kohl to Evan Irlmeier three plays later.
Irlmeier, a sophomore, had three catches for 94 yards. He also scored on a 33-yard reception less than 3 minutes into the game.
“He’s kind of our little secret, but I don’t think he’s a secret anymore,” Kohl said. “He played a great game tonight. He just balled out for us, and it was awesome to see him play that well.”
Southeast Polk closed the gap to 21-14 with a 13-play, 70-yard drive to open the second half. Moberly capped the drive with a 1-yard sneak.
On Ankeny’s next play from scrimmage, Kohl threw a 42-yard bomb to Irlmeier that eventually resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Keeghan Warner, giving the Hawks a 24-14 advantage with 1 minute 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
“He’s been working all year, and it’s just time for him to break out,” Patton said of Irlmeier. “He finally broke out.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Southeast Polk failed to handle a pooch kick and Ankeny recovered at the Rams’ 23-yard line. Kohl then completed six straight passes, sandwiched around an offensive pass interference penalty, to complete the scoring.
Jeremiah Kruger caught a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14 with 10 minutes left.
“We simplified (the offense) a little bit, and that definitely helped us get things going,” Kohl said.
Ankeny running back Jazan Williams was held to 29 yards rushing on 13 carries, but he caught seven passes for 55 yards. The Hawks didn’t have to punt until midway through the fourth quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we all did our jobs and we came out on top. It felt good (to not have to punt until late in the game),” said Johnson, who also serves as the Hawks’ punter.
Southeast Polk outgained Ankeny by a 336-327 margin. But the Rams couldn’t overcome their turnovers as well as another drive that stalled at the Hawks’ 12-yard line to end the first half.
Southeast Polk also moved the ball into the red zone late in the game before Patton picked off a pass at the goal line and returned it to midfield, sealing the verdict and snapping the Rams’ 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
“I missed a couple tackles (on that drive), so I was a little mad,” Patton said. “I had to get my redemption. I saw (the receiver) coming on the in route, and I grabbed the opportunity to jump the ball.”
Southeast Polk played without star running Abu Sama, who sat out with an undisclosed injury. His replacement, Harrison Gibson, ran 28 times for 151 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The Hawks bounced back from last week’s 17-10 loss to Dowling Catholic.
“It feels great,” Patton said. “Last week left a bitter taste in our mouth, and it was good to come out here and get the victory.”
Ankeny will play Patton’s former team, Des Moines Roosevelt (2-2), on Friday at Drake Stadium.
2022-09-17 - Friday, Sep. 16 high school football statistics – special to the Des Moines Register by Staff Report
Iowa City High 0 0 0 0 — 0
Dowling Catholic 14 7 6 7 — 34
Rushing: DC: Davis 10-65, TD; ICH: Larson 13-32.
Passing: DC: Smolik 12-21-153, TD; ICH: Larson 19-41-176.
Receiving: DCHS: Thompson 4-60; ICH: Mattox 8-128.
Ankeny 7 14 3 7 -- 31
Southeast Polk 7 0 7 0 -- 14
Rushing: Ankeny: Williams 13-29; SEP: Gibson 28-151, TD
Passing: Ankeny: Kohl 21-261, 4 TD; SEP: Moberly 19-169
Receiving: Ankeny: Irlmeier 3-95, 2 TD; SEP: Zelenovich 5-54
On Friday, two of the top high school football teams in Class 5A met in Pleasant Hill when No. 1 Southeast Polk hosted No. 4 Ankeny.
But it wasn't just a rematch of the 2021 5A state title game — in which the Rams came out on top. Friday's game also had four of top in-state prospects in the 2023 class.
Four-star quarterback JJ Kohl and three-star athlete Jamison Patton suited up for Ankeny, and five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor and three-star athlete Abu Sama took the field for Southeast Polk. Kohl, Patton and Sama are all committed to Iowa State, while Proctor is headed to Iowa.
While Ankeny has struggled at times this season, it was the Hawks that came out on top. Ankeny beat Southeast Polk, 31-14, and improved to 3-1 this season. SEP dropped to 3-1.
Welp, Week 4 of Iowa high school football is nearly in the books now and what a week it was.
The No. 1 team in the state, Southeast Polk, went down for the first time this season, falling to No. 4 Ankeny. It's not that shocking on paper since the Hawks were our preseason No. 1 team, but they weren't looking too great through the first three weeks of the season. Class 4 A No. 1 Lewis Central ripped off 21 points in six minutes to take down No. 6 Indianola. 5A No. 7 Johnston was stunned by formerly winless Waukee Northwest 21-7.
Dowling, the No. 3 team in Class 5A, dominated No. 9 Iowa City High. 34-0. The Little Hawks only made it into the red zone once as the Maroons racked up close to 200 yards on the ground.
10. There are 10 that are just the Hawks: Ankeny, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Central Lee, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Kee, Lynnville-Sully, Remsen St. Mary’s, South Hamilton, West Delaware, Woodward-Granger. The Hawk schools went 6-4 on Friday.
28. Dowling Catholic topped Ankeny, 17-10. The Maroons piled up 318 total yards of offense, including 191 on the ground, and held the ball for more than 30 minutes. The defense recorded two sacks and allowed just 234 yards to the Hawks — and 80 came on a single play, Jazan Williams’ third-quarter touchdown run.
Des Moines Register by Cody Goodwin
Welcome to Week 4 of the high school football season, where our weekly rankings look similar to how they looked last week.
By that, we mean that six of the seven number one teams are still number one after their Week 3 games. The only change came in Class 1A, where Van Meter and West Sioux flip-flopped for the second-straight week.
The tops of our polls remain mostly the same — 31 of the 35 teams ranked fifth or better in their respectie classes from last week remain in the top five this week — but there was some notable shuffling in a handful of classes, particularly in Class 5A and 4A.
Four of last week's top-10 teams in Iowa's largest class went down this past Friday, and two, W.D.M. Valley and Ames, tumbled out of this week's rankings, making room for Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City High to return, at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively.
In Class 4A, four more ranked teams lost, and three — Norwalk, Iowa City Liberty, Webster City — dropped out of the top-10, allowing Spencer to return at No. 7 and both Clear Creek Amana and Carlisle to debut, at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.
The rest of our Week 4 rankings can be found below:
1. Southeast Polk (3-0), beat Waukee Northwest 42-21
2. Pleasant Valley (3-0), beat Linn-Mar 14-7 (OT)
3. Dowling Catholic (2-1), beat #4 Ankeny 17-10
4. Ankeny (2-1), lost to #3 Dowling Catholic 17-10
5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (3-0), beat 4A-#9 Cedar Rapids Washington 27-6
6. Sioux City East (3-0), beat LeMars 52-17
7. Johnston (2-1), beat Dallas Center-Grimes 44-21
8. Cedar Rapids Prairie (2-1), beat #10 Cedar Falls 24-7
9. Iowa City High (2-1), beat Ames 55-19
10. Cedar Falls (2-1), lost to #8 Cedar Rapids Prairie 24-7
Dropped Out: West Des Moines Valley, Ames
A loss early in the season doesn’t mean that the Ankeny football team won’t be playing for a championship in November.
In 2020, the Hawks suffered a loss at Waukee in Week 2, but went on to capture the Class 4A state title.
Last year, Ankeny was 4-2 at one point, but still went on to play for the Class 5A championship.
Now, the Hawks will try to rebound once again.
Fourth-ranked Dowling Catholic survived a Hail Mary pass on the game’s final play to post a 17-10 victory at No. 3 Ankeny on Friday. Both teams are now 2-1 on the season.
“We’re going to be there in the end,” said Ankeny coach Rick Nelson. “We’ve just got to keep getting better. We weren’t quite good enough tonight.”
Friday’s game was billed as a matchup between two of the state’s top quarterbacks. Ankeny’s JJ Kohl has verbally committed to play for Iowa State, while Dowling’s Jaxon Smolik is headed to Penn State.
But on a windy night at Ankeny Stadium, the Hawks struggled to get their offense untracked. Kohl actually ran for more yards (28) than he passed (22) in the first half, which ended with the Maroons holding a 7-3 lead.
“I think the wind affected us a little bit,” said Ankeny running back Jazan Williams, who rushed for 102 yards on 11 carries. “If we could have got some momentum in the passing game, it could have opened up some other things.”
Smolik, meanwhile, completed 9-of-12 passes for 73 yards in the first half, including a 47-yard scoring toss to Cooper Nicholson on the game’s opening drive. But it was the Maroons’ potent ground game that dominated much of the second half.
Ra’Shawd Davis ran for 105 yards on 23 carries, while CJ Phillip ran 20 times for 70 yards. The two backs rotated throughout the game.
Davis had nine consecutive carries for 49 yards on Dowling’s opening drive in the second half. Smolik then scored on a 1-yard sneak to give the Maroons a 14-3 lead.
“Dowling’s a good football team,” Nelson said. “Defensively, I thought we played probably our best game. I was proud of our defense.”
The Maroons started their next possession at Ankeny’s 39-yard line, but the Hawks quickly forced a punt that sailed into the end zone.
Then, on the next play, Williams took a handoff from Kohl, found a hole at the line of scrimmage and dashed 80 yards for a touchdown, pulling Ankeny to within 14-10 midway through the third quarter.
“Our line just got things going a little bit, got our blocks where they were supposed to be, and I just found my hole and hit it,” Williams said.
Nelson said the play showed a glimpse of the Hawks’ potential.
“We’re close on some things,” he said. “On that big long run, we actually got into the second level. But other than that, I don’t think (Williams) ever got to the second level.”
Ankeny’s Dylan Dougherty recovered a fumble by Smolik on Dowling’s next possession, but the Hawks were unable to capitalize and had to punt.
Later, Kohl threw a 40-yard pass to Jeremiah Kruger–his longest completion of the night–early in the fourth quarter, but the Maroons knocked the ball loose at the end of the play and recovered at Dowling’s 40-yard line.
“I never had a doubt that we weren’t going to win,” Williams said. “I thought we could come back, and we kept fighting. It was just mental errors, and we beat ourselves tonight.”
Dowling then used an 11-play drive, including a 23-yard pass from Smolik to Nicholson on fourth-and-6, to set up a 19-yard field goal by Andrew Schumacher. It gave the Maroons a 17-10 advantage with 3:08 remaining.
Ankeny turned the ball over on downs with 1:52 left, but eventually got the ball back at its 31-yard line with 28 seconds to go. Kohl completed passes of 18 yards to Jamison Patton and 10 yards to Maddox Ward on fourth-and-7, giving the Hawks a final play from Dowling’s 38 with 3 seconds on the clock.
Kohl rolled out to his right and then lofted a pass into the end zone. But it was batted down by the Maroons’ Justus Williams and Matthew Hanten.
“I thought both quarterbacks threw the ball pretty well,” Nelson said. “I think it was the kicking game with the field position that was more of a factor with the wind.”
Kohl finished 15-of-30 for 115 yards. Smolik went 13-of-19 for 122 yards as Dowling outgained the Hawks by a 319-234 margin.
Ankeny got a 39-yard field goal from Keeghan Warner to cut the Maroons’ lead to 7-3 with 4:04 left in the first quarter. But the rest of the half turned into a defensive struggle–the two teams combined for six consecutive punts and just one first down in the second quarter.
Kael Halstead led the Hawks’ defensive effort with 9.5 tackles.
“I’m not taking anything away from Dowling, but I think we’re better than 10 points,” Nelson said. “We’ve just got to flush this because we’ve got another tough opponent next week. I think they will.”
Ankeny will play at No. 1 Southeast Polk (3-0) on Friday in a rematch of last year’s Class 5A final, which was won by the Rams, 24-7.
So. Big game in Iowa City this week.
We're referring to the Little Cy-Hawk matchup, of course, between Iowa City High and Ames High. This is a space exclusively for high school football, after all.
But it's also Cy-Hawk Week. The annual Iowa-Iowa State game is set for Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium. Rivalry week is always fun because it sparks tremendous trash talk and the retelling of great stories from yesteryear.
Here, then, is an assortment of quick Cy-Hawk thoughts — but with a twist:
For Iowa State, Ankeny's JJ Kohl and Jamison Patton, Urbandale's Kai Black, Southeast Polk's Abu Sama, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn's Kooper Ebel, and, again, many more.
On Saturday, the stage is set again for Campbell and Iowa's defense to battle Hunter Dekkers, a West Sioux legend, and Iowa State's offense. Here's hoping they all put forth another memorable Cy-Hawk performance.
Week 3 games to watch and predictions
Went 14-6 in Week 2, bringing my two-week total to 29-11. That's 72.5%. We're trending down. Not great.
Week 3 picks are below. Perhaps I'll get back on track. Let's go.
#4 Dowling Catholic at #3 Ankeny
Ankeny has rallied from back-to-back slow starts and enters this week 2-0, but a slow start against these Maroons is like playing with fire. Dowling, 24-21
1. Southeast Polk (2-0), beat West Des Moines Valley 24-7
2. Pleasant Valley (2-0), beat Dubuque Hempstead 42-0
3. Ankeny (2-0), beat Ankeny Centennial 17-10
4. Dowling Catholic (1-1), beat Waukee Northwest 45-19
5. Cedar Falls (2-0), beat Waterloo West 57-0
6. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (2-0), beat Bettendorf 34-0
7. West Des Moines Valley (1-1), lost to Southeast Polk 24-7
8. Sioux City East (3-0), beat Sioux City North 28-2
9. Ames (2-0), beat Fort Dodge 36-32
10. Johnston (1-1), beat Urbandale 24-7
Dropped Out: Urbandale, Linn-Mar
The 29 things we learned from Week 2 of the high school football season:
1. You know, we normally learn a lot from Week 1 — about certain tendencies and trends that teams will showcase, how they might stack up competitively, things like that.
18. Weird trend: Ankeny is now 2-0 but has had to rally to win both games. Last week, they trailed 7-0 before beating Waukee 26-7. This week, they trailed Centennial 10-3 before winning 17-10.
29. A reminder, there are only 36 teams in Class 5A, and after two weeks, 10 are undefeated and 9 are winless.
Jamison Patton transferred to Ankeny to play in football games like Friday night’s showdown against Ankeny Centennial.
The move has paid off for the Hawks.
Patton scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and second-ranked Ankeny went on to defeat the Jaguars, 17-10, before an overflow crowd at Ankeny Stadium. The former Des Moines Roosevelt standout caught eight passes for 112 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“It was intense,” said Patton of the Jag-Hawk rivalry. “We were going at it all game.”
The Hawks (2-0) won for only the third time in the history of the rivalry. Centennial (0-2) now owns an 8-3 lead in the all-time series.
Ankeny avenged last year’s 14-7 loss to the Jaguars, when former Centennial quarterback JJ Kohl struggled against his old team.
“It feels great to win this one,” said Ankeny receiver Maddox Ward, who scored the tying touchdown in the second quarter. “Last year was disappointing–probably the worst loss of my life actually. Coming out here and winning today is awesome.”
Kohl completed 21-of-26 passes for 203 yards in the win. The Hawks outgained Centennial by a 286-225 margin.
“They’re coached up well, and they have some good athletes, too,” Kohl said of the Jaguars. “It’s always going to be a hard time when you’re playing a team like that. But I feel like offensively we did our job when we needed to. We’ve still got some things to work on, but it’s better to learn off a win than a loss.”
The game was tied at halftime, 10-10. Ankeny then opened the second half with a seven-play, 64-yard drive to take the lead for good, getting help from a 15-yard face-mask penalty against the Jaguars.
Kohl threw passes of 6 yards to Patton, 16 yards to Will Hinrichs and 7 yards to Evan Irlmeier before Patton took the ball on an end around and waltzed 14 yards into the end zone with 8 minutes 53 seconds left in the third quarter.
“The first time (we ran that play) was a little rocky, but we came back to it and the line had some incredible blocks and I got in,” Patton said.
The Hawks had a chance to increase their lead on their next possession, when they drove to Centennial’s 5-yard line before the drive stalled. They set up for a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-3, but after the Jaguars were called for an offsides penalty, Ankeny coach Rick Nelson elected to go for a first down on fourth-and-inches.
However, Jazan Williams was tackled for a 1-yard loss on the ensuing play.
“That really hurt us when we kept taking timeouts down here, and we still didn’t run the play right,” Nelson said. “We might have needed five timeouts to get that right. I don’t know what happened. I think if we had scored there, we would have felt a little better.”
It didn’t matter, though, as Ankeny’s defense held the Jaguars to just 55 total yards in the second half. Centennial had as many punts as first downs (3) in the last two quarters.
“We felt like we could shut them down,” said Ankeny linebacker Connor Kayser, who forced a fumble that went out of bounds when he sacked Centennial quarterback Trenton Smith in the third quarter. “We thought if we kept them to seven points, we were going to be in good shape. We gave up a little more than that, but our offense got the job done. It’s a good win.”
The Jaguars started their final drive at their 27-yard line with 1:33 left. Smith scrambled for an 11-yard gain that moved the chains, but he was eventually tackled at the Centennial 46 on fourth-and-4–2 yards shy of a first down–by Ankeny defender Nolan Morrison with 57 seconds remaining.
Smith was held to just 35 yards through the air on 7-of-16 passing.
“We got behind the sticks quite a bit, and I knew the second half we were going to have to balance it out,” said Centennial co-head coach Ryan Pezzetti. “And once they got the lead, it put us in a situation where we had to throw, and with the pressure defense that they run it’s hard to protect the quarterback in the pocket.”
In last year’s game, Centennial quarterback Peyton Goode ran for two touchdowns as the Jaguars pulled off the stunning upset. On Friday, Ankeny’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half.
“Last year we just kind of pooped ourselves,” Kayser said. “And we were kind of shaky in game one (at Waukee), but we bounced back–we’re a second-half team. Our defense played really well the second half tonight, and we held them.”
Centennial’s Elijah Porter ran for 88 yards on 16 carries, while Easton Miller carried six times for 43 yards. Most of those yards came in the first half.The Jaguars opened the game with a 16-play drive that took more than 8 minutes off the clock.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Nelson said. “And they came out and just pounded the ball at us–five yards every crack. Oh man, I was like, ‘Uh oh’. But at least we didn’t give up any points.”
Centennial converted two third downs and a fourth down before the drive finally ended on an incomplete pass by Smith at Ankeny’s 30.
“Our kids played hard. They really did,” Pezzetti said. “They came out and executed that first drive, which was everything we wanted. I don’t think we knew we’d be able to run the ball that well against them.
“We knew we had to go for it on fourth down, because we were just out of field-goal range. We thought we had the right play called, but we just didn’t execute,” he added.
Ankeny answered with a 13-play, 77-yard drive that produced a 25-yard field goal by Keeghan Warner with 10:20 left in the first half. Kohl was 4-of-6 on the drive for 55 yards.
The Jaguars tied the game less than 3 minutes later on a 30-yard field goal by Cael Wiener. Porter started the drive with four consecutive carries for 45 yards.
After a short punt by the Hawks, Centennial needed just four plays to drive 29 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Miller ran 10 yards for the score with 5:15 to go until halftime.
“We had a lot of momentum going,” Miller said. “We definitely showed what we have, but unfortunately we came up short. I felt like we could have done more on the offensive side. The defense played their hearts out. But overall, it’s a team loss, and we’ll lose as a team.”
After an exchange of punts, Ankeny drove 77 yards in just four plays to tie the game. Ward broke free in the end zone and caught a 17-yard pass from Kohl with 1:33 left in the second quarter.
“I was trying to have Jamo (Patton) move in, but then we snapped it and I saw everyone (on defense) was committed to the run,” Ward said. “It was play-action, and I was wide open. I was thinking about my cele(bration) when I was doing my route. I did a little Karate Kid.”
Kohl threw passes of 12 and 42 yards to Patton to set up the touchdown.
“It kind of seemed like we couldn’t get things going, but that drive was huge,” Kohl said. “Shoutout to my O-line and to Jamo for making a huge play there, and then Maddox with the touchdown grab. That was a really good drive, and credit to our coaches too for scheming it up.”
Patton had four catches for 86 yards in the first half alone. He seldom left the field on Friday–starting at both receiver and defensive back and returning kicks as well.
“He is a dynamite receiver and a phenomenal athlete,” Pezzetti said of Patton. “He’s a DI (recruit), and those guys can get open in a hurry. You’ve just got to try to hold up in the back end as much as you can, but when you have talented kids like that, it makes it tough.”
Kohl, who will play with Patton at Iowa State next year, is happy to have him on the Ankeny squad.
“He’s starting to feel really good in this team and this offense,” Kohl said. “He’s starting to pick up everything, and when he’s got the ball, who knows what will happen? He’s definitely a playmaker.”
Nelson breathed a sigh of relief after the game.
“I think Jerry (Pezzetti)’s a great guy, and they do a fantastic job at Centennial,” he said. “We’re just fortunate to beat them.”
Ankeny will host Dowling Catholic (1-1) on Friday. The Jaguars will play at Waukee (1-1).
excerpt from the article...
Well, Friday night was fun, wasn't it?
Another week of Iowa high school football is in the books and there's plenty to talk about. Southeast Polk kept rolling, Ankeny nearly faltered, Mount Vernon snapped a 19-game losing streak to Solon and Van Meter lost its first regular season game since August of 2015.
There were plenty of exciting matchups and stunning upsets that we'll get into more later on this week. But for now, it's time to recognize some individual greatness. So many teams had stellar performances, but some players stood out.
Here are some of the top performers from Week 2 of the high school football season.
The Hawks' wideout didn't have insane numbers on the night, but he had by far the most important offensive production on the night. Patton, an Iowa State commit, had a long catch to set up No. 2 Ankeny's first touchdown of the night and he ran in for the second from 14 yards out.
Those big plays helped the Hawks come out with a tight 17-14 win over in-city rival Centennial and remain undefeated.
The Ankeny football team began its season on a high note when the Hawks beat Waukee 26-7 on Aug. 26.
Waukee had a 7-0 lead at halftime, but a 17-point performance from the Hawks in the third quarter put Ankeny up by 10, with the Hawks pulling away for good in the final quarter.
Leading the Hawks was senior running back Jazan Williams, who scored three touchdowns total for Ankeny. Williams had 23 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns and also caught four receptions for 30 yards and one touchdown.
Senior quarterback JJ Kohl finished 20-for-36 for 219 yards and one touchdown and three interceptions, also rushing six times for 29 yards.
Senior Jamison Patton led all wide receivers with six receptions for 76 yards. He also led the team on defense, recording 6.5 total tackles, including one sack.
The Hawks play cross-town rival Ankeny Centennial at 7 p.m. Friday at Ankeny Stadium. Centennial is coming off a Week 1 loss vs. Indianola.
The old coaching cliché says that the most growth for any team happens between Week 1 and Week 2.
The same can be said of our weekly high school football rankings.
Entering Week 2, there were quite a few changes to the Des Moines Register's weekly polls after 27 ranked teams went down between Week 0 and Week 1 — and that includes three new No. 1-ranked teams.
In Class 5A, Southeast Polk jumped to the top after an emphatic 38-24 win over Dowling Catholic. The Rams overtook preseason No. 1 Ankeny after the Hawks muscled through Waukee, 26-7.
1. Southeast Polk (1-0), beat Dowling Catholic 38-24
2. Ankeny (1-0), beat Waukee 26-7
3. Pleasant Valley (1-0), beat Cedar Rapids Prairie 37-6
4. Dowling Catholic (0-1), lost to Southeast Polk 38-24
5. Urbandale (1-0), beat Bettendorf 27-14
6. West Des Moines Valley (1-0), beat Waukee Northwest 17-7
7. Cedar Falls (1-0), beat Johnston 14-0
8. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (1-0), beat Iowa City West 28-19
9. Linn-Mar (1-0), beat Muscatine 41-0
10. Sioux City East (2-0), beat Bishop Heelan 35-3
Dropped Out: Iowa City High, Cedar Rapids Prairie
excerpt from the article ...
9. There were plenty of strong debuts across Week 1.
12. Jazan Williams and Jamison Patton both made their Ankeny debuts in the Hawks’ 26-7 win over Waukee. Williams recorded 136 rushing yards, 4 catches for 30 more receiving yards, and three total touchdowns. Patton recorded 6 catches for 76 yards.
Ankeny football coach Rick Nelson didn’t know what his team was doing during the first half of Friday’s season opener at Waukee.
The Hawks were intercepted three times before the half and went to the locker room trailing, 7-0.
“We did some really extreme things,” said Nelson. “I’ll have to watch the film. I don’t know sometimes what we were doing. I’m not sure.
“(The start) was a little bit slower than slow. We had a little trouble. We were struggling,” he added.
Fortunately for the Hawks, they played like a different team in the second half–the one that was ranked No. 1 in the Class 5A preseason rankings by The Des Moines Register.
Jazan Williams ran 23 times for 141 yards and scored all three of his team’s touchdowns as Ankeny rallied for a 26-7 victory over the Warriors.
“We played really well the second half,” Nelson said. “I’m glad we came back. We shut them out, and we scored 26 points. I was pleased with our kids’ performance. Hopefully, we can just fix some of the things and get ready for next week.”
Wiliams ran for two touchdowns in the third quarter to give the Hawks a 14-7 lead. A field goal by Keeghan Warner extended the margin, then Ankeny added a safety when the Warriors snapped the ball over the punter’s head and out of the end zone.
Quarterback JJ Kohl connected on a touchdown pass to Williams with 8 minutes 11 seconds left to complete the scoring.
“Our line played really well the second half, and JJ made some really nice throws and had a couple nice scrambles for first downs,” Nelson said. “He also threw a couple real nice screens where he’d look one way and then dump the ball off the other way.”
Ankeny’s defense, meanwhile, shut out Waukee in the second half after giving up a 28-yard touchdown on a double pass with 2:38 left in the second quarter.
“Our defense really calmed down,” Nelson said. “We’re playing a new defense, and we’ve got a lot of new starters. But I think we have a chance to be pretty good on that side of the ball.”
The Hawks regrouped offensively after Kohl threw his third interception at the end of the first half.
“I think the reason why we came out slow is because I was trying to do too much,” said Kohl. “I missed some reads and throws, which I just can’t do in the future. Getting a good run game established in the second half allowed us to really get things going.”
Ankeny had posted a 49-0 victory over the Warriors in last year’s opener.
“I thought they had a great game plan,” Nelson said. “They were much improved from a year ago. They have a pretty athletic kid (Malachi Curvey) who used to be at Ankeny Centennial, and he had a couple nice pass rushes on us.”
The Hawks will now prepare for Friday’s showdown against Centennial (0-1), which opened its season with a 26-20 loss to Indianola.The Jaguars shocked Ankeny, 14-7, in last year’s meeting.
“It’s been a brutal series for us. It’s not even a rivalry,” Nelson said. “We’ve only beaten them twice. It doesn’t matter what their first game was. They’re tough, and we know they’ll be ready to play.”
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the Ankeny football team the last couple of seasons.
It might be time to take the hype up another notch.
The Hawks are No. 1 in the Class 5A preseason rankings by The Des Moines Register. They return several standouts from last year’s state runner-up squad–and have also added some talented newcomers.
“It’s a good group of kids,” said Ankeny coach Rick Nelson, whose team went 10-3 a year ago, capped off by a 24-7 loss to Southeast Polk in the Class 5A title game. “I think we’ll have a good team. I can tell you a lot more after the first game.”
On paper, Ankeny looks the part of a team that could win its second state championship in three years. The Hawks boast five players on The Register’s list of the state’s top 100 players, led by senior quarterback JJ Kohl.
Kohl completed 143-of-237 passes for 2,185 yards and 25 touchdowns while being intercepted just three times a year ago. He was named to the Class 5A all-state second team by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association and was an all-district first-team selection.
Kohl, an Iowa State commit, is considered one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2023. A four-star prospect, he is now the No. 5 quarterback and No. 36 overall nationally in the latest rankings by On3 Recruits.
The 6-foot-7 Kohl could become the highest-ranked recruit in Cyclones’ history.
“We got out under the lights (Sunday) and threw some (passes),” Nelson said. “I’m guessing out of the 50 balls that JJ threw maybe two hit the ground. He’s really accurate. He just has a strong arm, and he obviously knows our offense better now than he did last year. We expect a lot of output from him.”
Kohl is No. 2 on The Register’s list of top 100 players behind star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor of Southeast Polk. Other Ankeny players on the list are senior defensive back/receiver Jamison Patton (No. 5), senior running back Jazan Williams (No. 24), and senior offensive linemen Joe Kingston (No. 49) and Drew Monsivais (No. 83).
Patton transferred to Ankeny from Des Moines Roosevelt, where he starred as a dual-threat quarterback as a junior, racking up 1,826 total yards and 21 touchdowns. He earned all-state second-team honors at a defensive utility position.
Patton has also committed to play for Iowa State.
“He’s a really good player, and he’s just an unbelievable kid…such a nice kid,” Nelson said. “The only time he’ll probably be off the field is when he gets tired. We’re very fortunate to have him at our place. He’s a special kid.”
Williams is another talented transfer. He was named to the Class 5A third team after rushing for 1,239 yards and 12 touchdowns on 258 carries at Cedar Rapids Kennedy last year.
“He is fast, and he’s a nice sized kid–about 190 pounds,” Nelson said. “He’s kind of a slasher, and he has a little bigger stride than (former Ankeny standout Colin) Kadolph. They ran him a ton last year, and he didn’t catch a lot of balls so we worked hard with him this summer catching some balls. He feels a lot more comfortable now catching the football.”
Williams will run behind an offensive line anchored by Kingston and Monsivais, a Northwest Missouri State recruit. Kingston was an all-state second-team pick a year ago, while Monsivais earned third-team honors.
Among Ankeny’s other returnees on offense are receivers Will Hinrichs and Maddox Ward. Hinrichs, who caught 31 passes for 422 yards and four touchdowns, joined Kingston and Monsivais on the all-district second team. Ward, meanwhile, had 16 catches for 306 yards and two scores.
On defense, the Hawks return a trio of players who had key roles on last year’s squad–defensive end Diego Jackson and defensive backs Reid Johnson and Ben Sandvig.
Johnson made 25.5 tackles and intercepted two passes, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Sandvig had 23.5 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Jackson, a Minnesota State-Mankato recruit, added 15.5 tackles. He received all-district honorable mention.
“We lost a lot of good kids on that side of the ball,” Nelson said. “I think our secondary is going to be pretty solid, but we’ve got some unknowns. I think we’ve got some talent, but we just haven’t played. We’ll find out Friday. It’s hard to replace eight starters.”
Ankeny will play at Waukee in its season opener. The Hawks won last year’s meeting, 49-0.
“We saw Waukee at the ADM scrimmage,” Nelson said. “I think they’ll be better, but we’ll see. We’re anxious to see what will happen.”
The Hawks will host Ankeny Centennial and Dowling Catholic in Weeks 2 and 3 before visiting Southeast Polk for a showdown against the Rams on Sept. 16.
“Our first four games are going to be tough,” Nelson said. “We’ll have to play all phases (of the game). We’ve always had tough times with Centennial, then we play Dowling and Southeast Polk. I think we’ll steadily get better, and that’s what we need them to do. We’d love to come out 4-0 those first four weeks, but we’ll see. Our goal right now is to be 1-0 after Friday. We’ll start there.”
excerpt from article
The Ankeny High School football team opens the season Friday at Waukee. Centennial kicks off the 2022 campaign Friday at home against Indianola. Both games are at 7 p.m.
The Register spoke with both head coaches this week to get a glimpse of what to expect this season.
Ankeny head coach Rick Nelson said his team is steadily improving. He added that the team has had a good attitude and has been practicing with a good pace and speed.
The Hawks are coming off a strong 2021 season in which they finished as Class 5A state runners-up. Ankeny lost to Southeast Polk in the state championship game.
Ankeny returns many of its players from that team. The Hawks begin the season No. 1 in the Des Moines Register's Class 5A preseason rankings.
“If you don’t have good players, you can’t win,” Nelson said. “That’s probably the biggest thing, you have to have good players to win.”
While the goal is to get back to state and the championship game, Nelson said the Hawks focus on what's in front of them.
“We don’t look down the road, we have one game, we’re going to play Waukee, then we’ll look at the next game, and then we’ll look at the next game,” Nelson said. “And then we’ll see at the end of the season if going into that last game, do we have enough wins to get into the playoffs.”
Nelson thinks the Hawks have enough talent to win a lot of games, but they have to worry about themselves and how they prepare, not about their opponents.
Nelson said the team talks about trying to improve each day at something.
“I don’t know which coach I played for that said it but he said ‘You don’t stay the same, you’re either gonna get better that day or you’re gonna get worse,’ I can’t remember who said it, but that always kind of stuck with me,” Nelson said. “We kinda talk to them about that, about just having the mindset to practice, to be a practice player so we can prepare them for games.”
The Des Moines Register is pleased to release its 2022 Preseason All-Iowa Football Teams ahead of the high school football season.
A total of 78 selections — 26 each on a First-, Second-, and Third-Team, featuring players from Class 5A down to 8-Player — were made by writers from the Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Ames Tribune and Burlington Hawkeye and with input from more than 150 coaches statewide.
The Register's All-Iowa Football Team, honoring the state's best players for the 2022 season, will appear in early December.
*** Ankeny Players
***QB: JJ Kohl, sr., Ankeny
RB: Abu Sama, sr., Southeast Polk
***RB: Jazan Williams, sr., Ankeny
WR/TE: Kai Black, sr., Urbandale
WR/TE: Javion Jondle, sr., Fort Dodge
WR/TE: Alex Mota, sr., Marion
Utility: Jonathan Humpal, sr., Lewis Central
OL: Cody Fox, jr., East Buchanan
***OL: Joe Kingston, sr., Ankeny
OL: George Nahas, sr., Dowling Catholic
OL: Kadyn Proctor, sr., Southeast Polk
OL: Luke Reth, sr., West Delaware
DL: David Borchers, sr., North Scott
DL: David Caulker, sr., Des Moines North
DL: Andrew DePaepe, sr., Pleasant Valley
DL: Maddux Borcherding-Johnson, sr., Norwalk
LB: Cam Buffington, jr., Winfield-Mt. Union
LB: Kooper Ebel, sr., Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn
LB: Cole Garwood, sr., Urbandale
LB: Ben Kueter, sr., Iowa City High
DB: Aidan Hall, sr., Harlan
DB: Watts McBride, sr., Cedar Rapids Washington
DB: Aidan McDermott, sr., Cedar Rapids Xavier
****DB: Jamison Patton, sr., Ankeny
K: Kyle Konrardy, sr., Dubuque Senior
P: Drew Miller, jr., Mediapolis
QB: Jaxon Smolik, sr., Dowling Catholic
RB: Titus Cram, jr., Bondurant-Farrar
RB: Carter Henderson, sr., Linn-Mar
WR/TE: Lucci Fidone, sr., Lewis Central
WR/TE: Ayden Price, sr., West Des Moines Valley
WR/TE: Carson Rhodes, sr., Nevada
Utility: Zach Lutmer, sr., Central Lyon/George-Little Rock
OL: Grant Brix, jr., Logan-Magnolia
OL: Korver Hupke, sr., Independence
OL: Beau Knobloch, sr., Winterset
OL: Kyle Rakers, jr., Dowling Catholic
OL: Cael Winter, sr., Waukee Northwest
DL: Lance Berends, sr., Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn
DL: Hayden Felkey, sr., Easton Valley
DL: Jake Walker, sr., Waverly-Shell Rock
DL: Nick Wells, sr., Sioux City East
LB: Josh Hendricks, sr., Dallas Center-Grimes
LB: Asa Newsom, sr., Waverly-Shell Rock
LB: Preston Ries, jr., Monticello
LB: Derek Weisskopf, jr., Williamsburg
DB: Ronnie Major, sr., Iowa City High
DB: Mason Miller, sr., WACO
***DB: Ben Sandvig, sr., Ankeny
DB: Justus Williams, sr., Dowling Catholic
K: Max Bartachek, sr., Waukee
P: Jake Hulstein, sr., Cedar Falls
QB: Braylon Kammrad, sr., Lewis Central
RB: Nolan DeLong, sr., Durant
RB: Anthony Isley, sr., Mediapolis
WR/TE: Drew Kingery, sr., Indianola
WR/TE: Brady Lynott, sr., West Sioux
WR/TE: Will Orness, sr., Humboldt
Utility: Jacob Maurer, sr., BGM Brooklyn
OL: Gene Blalock III, sr., Grinnell
OL: Garrett Divis, sr., Hinton
****OL: Drew Monsivais, sr., Ankeny
OL: Julian Perez-Hall, sr., Burlington
OL: Gunner Schmitz, sr., Harlan
DL: Drew Campbell, jr., Cedar Falls
DL: Kaleb Cline, sr., Spencer
DL: AJ Petersen, sr., North Scott
DL: Draven Woods, jr., Southeast Polk
LB: Jackson Dewald, sr., Westwood
LB: McCrae Hagarty, sr., Waverly-Shell Rock
LB: Thomas Sundell, sr., Cedar Rapids Xavier
LB: Rusty VanWetzinga IV, sr., Pleasant Valley
DB: Beckett DeJean, sr., OABCIG
DB: Cayden Gassman, sr., Beckman Catholic
DB: Cole Jennings, sr., North Scott
DB: Tate Petersen, sr., Monticello
K: Boston Hensley, sr., Lewis Central
P: Carson Hanson, sr., Johnston
A heavy Class 5A presence will stick out in this preseason poll, with some of Class 4A's top teams also included and others from all classes ready to jump in should any from this initial list fall off in the weeks ahead.
The Super 10 is reserved exclusively for Register subscribers. We will update it again after Week 4 and once more before the postseason.
2021 Results: 10-3, reached Class 5A state championship game
2022 Outlook: The Hawks have arguably the best collection of star-power this season, with quarterback JJ Kohl, running back Jazan Williams, do-everything playmaker Jamison Patton, and a host of other high-level contributors that make this Ankeny team the favorite from the get-go.
The fall sports season has returned, which means football season has returned.
And that means the Des Moines Register's football rankings have returned, too.
The 2022 football season is here. Practices officially started last week. Scrimmages and Week 0 games are this Friday, and Week 1 is next week for all teams statewide.
That means every Friday between now and Nov. 18 — that's 14 full weeks! — will feature high school football contests, the very game the Iowa High School Athletic Association dubbed "America's Game, Iowa High School Passion."
To get you ready for the action, we're pleased to announce the Register's preseason class rankings for the 2022 season.
These initial polls were compiled with the help of input and guidance from more than 150 coaches statewide, as well as thorough discussions and observations among staff writers from the Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Ames Tribune, and Burlington Hawkeye.
Many of the teams included in this first set of rankings will look familiar, but expect a healthy amount of shuffling through the first few weeks of the season. The results each week will ultimately reveal which teams will rise to the top or fall to the bottom.
Our preseason number ones: Ankeny in Class 5A; Lewis Central in 4A; Harlan in 3A; West Lyon in 2A; Van Meter in 1A; East Buchanan in Class A and Easton Valley in 8-Player.
The full polls can be found on the Des Moines Register website.
2. Southeast Polk
3. Dowling Catholic
4. Pleasant Valley
5. Iowa City High
6. West Des Moines Valley
7. Cedar Falls
9. Cedar Rapids Kennedy
10. Cedar Rapids Prairie
2022 - 08 - Summer Photos
Hype Video Shoot by Shannon Sandvig
2022-08-07 - Ankeny Fanatic Prep of the Week: JJ Kohl, Ankeny football - Ankeny Fanatic by Dan Holm
Senior quarterback JJ Kohl of the Ankeny football team is considered one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2023. A four-star prospect, he is now the No. 5 quarterback and No. 36 overall nationally in the latest rankings by On3 Recruits.
Kohl, an Under Armour All-American, helped the Hawks to a 10-3 record last season. He completed 143-of-237 passes for 2,185 yards and 25 touchdowns while being intercepted just three times.
Here is some inside info on Kohl:
I know you’ve had a busy summer. How many different camps/competitions did you go to?
I camped at both the Elite 11 and Future 50 this summer.
What was the highlight of your summer?
The highlight was helping out at my dad’s scholarship (kicking) camp in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a couple weeks ago.
I know you traveled a lot. Did you have any time to relax this summer, or have you pretty much been going from one event to another?
I had some time recently to relax and enjoy the summer, but I was pretty busy until a week ago.
You’ve soared up the national recruiting rankings after some outstanding performances this summer. In what ways do you think your game has improved the most since last season?
I feel liked I’ve cleaned up mechanically a ton this offseason, and I really like where I’m at. I’ve also gotten a lot of reps with my receivers over the winter and spring, which really helps.
You verbally committed in April to play for Iowa State. Has it been a big relief to get your decision out of the way?
Once I committed, I had a lot more free time to spend with my friends and family, which I’ve really enjoyed.
Since you committed, the Cyclones have since added several more high-profile recruits, including your teammate Jamison Patton. Did you try to steer some of those guys to Ames, and do you think your commitment helped sway some of their decisions?
I definitely tried to steer Jamo and some other guys to play with me in Ames. I also feel that being committed helped some other recruits.
You were named one of the team captains for your Ankeny squad. Are you planning to be even more of a leader this season?
I feel very honored to have been selected team captain, and I’m going to push myself to be the best leader I can be this year.
I’m sure your team’s primary goal is to win a state title after placing second in Class 5A last year. Do you have any individual goals as far as touchdown passes or passing yards that you’d like to reach?
Obviously, my team goal is to win the state championship, but some of my personal goals are to pass for 3,000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns.
I think a lot of people expect your team to have an explosive offense this season. Are you confident that the team’s defensive unit will again be strong as well?
I feel like our defense will have another strong year.