Welcome back, Iowa high school football. Matthew Bain here.
Is it just me, or was this the longest offseason in recorded history? It feels like Ankeny’s 42-14 win over Southeast Polk in the 2020 Class 4A state title game was, oh, about three years ago. Right?
It’s obvious why. The COVID-19 crisis has slowed down life in ways that we would have never understood until actually going through it. The pages of our calendars turned at a snail’s pace as the world adapted to the new reality of living through a pandemic.
But we’re here now. Under Friday night lights again. Please, be smart. Be safe. That way, next season, things can feel even more normal than they are right now.
We’re particularly excited for this fall, because we’ve got a bigger staff than ever. The Ames Tribune and Burlington Hawkeye have joined the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen in the USA TODAY Network, so we now have five reporters all across the state. And soon we’ll add a sixth in Alyssa Hertel, who will take over a big chunk of the recruiting beat now that I’m the deputy sports editor.
Tonight, Cody Goodwin (@codygoodwin) is posted up at Southeast Polk as the No. 1 Rams host No. 2 Dowling Catholic in what could be a Class 5A title game preview in Week 1. Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) is over at Valley stadium where the No. 5 Tigers are hosting Waukee Northwest in the Wolves’ first-ever football game.
Up north a bit, Joe Randleman (@JoeRandleman) is covering Class 4A No. 7 Nevada as the Cubs host Boone. Out east, Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) will be in Iowa City to see a clash of new head coaches as Mitch Moore’s Iowa City High Little Hawks travel to play James Harris’ Iowa City Liberty Lightning. And Joe Geren is on duty out in Burlington as the Grayhounds play host to Washington.
I’ll be posted up on my couch, keeping my eyes and ears open to monitor everything that happens across the state tonight. Keep coming back here, because I’ll update this live blog all night. Essentially, you can treat this as your one-stop shop for all things Iowa high school football Week 1.
11:22 p.m. There was some 8-player madness tonight
The most eye-opening result may have happened in 8-player football tonight.
Preseason No. 1 Don Bosco lost 60-14 to preseason No. 8 Easton Valley. I know we had Easton Valley ranked, but still. Wow. Also, in Class A, No. 5 St. Albert lost to unranked Treynor 35-2. Odd little score out west.
11 p.m. Here are final scores from around the state
Right here. Lots and lots and lots and lots of final scores from Week 1 of Iowa high school football. That was fun, wasn’t it?
10:56 p.m. Harlan living up to the hype
The second-most-anticipated game in Week 1 was probably Class 4A No. 3 Lewis Central versus Class 3A No. 1 Harlan — both of whom I personally picked to win their respective state titles this fall.
Harlan came back from a third quarter 22-7 deficit to take the 36-29 victory. Lewis Central had a chance to tie it with last-second play, but Titans quarterback Braylon Kammrad’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
10:47 p.m. Upset out in eastern Iowa
Pleasant Valley entered the season ranked No. 6 in our Class 5A top 10, but the Spartans were downed by an always-strong Prairie program 27-21.
And, consider this: Prairie did that despite being down as many as seven starters who, according to Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “violated school policy.”
Hello, Prairie Hawks.
10:33 p.m. Final scores for CIML teams
For a full list of final scores across the state from Week 1, go here.
But here are the final scores for CIML teams:
Valley 42, Waukee Northwest 41 (2OT)
Southeast Polk 13, Dowling Catholic 7
Ankeny 49, Waukee 0
Urbandale 13, Bettendorf 3
Indianola 42, Ankeny Centennial 13
Fort Dodge 28, Mason City 13
Des Moines Roosevelt 47, Des Moines East 0
Des Moines North 24, Des Moines Hoover 8
Des Moines Lincoln 68, Sioux City West 6
Ames 14, Marshalltown 7
Oskaloosa 35, Ottumwa 14
10:22 p.m. Have a day, Little Hawks
In former Des Moines Roosevelt Mitch Moore’s coaching debut at Iowa City High, his Little Hawks dismantled Iowa City Liberty 41-0 with a running clock in the second half.
Dargan Southard has the story from a statement victory out east.
10:04 p.m. Valley holds on
After two overtime periods, West Des Moines Valley pulled out a thrilling, 42-41 victory over Waukee Northwest. Both teams traded touchdowns in the first OT. Valley scored first in the second period, and the Wolves scored, too.
But they failed to covert on a 2-point attempt.
Valley moves to Week 2 with a quality win. And Waukee Northwest, in its first-ever football game, opened a lot of eyes with this performance.
9:59 p.m. Lots of final scores coming in
For a full list, go here.
But here are some:
Southeast Polk 13, Dowling Catholic 7
Urbandale 13, Bettendorf 3
Nevada 48, Boone 7
Iowa City Regina 16, Williamsburg 14
CAM 48 Fremont-Mills 6
Estherville 34, Storm Lake 0
Denison-Schleswig 28, Carroll 7
Spirit Lake 27, Spencer 13
Dike-New Hartford 35, Columbus 21
Riverside 41, Red Oak 20
Sioux City East 43, Bishop Heelan 7
Sergeant Bluff-Luton 36, Le Mars 7
Woodbury Central 52, Hinton 0
9:51 p.m. Off to a second OT
Valley and Waukee Northwest traded touchdowns in the first overtime.
Now, we head to a second OT knotted at 35-35.
9:48 p.m. Headed to overtime at Valley Stadium
Not to be outdone by Southeast Polk vs. Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines Valley vs. Waukee Northwest has turned into a heck of a game, too. It’s knotted at 28-28 and headed to overtime.
The Wolves, in their first-ever game, took a 14-5 lead into halftime over Valley. Then, Valley answered with three straight third-quarter touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead.
Then, a 36-yard touchdown pass and a blocked punt later, the Wolves had two unanswered touchdowns to tie the game at 28-28.
9:34 p.m. WOW WOW WOW
What a finish! Southeast Polk beats Dowling Catholic with a 38-yard Hail Mary from Jaxon Dailey to Xavier Nwankpa on the last play of the game to win 13-7.
What a game between the No. 1 Rams and No. 2 Maroons.
9:30 p.m. Valley-Waukee Northwest is such a good game
Valley has the ball at its own 5-yard line with just over three minutes left, tied 28-28 against Waukee Northwest. This could be fun.
9:22 p.m. Waukee Northwest storms right back
What a game at Valley Stadium.
First, in their first-ever game, the Waukee Northwest Wolves took a 14-5 lead into halftime over West Des Moines Valley. Then, Valley answered with three straight third-quarter touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead.
Then, a 36-yard touchdown pass and a blocked punt later, the Wolves had two unanswered touchdowns to tie the game at 28-28 with 7:40 left.
9:12 p.m. This ain’t over yet
After Xavier Nwankpa’s eye-popping interception, Southeast Polk and the Maroons immediately score to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:51 left.
The game of the week is living up to the hype.
9:10 p.m. Xavier Nwankpa is a good football player
Want to know why Southeast Polk safety Xavier Nwankpa is our No. 1 in-state 2022 prospect and our No. 1 player in the Iowa High School Football Top 100?
Let this video of his eye-popping, fourth-quarter interception answer that for you.
9:01 p.m. “Not so fast, Wolves”
That’s probably what West Des Moines Valley said to Waukee Northwest during the Tigers’ furious comeback in the second half.
The Wolves, in their program’s first-ever football game, took a 14-5 lead into halftime.
Then? Well, then Valley woke up, scoring three straight touchdowns in the third quarter to take a commanding 28-14 lead heading into the fourth.
8:57 p.m. Looks like it’ll be a late night in Johnston
Due to a long delay in the fourth quarter of the sophomore game, the Johnston vs. Cedar Falls varsity game had a delayed kickoff by about an hour and a half.
The Dragons and Tigers just finished the first quarter, with Johnston up 9-0.
Hope those fans weren’t trying to get anywhere by 10 p.m. …
8:49 p.m. Mitch Moore-led Little Hawks feeling good
So far, so good in the Mitch Moore era at Iowa City High.
After successful stints with Greene County and Des Moines Roosevelt, Moore was hired at City High to revitalize the storied Little Hawks football program in 2021. They opened with a Week 1 battle against city rival Iowa City Liberty …
… and things are going really, really well.
The Little Hawks lead the Lightning 27-0 before halftime. Their most recent score came on a 14-yard scamper from Quinton Tran. Ben Kueter, our No. 21 in-state 2023 prospect, also caught a touchdown pass.
8:27 p.m. Jaxon Smolik out with a broken collarbone
This is brutal, brutal news for Dowling Catholic.
Starting quarterback Jaxon Smolik, our No. 19 in-state 2023 prospect who was poised for a big junior season, left the game in the second quarter holding his chest after a big hit. It turns out he broke his collarbone, according to Catholic Radio.
Jake English is now the Maroons’ starting quarterback. Southeast Polk entered the second half with a 7-0 lead over Dowling.
8:20 p.m. Scores scores scores
At halftime …
Urbandale 13, Bettendorf 0
Lone Tree 22, Central City 0
Mason City 13, Fort Dodge 7
Riverside 21, Red Oak 6
Glenwood 14, Atlantic 9
Missouri Valley 22, Shenandoah 14
Treynor 7, St. Albert 2
Denison-Schleswig 21, Carrol 0
8:07 p.m. Halftime scores rolling in
Southeast Polk 7, Dowling Catholic 0
Waukee Northwest 14, West Des Moines Valley 5
ACGC 21, Greene County 7
Denver 21, Wapsie Valley 0
IKM-Manning 10, AHSTW 7
Ogden 19, Perry 0
South Central Calhoun 34, East Sac County 0
Wilton 13, Tipton 0
Iowa City Regina 10, Williamsburg 0
Humboldt 21, Webster City 0
Spirit Lake 15, Spencer 0
8:02 p.m. Dowling QB leaves the game
Dowling Catholic starting quarterback Jaxon Smolik, our No. 19 in-state 2023 prospect, got hit hard in the second quarter against Southeast Polk and left the game holding his chest. He went off to the locker room. Jake English is now in the game behind center.
The Rams lead 7-0 at halftime after a 7-yard screen pass from Jaxon Dailey to Xavier Nwankpa.
7:53 p.m. Mitch Moore’s City High debut
One thing is for sure: Even if former Greene County and Des Moines Roosevelt head coach Mitch Moore doesn’t win his coaching debut at Iowa City High against Iowa City Liberty, his team’s uniforms look excellent.
I know, I know. I discuss the important things, don’t I? Looks like it’s going to be a late kickoff for Dargan Southard and everyone out in Iowa City.
7:45 p.m. The Rams break through first
Top-ranked Southeast Polk has taken a 7-0 lead over second-ranked Dowling Catholic.
Jaxon Dailey found Xavier Nwankpa for a 7-yard screen-pass touchdown with 8:02 left in the second quarter.
More Iowa high school football content:
7:37 p.m. Update on the game of the week
No. 1 Southeast Polk vs. No. 2 Dowling Catholic are scoreless after one quarter.
It’s still been a fun game to far.
7:35 p.m. Wait … he can pass, too?
So, we all know (or you will soon) Urbandale’s Kai Black as a star receiver with offers from Iowa State, Iowa and Wisconsin as he starts his junior season.
But he opened eyes early Friday … with his arm?
Yep. Apparently he’s got a good one, too, as Black fired a 46-yard pass to Jaylen Ziegler to give Urbandale a 7-0 lead over Bettendorf in the first quarter of their central-eastern Iowa clash
7:28 p.m. Hawkeyes showing some love
The Iowa football Twitter account wished high school football players across the state luck Friday night. The Hawkeyes are recruiting plenty of in-state talents, and will no doubt be monitoring their performances tonight.
Some top in-state targets include: Southeast Polk 2022 safety Xavier Nwankpa, Southeast Polk 2023 offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor, Pleasant Valley 2023 defensive end Andrew DePaepe, Ankeny 2023 quarterback J.J. Kohl, Urbandale 2023 receiver Kai Black and Marion 2023 athlete Alex Mota.
7:17 p.m. First points in Waukee Northwest history
Looks like a rush from Tanner Spyksma.
7:15 p.m. Looks like Ankeny’s defense is the truth
Ankeny vs. Waukee is not even midway through the first quarter and the Hawks already lead 14-0. And both scores came on defense.
First, Reid Johnson logged a pick-six. Then, Braden Simonsen scored off a blocked punt. We knew Ankeny’s defense was going to be good, perhaps among the very best in the state, in 2021.
7:09 p.m. Points!
I think this was the first Week 1 touchdown: Fullback Dominick Garth logged a score on the ground for Marshalltown to take an early 7-0 lead over Ames and the Little Cyclones’ new head coach, Brian Sauser.
7:05 p.m. Welcome to the action, Wolves
This is the first-ever year of Waukee Northwest, meaning it’s the first-ever year of Waukee Northwest football. The Wolves make their program debut at perennial powerhouse West Des Moines Valley.
Those white road uniforms look clean.
7 p.m. Tried-and-true tradition
It’s nice to see the weekly tradition of reporters’ obligatory “Hey I’m here at Blank Stadium for Blank vs. Blank” tweets. And some of these photos are getting so dang good nowadays. (Looking at you, Dargan and Cody.)
6:10 p.m. Storms in northern Iowa delay long-awaited season
Several teams’ long-awaited season-openers won’t happen Friday night due to storms up in northern Iowa. Talk about a buzzkill.
Clear Lake’s home game against Iowa Falls-Alden was moved to 11 a.m. Saturday. In Mason City, Newman Catholic’s home game against Central Springs was also postponed to Saturday with a game time to be determined.
Same story with Northwood-Kensett at Riceville, and AGWSR’s game at Belmond-Klemme was delayed to Saturday at 11 a.m. Kickoff for Saint Ansgar’s home game versus Osage was pushed to 7:30 p.m.
Go away, rain.