Lincoln at Ankeny
Where: Ankeny Stadium, 5:30
About Lincoln (3-6): Which Railsplitter offense will line up in the team’s first playoff game since 2011? The 49-point night against Hoover that included Logan Garrels’ record receiving night and 229 yards from Darius Shumpert has been sandwiched by a pair of shutouts against Centennial and Valley. Ankeny plays defense more like the latter teams, which could turn this first-round matchup into a learning experience for coach Andy Campbell’s young team.
About Ankeny (7-2): Beating Southeast Polk gave the Hawks more than a district title last Friday. Owning the line of scrimmage and rushing 52 times for 314 yards means deserved confidence and a statement of intent to playoff opponents. Ankeny allowed just 50 points in its five district games and has more than rebounded from a 1-2 start.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Interactive brackets
MOBILE-FRIENDLY PLAYOFF PAIRINGS: First-round matchups for all six classes
Indianola vs. Dowling
Where: Williams Stadium, 7
About Indianola (5-4): Needing a win against Marshalltown to secure a playoff spot, the Indians jumped out to a 35-3 lead by halftime last week. Twins Cameron and Trey Bunting rushed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. They may need even more to keep their final season going; Indianola’s four losses all came to teams with winning records.
About Dowling (8-1): Can the starters stay sharp? Dowling’s district joy ride has come to an end after 300 points scored and five dominating victories. Fourteen different players found their names on the score sheet after last week’s walk against North, but the top players will be expected to pick up a heavier load now that the second season is underway.
Fort Dodge at SE Polk
Where: Southeast Polk Stadium, 7
About Fort Dodge (6-3): Coming up short on the final drive at Urbandale cost the Dodgers home-field advantage and puts them into the playoffs on a skid. Southeast Polk has the ability to show Fort Dodge a similarly balanced offense to last week — Urbandale ran 46 times for 294 yards — so both lines must be more physical. Junior running back Sam Cook needs fresh legs to keep the Dodgers moving forward.
About Southeast Polk (5-4): Starting the season 0-3 was a heavy punch. The Rams regrouped, found their feet and reeled off five straight wins. Ankeny delivered another haymaker last week, taking the district title and outplaying the Rams in a physical matchup. Quarterback Thomas McLaughlin was 18-for-24 passing in the comeback effort, and he’ll have to be crisp again for the Rams to get back on the offensive.
East at Valley
Where: Valley Stadium, 7
About East (4-4): Facing a win-to-get-in contest Friday, the Scarlets turned in perhaps their best performance of the season, routing Sioux City North 62-35 to secure their fourth playoff trip under coach Greg Schoon. Chino Alcala and Brandon Trotter combined for 468 yards rushing and all nine touchdowns as East posted its highest point total since the second game of the 2012 season. The Scarlets collected five takeaways on defense.
About Valley (8-1): The Tigers moved within one of Emmetsburg’s state record for consecutive playoff appearances by locking up their 23rd straight trip to the postseason. This looks like a team that intends to stick around for a while, too. Third-ranked Valley has won eight straight since losing to Waukee in the opener. The Tigers outscored their five district opponents 275-22. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi (60.1-percent completion rate, 17 touchdowns), running back Drew Gray (1,047 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns) and Dominique Dafney (817 yards receiving, 11 touchdowns) have been consistent playmakers.
S.C. East at Waukee
Where: Waukee Stadium, 7
About Sioux City East (6-3): The Black Raiders cruised through the first five weeks of the season, climbed to No. 6 in the state rankings and then fell like they were tied to a plummeting piano. Sioux City East lost three of its last four, getting thumped 52-3 at Dowling Catholic, stumbling 50-43 against Council Bluffs Lewis Central and closing the regular season with a 47-17 loss to Johnston. Making matters worse, the Black Raiders lost quarterback J.J. Stephens in last week’s loss. He was replaced by junior Connor Koza, who completed 9-of-15 passing for 138 yards and a touchdown.
About Waukee (8-1): A couple of years ago, the Warriors basically passed the ball only out of necessity. That’s no longer the case for fifth-ranked Waukee. Ben Ferkin is completing 61.6 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Adam Rose, Michael Jacobson and Koy Schneiter have combined for 20 touchdown catches. Waukee still has the staples of its past success — a powerful running game and a defense led by a dominant front. Iowa State recruit Anthony Nelson registered a team-high 14 tackles for loss during the regular season.
Ames at Urbandale
Where: Frerichs Field, 7
About Ames (5-3): After losing a victory in a game that was never played, the Little Cyclones wrapped up a turbulent week by belting Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson 55-6 on Friday. Ames started the week by relinquishing a forfeit victory against Des Moines East and finished it with its most lopsided win of the year. Michael Frankl threw touchdown passes to four different receivers and Chris Woodard ran for 104 yards and two scores.
About Urbandale (5-4): The J-Hawks went through a three-game stretch in September when they struggled to move the football. By the end of the regular season, opponents struggled to stop Urbandale. The J-Hawks ran their winning streak to three with a 42-37 victory Friday against Fort Dodge. Urbandale averaged 45.3 points per game in its last three contests. Abdul Mansaray led a 321-yard rushing performance with 138 yards on 16 carries. The J-Hawk defense collected four turnovers last week.
JOHNSTON AT CENTENNIAL
Where: Ankeny Stadium, 8
About Johnston (6-3): Two straight district defeats took Johnston out of contention for a first-round home game and left the Dragons needing a confidence booster. They got exactly what they needed Friday in the form of a 47-17 throttling of Sioux City East. The Dragons played well in all three segments, racking up 373 yards on offense, collecting four turnovers on defense and getting a pair of field goals from Tommy Zinselmeier, including a 47-yard bomb. Quarterback Reid Sinnett threw for 212 yards, pushing his season total to 1,822.
About Centennial (7-2): Class 4-A’s top rushing offense got back on track Friday after a one-week derailment. Ethan Babcock led a 298-yard rushing performance as the Jaguars drilled Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln 52-6, brushing off a 28-3 loss the previous week to Valley. Four different Jaguars ran for touchdowns. Centennial might have to lean even harder on its running game going forward. Leading receiver Andrew Klinker sat out Friday’s game with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss the playoff opener.