Friends reunite in UNI-Dome
When No. 2 Bettendorf travels to the UNI-Dome on Friday to play third-ranked Cedar Falls, Bulldogs coach Aaron Wiley will see familiar faces on the opposing sideline.
Cedar Falls head coach Brad Remmert, in fact, was Wiley's roommate in college at Northern Iowa. They also were in each other's wedding.
"I've known him since we were little kids," Wiley said. "He's been a good friend."
Wiley also went to school with Cedar Falls standout Logan Wolf's father, Paul, a former UNI linebacker.
"(Logan) runs a little better than the old man did," Wiley said.
This will be the first time Wiley has played his alma mater in the regular season. Wiley said the friendship wasn't a significant factor in prioritizing Cedar Falls for its non-district schedule.
"If we weren't going to Des Moines again, Cedar Falls is a logical team on our side of the state to play," Wiley said. "I have a ton of respect for what they do, and I like the opportunity of getting into the UNI-Dome and playing a game."
Should Bettendorf reach the semifinals in November, the players admit the experience in September could pay dividends for the underclassmen.
"If we make it there in the playoffs, it should be a good experience for our juniors," linebacker Alex Blizzard. "They should be able to treat it as another game and not be all starry eyed."
Want fireworks? Head to Eldridge
Based on what has transpired in the first three weeks, Western Dubuque and North Scott might be the best game of the week in Iowa Class 3A.
Both are ranked in the state's top 10. Both have dynamic quarterbacks. Both have legitimate go-to receivers. Both can score a lot of points.
Western Dubuque (3-0) has tallied 117 points in the first three weeks. Quarterback Calvin Harris is an Ole Miss baseball recruit. The Lancers faced the right-hander in the quarterfinals of the state baseball tournament in late July.
Harris has four receivers with at least eight receptions. Drake George is the primary target with 26 grabs for 456 yards and six scores. Tailback Ben Bryant has rushed for 415 yards, an average of 6.5 yards per rush.
North Scott (2-1) has its own tandem with QB Nile McLaughlin and receiver Carson Rollinger. McLaughlin accounted for three touchdowns and more than 275 total yards in North Scott's win over Western Dubuque last year. Rollinger has 16 catches for 272 yards in three games.
Battle for Davenport, Part 2
Central earned the first measure of bragging rights in the battle for Davenport last week with a 42-15 triumph over North. The second of three matchups is Friday at Brady Street between North and West.
North has an opportunity to reach three wins by the middle of September for the first time since 1990. West has had just four teams in the past 20 years prevail in two of its first four games — 1998, '99, '00 and '15.
Wildcats coach Brandon Krusey, an assistant for a year under West coach Justin Peters, has not lost to the Falcons in the past two years. North defensive lineman Brant Carter had 9.5 tackles (2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) in last year's 25-10 win.
Maroons, Pioneers vie to gain upper hand
It’s not difficult to pick out the most competitive and important game on the opening night of conference play in the Western Big Six.
Rock Island Alleman visits Moline at Browning Field in a matchup of two teams with legitimate Big Six title aspirations. Both come into the game at 2-1, and in each case the only loss came against a state-ranked opponent.
The Maroons lost to Lisle Benet Academy (No. 9 in Class 7A) in Week 2 while the Pioneers were handled by Sterling (No. 6 in 5A) last Friday night.
Moline won the outright Big Six championship a year ago, clinching it in Week 8 with a 24-10 win over Alleman that was tougher than the final score might indicate. The Pioneers broke loose for an 83-yard run on the opening play of the game and had a 10-7 second-quarter lead before the Maroons rallied behind running back Aboubacar Barry, who finished with a career-high 162 yards.
Barry is back this season and shares the ballcarrying load with transfer Harrison Bey-Buie, although neither of them has been overworked thus far. They have combined for only 64 carries for 354 yards.
The Maroons will be facing a slightly different Alleman team than they’ve seen in the past. The historically run-centric Pioneers, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A this week, have passed for 420 yards in the first three games and have scored seven of their 12 touchdowns via the air.
Battle of the unbeatens
Outside of the metro, there are just five teams left in the Quad-Cities area sporting unblemished records, and two of those face big tests tonight.
First, Tipton travels to West Branch to take on the Class 1A top-ranked Bears. The Tigers have utilized a deep running game to get off to a 3-0 start, with five running backs with at least 100 yards so far this season. They'll face a tough test against the Bears, who are allowing just 95 yards per game on the ground thus far.
It can be a milestone night for West Branch coach Butch Pedersen, who can become the 13th head coach in Iowa history to reach 300 wins and just the fourth to do so while at one school.
Wilton also has a tough test against a Benton Community team that is ranked fourth in Class 2A. The Beavers are allowing nine points per game but will face a tall test against a Benton squad that is averaging 36 points per contest with a balanced attack that features a quarterback with over 500 yards passing, a running back with over 400 yards rushing and a receiver with over 200 yards receiving.
Bellevue, the last unbeaten Iowa area team, faces a winless Clayton Ridge team before getting set to host West Branch next week.
On the Illinois side, Orion looks to avoid a letdown against Riverdale after earning a big win over five-time state champion Sterling Newman. Rockridge hosts Fulton with a date against Sterling Newman next week.