Monday marks the unofficial kickoff of the Iowa High School Football Season, with programs opening up fall camps around the state. Practice officially starts on Monday, August 8th, but most programs use this week as a chance to get a head start on installing the X’s and O’s with the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.
We kick off our week of district previews that include KQ-area teams with the largest school in the listening area in the Webster City Lynx, as the purple and gold aim to repeat as district champions in Class 4A, District 1.
The Favorite: Webster City Lynx
Bob Howard enters year 16 at the helm in Webster City (year 45 overall) with what he believes is one of the most talented backfields he’s had in his head coaching career. The Lynx return every single one of their 3,289 rushing yards from a season ago, which was good for 13th-best in the State of Iowa. The 3 (or 4) headed monster in the backfield is comprised of quarterback Ty McKinney, running backs Jaxon Cherry and CJ Hisler, as well as fullback Connor Hanson.
McKinney stepped in at quarterback as a junior and was excellent in taking care of the football in the time-consuming single wing offense, throwing for over 400 yards and 7 touchdowns, while rushing for 700 more yards and 6 touchdowns, while only throwing 2 interceptions. CJ Hisler showcased his versatility as a junior as well, rushing for over 1,000 yard and 7 touchdowns, while averaging over 9 yards per carry and also returning 2 kickoffs for touchdowns.
The X-factor could be junior Jaxon Cherry, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards as a sophomore and rushed for 19 touchdowns, tied for 5th in Class 4A. All three backs have the potential to surpass the 1,000 yard-mark in 2022 behind a young, but high-ceiling offensive line. Webster City’s defense will need to replace both cornerbacks from last season, but the Lynx front seven will look to punish offense with a dynamic blend of power and speed.
This is a Lynx team that if the lines gell together in a quick manner, that could find themselves in Cedar Falls in early November.
The Challenger: Fort Dodge Dodgers
You won’t have to look too far down Highway 20 to find the biggest challenger for the Class 4A, District 1 crown for the Webster City Lynx. The Dodgers are coming off 7-3 season with a playoff appearance in the newly-minted Class 4A, but losses to Webster City and Spencer nearly kept them from an at-large berth.
2022 could be a the signature year for Nik Moser as he enters his 3rd season at the helm of his alma mater. Moser’s offense has a chance to be one of the best passing offenses in 4A this season, with the return of senior quarterback Connor Carver and senior wide receiver Javion Jondle. Carver threw for over 2,100 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, while completing nearly 60% of his passes. Jondle has gotten some eyes from DI coaches following his junior season, where he caught 54 passes for nearly 900 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The Dodgers will need to find a replacement for running back Jon Presswood, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. Defense will also be a question for the Dodgers as they lose 6 of their top 7 tacklers from 2021, with the top returnee in senior linebacker Tucker Pederson, who tallied 36.5 tackles as a junior.
Regardless, the Carver-Jondle connection is prolific enough to help create opportunities for other players to make some noise offensively for the Dodgers. Find the right combination defensively, and 2022 could be a big year in Dodger Country.
The Darkhorse: Denison-Schleswig Monarchs
Year one for the Monarchs under head coach and former Iowa State safety Kamari Cotton-Moya was a learning year in Denison, but the development of young talent may prove to be the catalyst for a year two turnaround in Crawford County.
Junior quarterback Luke Wiebers was given baptism by fire in 2021, but managed to hold his own as the season progressed, even throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the season finale against a stout Webster City defense. He will look to take the next step forward as quarterback as a junior, with some familiar faces surrounding him.
Senior running back Jaxon Hildebrand provided a smash-mouth quality in the Denison-Schleswig spread attack last season, rushing for over 350 yards and 5 touchdowns as a junior. Hildebrand has seen an off-season with his stock rising, and has a chance to be a leader on both sides of the ball for the Monarchs, as he led the team in tackles with 43 last season, as well as tallying 13.5 tackles for loss.
If a young receiving core can develop and line play can gell in a timely-fashion, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Monarchs near the top of the district standings.
- Webster City Lynx
- Fort Dodge Dodgers
- Spencer Tigers
- Denison-Schleswig Monarchs
- LeMars Bulldogs
- Storm Lake Tornadoes
As previously mentioned, Webster City has a team that is UNI Dome-worthy, if it can reach its full potential. A 9-0 season will likely hinge on non-district games against longtime rival Humboldt and a Waverly-Shell Rock team that might be as good as any in Class 4A. Fort Dodge will also be a team that has a high-ceiling, but regardless if they reach that ceiling, they will be a fun team to watch in 2022.