Results from Thursday's Iowa high school football state championship games
CEDAR FALLS — Greetings from the UNI-Dome, home of the Iowa high school football state championships.
It's Championship Thursday here, and we've got four title games scheduled for today. Here they are, with their scheduled kickoff times.
- 8-Player: Easton Valley (12-0) vs. CAM, Anita (12-0), 9:30 a.m.
- Class A: West Hancock (12-0) vs. Grundy Center (11-1), 1 p.m.
- Class 1A: Van Meter (12-0) vs. West Sioux (11-1), 4 p.m.
- Class 4A: Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-1) vs. Lewis Central (10-2), 7 p.m.
Action also continues Friday with the Class 2A, 3A and 5A championship games.
We'll provide regular updates here throughout today's action. Here's more information on how to watch and follow today's action from the UNI-Dome.
Only seven games left in the 2021 high school football season. Let's enjoy the ride.
Class 4A: Lewis Central vs. Cedar Rapids Xavier
FINAL: Lewis Central 32, Cedar Rapids Xavier 24 (3OT)
After four quarters of defense dominating offense, both Lewis Central and Xavier's offenses clicked over and over in overtime, leading to a three-overtime, 32-24 victory for the Titans.
The two sides traded touchdowns in the first two overtime periods, with Lewis Central scoring on a Braylon Kammrad pass to Brayden Loftin and a Kammrad pass to Luciano Fidone and Xavier scoring on an Alex Neal pass to Josef Lemker and a Neal rush.
Lewis Central opened the third overtime (which featured a 20-minute delay because the lights at the UNI-Dome went out) with a rushing score from Kammrad. The Titans then converted for 2 points on a fake kick. Then, the defense held firm on Xavier's ensuing possession, stopping Neal's rush attempt on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
END OF REGULATION: Lewis Central 10, Cedar Rapids Xavier 10
A four-play, 69-yard drive featuring a 39-yard pass from Alex Neal to Aidan McDermott and a 15-yard scoring rush from Neal gave Xavier the tying touchdown, making it 10-10 late in the fourth quarter.
Lewis Central wasn't able to get points on its ensuing two possessions, so we're headed to overtime in Cedar Falls.
END OF 3: Lewis Central 10, Cedar Rapids Xavier 3
A few punts and a whole lot of nothing on offense. Great defensive battle unfolding as we enter the final quarter of regulation.
Halftime: Lewis Central 10, Cedar Rapids Xavier 3
The Titans opened the second quarter with their second unanswered score, this time on a 2-yard scamper from Jonathan Humpal. But Xavier answered with their best drive of the game, which spanned 73 yards and wound up with a 24-yard field goal from Trysten Vasquez.
END OF 1: Lewis Central 3, Cedar Rapids Xavier 0
Titans kicker Boston Hensley converted from 30 yards after linebacker Wyatt Hatcher snared an interception to set Lewis Central up with a short field late in the first quarter.
The Saints weren't able to muster much of anything on offense in the first quarter. Lewis Central, meanwhile, had great success on the ground with star running back Jonathan Humpal. If that trend continues, this could be a fun night for Lewis Central.
Class 1A: Van Meter vs. West Sioux
Final: Van Meter 17, West Sioux 14
After a scoreless third quarter, Van Meter's Katie Lindsey booted through a 27-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs up 17-7 early in the fourth quarter.
West Sioux answered with a touchdown on its following possession, a 37-yard pass from Dylan Wiggins to Brady Lynott. From there, however, Van Meter was able to ice the game away, converting on a third-and-1 and a key third-and-11 (on a 17-yard pass from Jack Pettit to Ganon Archer) to milk the rest of the clock.
This is Van Meter's second football state title in program history.
Halftime: Van Meter 14, West Sioux 7
We've gone two-for-two in terms of entertaining state championship games so far today, and it's looking like we'll go three-for-three with Van Meter vs. West Sioux as the Bulldogs hold a 14-7 lead at the half.
Van Meter scored first with a 17-yard touchdown pass after blocking a Falcons' punt and recovering it at their 18-yard line. The Bulldogs then scored a rushing touchdown to open the second and their defense held firm on a fourth-and-2 at their own 7.
But West Sioux was able to get on the scoreboard later in the second quarter on a 1-yard trick-play pass from Blake Van Ballegooyen to Carter Bultman.
The Bulldogs will start the second half on offense.
With just under six minutes left in the second quarter, Van Meter forced a turnover on downs from West Sioux on an incomplete fourth-and-2 pass at Van Meter's 7-yard line. The Bulldogs scored a touchdown earlier in the frame, so the 14-0 lead is still intact.
END OF 1: Van Meter 7, West Sioux
There hasn't really been much offense between these two sides, which is ironic, considering they boasted two of Iowa's most prolific offenses this fall.
The Bulldogs blocked a West Sioux punt and recovered on the Falcons' 18-yard line, leading to the game's only score so far: a 17-yard pass from Jack Pettit to Chris Schreck. Van Meter has a second-and-12 at the West Sioux 46 when action resumes.
Great start for Van Meter. The Bulldogs blocked West Sioux's punt on the Falcons' third possession, taking over at the West Sioux 18-yard line. Three plays later, Van Meter had a touchdown with Jack Pettit's 17-yard pass to Chris Schreck.
Van Meter leads 7-0 with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.
Class A: Grundy Center vs. West Hancock
FINAL: West Hancock 19, Grundy Center 14
By the slimmest of margins, the West Hancock Eagles completed their 13-0 season with a Class A championship game victory over Grundy Center on Thursday.
Spartans running back Dayne Zinkula scored early in the fourth on a 9-yard run to cut West Hancock's lead to 19-14. The Spartans then forced and recovered a fumble but had a three-and-out and punted. Then, the defense forced West Hancock to punt and the offense got the ball at the 20-yard line with a few minutes and a chance to win.
Grundy Center then put together a masterful 14-play drive ... that ended with time expiring after Logan Knaack's 15-yard rush to the Eagles' 9-yard line. Game over.
This is West Hancock's second state title in three years, and this is the third year in a row that Grundy Center has finished runner-up.
END OF 3: West Hancock 19, Grundy Center 7
The Eagles have taken control of this game and are just a quarter from the title.
West Hancock quarterback Mitchell Smith completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Rylan Barnes to go up 19-7 early in the third quarter. Then, on defense, the Eagles forced a turnover on downs deep in their own territory, and enter the fourth quarter in control of their state title destiny.
HALFTIME: West Hancock 13, Grundy Center 7
The defenses stepped up in the second quarter.
West Hancock's Kane Zuehl intercepted Grundy Center near the red zone to stop a potential would-be scoring drive to open the second quarter. A few minutes later, West Hancock's Matthew Francis logged a 19-yard scoring run.
After that, both teams traded empty possessions that didn't get into opponent territory. This should be a heck of a second half.
END OF 1: Grundy Center 7, West Hancock 7
Both teams traded long first-quarter scoring possessions in this battle of powerhouse.
Grundy Center got things rolling with a 14-play scoring drive capped by Logan Knaack's 1-yard rushing touchdown. The Spartans had to convert on a fourth-and-1 at West Hancock's 4-yard line before the touchdown.
The Eagles responded with a 10-play scoring drive of their own with Braden Walk scoring on a 24-yard rush. They also had to convert on a fourth down, near midfield, during the drive.
Good back-and-forth action so far.
8-player: CAM vs. Easton Valley
FINAL: CAM 42, Easton Valley 40
CAM finished with 514 total yards and Easton Valley logged 425 in a heck of a state championship game. CAM trailed until 1:06 left in the third quarter, when Lane Spieker's 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Cade Ticknor put the Cougars up 36-33, and they never trailed from there.
END OF 3: CAM 36, Easton Valley 33
CAM has taken the lead after a back-and-forth quarter.
Here's what went down:
Conor Gruver led a 13-play scoring drive to open the third quarter and jump ahead of CAM 33-22; the 2-point conversion failed. CAM, and Spieker, responded immediately with a 48-yard touchdown run from CAM's superstar quarterback to pull it to 33-28.
CAM then forced Easton Valley's ensuing drive to stall at CAM's 32-yard line, and Easton Valley punted. CAM began the next possession at its 10-yard line, but took its first lead of the game on Spieker's 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Cade Ticknor to go up 36-33 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
HALFTIME: Easton Valley 27, CAM 22
Much quieter second quarter — at least when it came to scoring points.
Conor Gruver threw his fourth touchdown pass of the half, a 28-yarder to Carson Fuegen to give Easton Valley a 27-14 lead. CAM responded immediately when Lane Spieker scored on a 39-yard run, then hit Cade Ticknor for the 2-point conversion to make it 27-22.
Those were all the points in the second half, but both of these teams are moving the ball with relative ease. They combined for 549 total yards of offense in the first half: CAM with 307, Easton Valley with 242.
Gruver went 17-of-23 for 208 and the four touchdowns. Spieker is 5-of-11 passing for 169 and one touchdown, and has rushed 16 times for 80 yards and another score. The Cougars have turned the ball over three times, but are just down by five at half. That says a lot, methink.
Second half will begin here in a bit. Stay tuned.
END OF 1: Easton Valley 21, CAM 14
The fireworks continued when CAM's Lane Spieker hit Sam Foreman for a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown. That brought the Cougars within 21-14. They have the ball near midfield to start the second quarter.
Easton Valley followed its three-straight touchdown drives with back-to-back punts. CAM survived a rocky first quarter — their drives ended: fumble, touchdown, turnover on downs, touchdown, interception — to trail by only a possession.
Fun opening 12 minutes. Let's see what the rest of the first half brings.
We've already got some fireworks here at the UNI-Dome.
After three-straight touchdown possessions, Easton Valley leads 14-6 midway through the first quarter, and this scoring outburst actually started with a fumble.
Lane Spieker, CAM's offensive superstar, fumbled the ball away on the fifth play from scrimmage. Five plays later, Easton Valley scored on a 3-yard pass from Conor Gruver to Andin Farrell (who also recovered the fumble).
On CAM's next possession, Cade Ticknor went 48 yards to the house to make it 7-6. Easton Valley got a strong return from Carson Fuegen, leading to another River Hawk touchdown — this time, Conor Gruver hit Aidan Gruver on a beautiful 31-yard pass.
Exciting stuff so far.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.