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Iowa high school football: 25 things we learned from Week 3

Des Moines Register logo Des Moines Register 9/13/2020 Cody Goodwin, Des Moines Register
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Normally, the end of Week 3 means we're a third of the way through the regular season in high school football. That should be exciting, because teams have finally settled into a groove and we know more than we did before Week 1 kicked off.

a baseball player pitching a ball on a field: Waukee's Alexander Linquist (26) rushes during their football game at Ankeny Stadium on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 in Ankeny. Waukee takes a 14-7 lead over Ankeny Centennial into halftime. © Brian Powers/The Register Waukee's Alexander Linquist (26) rushes during their football game at Ankeny Stadium on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 in Ankeny. Waukee takes a 14-7 lead over Ankeny Centennial into halftime.

But this is no, uh, regular season, if you follow.

Three weeks in, and we're about at the halfway mark for 2020. Such is the life in the era of COVID-19. It's been a fun three weeks, though. The games themselves haven't changed, even if everything else around them have.

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The heat is only going to ramp up. Without true district crowns this season, everybody is more jockeying for playoff positioning. That might be the only pressure out there, since everybody is making the postseason.

Still, the action has been mostly entertaining and revealing. Expect more and more teams to hit their strides over the next four weeks — which should bring out their best just in time for the playoffs.

At least that's my theory.

In the meantime, here's 25 things we learned from Week 3:

1. Raise your hand if you know who the best team in the CIML is.

2. Put your hand down, you liar.

3. It's easy to point to Southeast Polk and Urbandale as the top dogs. They're both 3-0. Easy enough, right?

4. The Rams might have the stronger case, with a solid win over a talented Waukee team that’s getting stronger. But Urbandale's best victory, a 50-34 season-opening triumph over Johnston, is looking more impressive with each passing week.

5. The Rams still have to play both West Des Moines Valley and Johnston. The J-Hawks have to play Fort Dodge and Waukee. And everybody else has to play some combination of everybody else. So this thing is far from being decided.

6. But that's the fun part, right?

7. Here's something crazy to think about: After Johnston's 18-15 win on Friday, Dowling Catholic is now 89-7 since 2013. Those seven losses are to just three teams: four to Valley, two to Ankeny Centennial, and now one to the Dragons. 

8. Here's something important to remember: None of those seven losses has come in the postseason.

9. Waukee's Aaron Smith lining up one-on-one against any other defensive back in the state is a cheat code. That man is insanely fast. He had two catches against Ankeny Centennial on Friday, spanning 40 and 38 yards. Both were for touchdowns. 

10. Waukee's Alex Lindquist went for 209 rushing yards Friday after entering with just 227 through the first two games. Tough as nails, that guy.

11. Southeast Polk's Xavier Nwankpa has been playing with a Honey Badger vibe about him this season, and I am totally here for it. By my math, he's averaging 19.4 yards a touch. That's ridiculous.

12. Those numbers, broken down: They come in four categories: rushing (12 carries for 195 yards), receiving (two catches for 15), kickoff returns (two for 107) and punt returns (four for 71).

13. He's also scored four touchdowns, including three against Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Friday: a 23-yard run, a 72-yard run and a 91-yard kickoff return.

14. Sioux City East's Christian Mendoza had a 63-yard punt in the Black Raiders' 65-14 win over Sioux City West. That's the longest boot of the season so far.

15. OABCIG's Cooper DeJean is the first quarterback this season to surpass 1,000 passing yards. He's thrown for 1,021 in three weeks, or about 340 a game. That's insane.

16. It really was a bummer not getting to watch or follow any of the Des Moines city schools play on Friday. I hope they can play again soon.

17. Same goes for Ames and the three Iowa City schools. When a good chunk of the state's largest class doesn't play on a Friday, it's noticeable. And just plain weird.

18. Interstate 35 has pitched three straight shutouts to begin the 2020 season — 39-0 over Chariton, 37-0 over Clarke, and 50-0 over Colfax-Mingo this past week. It's the only team in the state to not allow a point after three games. Remarkable.

19. We are down to just 70 undefeated teams after three weeks.

20. Six in 4A: Southeast Polk, Urbandale, Cedar Rapids Washington, Pleasant Valley, Iowa City West and Davenport North.

21. Only 13 in 3A: Assumption, DCG, Decorah, Gilbert, Harlan, Humboldt, Lewis Central, Nevada, Washington, Webster City, Xavier, D.M. Hoover and Mason City.

22. Just nine in 2A: Central Lyon, Des Moines Christian, Estherville Lincoln Central, Monticello, Mount Vernon, PCM, Sioux Center, West Lyon and Williamsburg.

23. Another 14 in 1A: Durant, Emmetsburg, Interstate 35, OABCIG, Pleasantville, Pocahontas Area, Sigourney-Keota, South Central Calhoun, South Hamilton, South Hardin, Southeast Valley, Underwood, Van Meter and Woodward-Granger.

24. Class A has 10: Southwest Valley, Edgewood-Colesburg, Grundy Center, Lisbon, Logan-Magnolia, Saint Ansgar, South Winneshiek, St. Edmond, Wapsie Valley and West Fork.

25. And Eight-player has 18: Audubon, BGM, CAM, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Easton Valley, English Valleys, Fremont-Mills, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Lenox, Martensdale-St. Marys, Montezuma, Newell-Fonda, Remsen St. Mary’s, Southeast Warren, Springville, Tripoli, Woodbine and Don Bosco.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa high school football: 25 things we learned from Week 3

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