Tony’s Top Ten for CISN.TV – Football Rankings for Week 2 – 2015

Tony Atzeni likes to put together rankings. It is a good starting point and provides good water cooler chatter. Enjoy and look for these each week during the 2015 Iowa High School Football season.

Tony’s Top Ten

Iowa High School Football

Class 4A
1. West Des Moines Valley

2. Cedar Rapids Washington
2. Dowling Catholic
4. Cedar Falls
5. Bettendorf
6. Lewis Central (Council Bluffs)
7. Waukee
8. Ankeny
9. Urbandale
10. Johnston

Class 3A
1. Pella
2. Cedar Rapids Xavier
3. Dallas Center-Grimes
4. West Delaware (Manchester)
5. Davenport Assumption
6. Webster City
7. Norwalk
8. Harlan

9. Solon
10. Carroll

Class 2A
1. North Fayette Valley

2. Central Lyon/George Little Rock
3. Albia
4. Beckman Catholic (Dyersville)
5. Union (LaPorte City)
6. Collins-Maxwell-Baxter
7. Spirit Lake
8. Mediapolis
9. Hampton-Dumont
10. Mount Vernon

Class 1A
1. Iowa City Regina
2. Hinton
3. Pella Christian
4. West Branch
5. Dike-New Hartford
6. Panorama (Panora)

7. Saint Ansgar
8. Emmetsburg

9. IKM-Manning

10. Madrid

Class A
1. Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2. South O’Brien (Paulina)
3. B-G-M (Brooklyn)
4. Logan-Magnolia
5. Audubon

6. Belmond-Klemme
7. Pekin
8. Bishop Garrigan (Algona)
9. St. Albert (Council Bluffs)
10. West Sioux (Hawarden)

Class 8-Player
1. Newell-Fonda
2. Coon Rapids-Bayard
3. H-L-V (Victor)
4. Janesville
5. Glidden-Ralston
6. Don Bosco (Gilbertville)
7. Fremont-Mills (Tabor)
8. Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire
9. Colo-Nesco

10. Central (Elkader)

10. West Bend-Mallard

Getting to Know the 2015 Valley Tigers

Last year, Dominique Dafney (24) was Rocky Lombardi’s go-to receiver. Who will become Valley’s top receiver in 2015? (Andrea Melendez/Des Moines Register)

By Romelle Slaughter

Last season, there were many questions about the Valley Tigers.  As the season went on, Coach Gary Swenson started receiving the answers to his questions. It’s safe to say that after the Tigers 10-2 campaign in 2014, Swenson has no questions to ponder about.

Behind an offensive line anchored by Division I prospect OL John Rairdon, OL Sam Rodgers and TE John Gliniecki, junior quarterback Rocky Lombardi is more than ready to lead the Tigers into the 2015 season. Lombardi emerged as one of the top signal callers in 4A as a sophomore. Lombardi completed nearly 58% of his passes (122-211, 2097 yds, 21 TD’s 7 INT’s).

Jevon Mason will be the featured running back for the Tigers, replacing Drew Gray. The sophomore Mason rushed 404 yards and 4 touchdowns as a freshman last season. TE John Gliniecki is the Tigers’ returning receiver and the most seasoned. He pulled down 10 catches for 271 yards in 2014. Gliniecki will be asked to step in to replace Dominique Dafney, Austin Hronich, and Blake Salsbury, who have graduated. 

Linebackers Nick Yencer and Ben Campos will lead a stingy defense with ball-hawking DBs Turner Scott and Noah Barr who combined for 5 interceptions.

Valley Stats

2014 record: 10-2 overall, 5-0 conference

Head Coach: Gary Swenson, 21st season, 196-43 

Returning Offensive Starters

John Raridon OL

Rocky Lombardi QB

John Gliniecki TE

Sam Rogers OL

Returning Defensive Starters

Nick Yencer LB,  

Ben Campos LB,  

Turner Scott DB  

Zach Deeming DL

Noah Barr DB

Total Returning Letterwinners: 18

Offensive scheme: Pro style offense

Defensive scheme: Under front defense, version of a 5-2

Coaching staff: Dave Cochran, Ryan Cooley, Randy Ripperger, Travis Young

Facts and info: Valley’s two losses were to Waukee. The Tigers lost to Waukee in Week 1 and in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 playoffs. 

2015 Schedule

Aug. 28 Waukee (CISN)

Sept. 04 @ Iowa City West

Sept. 11 Southeast Polk (CISN)

Sept. 18 @ Dowling Catholic (Drake Stadium) (CISN)

Sept. 25 Des Moines, Hoover (CISN)

Oct. 2 Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (CISN)

Oct. 9 @ Sioux City, West

Oct. 16 Ankeny Centennial (CISN)

Oct. 23 @ Des Moines Lincoln

Getting to know the 2015 Des Moines East Scarlets

Photo: Des Moines Register

By Matt Gruemmer

It’s no secret throughout Des Moines that football teams in the Central Iowa Metro League set their pre-season goals at a very high level. This fact is no different for East High’s Greg Schoon who has set one tall task for his troops this upcoming season: Lead the state in turnover margin.

Coming off a 4-4 campaign a year ago that saw wide margins of both victory and defeat along with a controversial no-contest game with Ames that was erased from the record books, the Scarlets have a reason to believe their high goals can be achieved.

Des Moines East returns a plethora of talent on the offensive side of the football, including quarterback Jaron Turner who compiled five rushing and five passing touchdowns last season. Turner completed nearly 50 percent of his 151 passes in 2014, averaging 10.9 yards per completion for a total of 817 yards through the air. The Scarlets will utilize that experience in combination with nearly their entire starting line from a year ago to generate scoring in 2015.

Graduating four of its five leading tacklers, the team will need several players to rise up early to warrant defensive success. Linebacker Rory Walling led East as a sophomore in 2014 with 58.5 total tackles and 37 solo takedowns. Walling, along with three senior defensive backs, looks to lead the Scarlets in a league dominated by grueling offensive attacks.

With the depth of starters returning for Des Moines East, the biggest question that looms for Coach Schoon’s team is can they stay healthy enough to compete at a weekly level? The Scarlets anxiously await answering that questions in the coming Friday nights.

Des Moines East Stats

2014 record: 4-4 overall, 2-2 conference

Head Coach: Greg Schoon, 6th season, 20-28

Returning offensive starters

RB Brandon Trotter, SR

QB Jaron Turner, SR

G David Razo, SR

T Jared Hall, SR

T Zach Stemsrud, SR

G Anthony Arroyo, JR

G Case Tillotson, JR

WR/DB/Ret Gerald Sama, JR

Returning defensive starters

MLB Billy White, SR

OLB Austin Hunter, SR

OLB Rory Walling, JR

FS Hunter Kahler, SR

Total returning letterwinners: 6

Offensive Scheme: Spread

Defensive Scheme: 4-3

Team Goals: Improve on our offensive efficiency and lead the state in turnover margin

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

08/28 vs. Des Moines, Roosevelt

09/04 @ Des Moines, North

09/11 vs. Indianola

09/18 @ Des Moines, Abraham Lincoln

09/25 vs. Southeast Polk

10/02 @ Ankeny

10/09 vs. Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson

10/16 @ Ames

10/23 vs. Sioux City, North

Getting to know the 2015 Indianola Indians

Photo: Des Moines Register

By Matt Gruemmer

You don’t have to travel far from the state’s capitol to find a football team that is annually committed to improving in every facet of the game. In his 11th season with Indianola, Eric Kluver looks to build on that sustained success following a 5-4 regular season and first-round playoff loss to eventual 4A state champion Dowling Catholic in 2014.

The Indians will need several fresh faces to step into roles on both sides of the football this year after many constant contributors on both offense and defense received their diplomas from last season’s squad. Brothers Trey and Cameron Bunting who totaled 23 of the team’s 31 touchdowns from a year ago are just two players whose shoes will need to be filled.

Senior QB Jack Jenson looks to lead this season’s offense after throwing for 536 yards in 2014. Jenson split roles with Trey Bunting behind center last season and completed over 63 percent of his passes for five touchdowns. Wide receiver Blake Upchurch also returns and will likely be a favored target through the air after he led the Indians with 28 receptions for three scores last year.

An upperclassmen-heavy defense looks to balance Indianola in 2015 led by DB Schaefer Orwig and LB Jimmy Aiello who combined for 90 total tackles last season. Junior Chris Brandt also brings experience in the kicking game after he hit five of nine attempts last season with a long of 36 yards.

This season’s schedule is another constant that Indianola welcomes back along with these returners. It’ll be an identical nine-game slate in 2015, beginning with a rematch against Ankeny at home on August 28.

Coach Kluver’s staff welcomes the challenge of grooming a new set of stars for this year’s Indianola squad, and it will be these incoming athletes that will set the tone in 2015.

Indianola Stats

2014 record: 5-5 overall, 2-3 conference

Head Coach: Eric Kluver, 11th season, 43-63 record

Returning offensive starters

QB Jack Jensen, SR

WR Blake Upchurch, SR

OL Nathan Woosley, SR

OL Karl Kaale, SR

OL Eagan Lickiss, JR

Returning defensive starters

LB Jimmy Aiello, SR

DL Anthony Pottebaum, SR

DL Brock VanLoon, SR

DB Schaefer Orwig, SR

K Chris Brandt, JR

Total returning letterwinners: 27

Offensive Scheme: Pro I

Defensive Scheme: 4-3

Team Goals: Have several players contribute at a high level on both sides of the ball

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

08/28 vs. Ankeny

09/04 vs. Des Moines, Abraham Lincoln

09/11 @ Des Moines, East

09/18 @ Ottumwa

09/25 vs. Urbandale

10/02 vs. Fort Dodge

10/09 @ Waukee

10/16 vs. Mason City

10/23 @ Marshalltown

Getting to know the 2015 Waukee Warriors

Waukee QB Ben Ferkin enters his third year at the head of the Warrior offense. Picture from @WaukeeFB.

After losing a senior class with multiple D-I recruits, including running back Trevor Allen (UNI) and defensive end Anthony Nelson (Iowa), coach Scott Carlson must replace a deep and talented class that won a Class 4A, District 4 title a year ago.

Leading the charge on offense will be senior quarterback Ben Ferkin, who threw for 1,809 yards and 27 TD’s while leading the district in pass completions (138), completion percentage (57.5) and quarterback rating (151.3) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 80 attempts.

After a strong junior campaign, including 25 receptions for 475 yards and a team-leading nine touchdown catches, Adam Rose will be the Warriors go-to receiver after losing Koy Schneiter, the team’s leading receiver last season.

The offensive line will be anchored by senior duo Brandon Krantz and Jarrod Martin but questions emerge after the star tandem. Both the offensive and defensive fronts are areas of concern as the team looks to rebuild.

On defense, the Warriors must replace the teams’ top four tacklers from 2014: including Kyle Boulanger (74.5), Nick Tweeten (44.5), Jacob Fay (43.5) and Anthony Nelson (42). The secondary will anchor this year’s unit, led by Cedric Dobbins and Brett Hauck, who combined for 81.5 total tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries as juniors. Drew Lienemann will anchor the defensive front, finishing last year with 20.5 tackles and three sacks.

Last year, the Warriors outscored their District 4 opponents a combined 241-29 in the regular season and look to be the early favorites again this year despite losing a talented 2014 class. Finding depth and quickly grooming underclassmen may decide if the Warriors can make another deep playoff run in 2015.

The Central Iowa Sports Network will live stream the Warriors opener at Valley.

Waukee Stats

2014 record: 11-2 overall, 5-0 conference

Head Coach: Scott Carlson, 20th season, 118-74 record

Returning offensive starters

OL Jarrod Martin, SR

OL Brandon Krantz, SR

QB Ben Ferkin, SR

WR Adam Rose, SR

Returning defensive starters

DE Drew Lienemann, SR

DB Brett Hauck, SR

DB Cedric Dobbins, SR

Total returning letterwinners: 19

Offensive Scheme: Spread

Defensive Scheme: 4-3

Team Goals: District Championship, another deep run into the playoffs.

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

Aug. 28 @ WDM Valley

Sept. 4 vs. Southeast Polk

Sept. 11 vs. Dowling Catholic

Sept. 18 @ Johnston

Sept. 25 vs. Marshalltown

Oct. 2 @ Urbandale

Oct. 9 vs. Indianola

Oct. 16 vs. Fort Dodge

Oct. 23 @ Mason City

Getting to know the 2015 Urbandale J-Hawks

By Seth Nutting

The Urbandale J-Hawks will look to improve on a 5-5 record (4-1 conference) from a year ago, which included a second place finish in the Class 4A-district standings and state playoff berth, losing to Ames 28-31 in the first round.

Urbandale must replace two of their top three leading rushers from a year ago, including second-team All-District quarterback Dylan Landess and first-team All-District running back Abdul Mansaray. Landess threw for 593 yards and rushed for 545 more while scoring a team-leading 13 touchdowns. Mansaray ran for 11 touchdowns while leading the team with 910 rushing yards. Senior Alex Newburg will be the teams’ primary offensive weapon this season after running for 779 yards and eight scores a year ago.

The J-Hawks offensive line will anchor Coach Sam Anderson’s run-heavy, triple-option offense. Urbandale has two future Division I guards in seniors Jake Heinrich and Caleb Bright. Heinrich committed to Arkansas in early July while Bright announced last week he will play at Bowling Green.

On defense, the J-Hawks return senior linebackers Cody Pearson (2nd-team All-District) and Trevor Kimm (1st-team All-District) who combined to make 74 tackles last year. Nate and Kyle Stoltz will hold down a secondary unit that forced only three interceptions all of last year.

The biggest question mark may be the defensive line. Urbandale will be without 1st-team All-District lineman Zach Crouse, who recorded more sacks (8), than the rest of the team combined (7). Darien Smith will look to anchor the line this year after recording 23 tackles and a sack as a junior.

After finishing second a year ago in District 4, Urbandale must find replacements at several key offensive positions, including QB, RB1 and WR. Waukee is again favored to win the district, but after that it’s an open race amongst Urbandale, Indianola, Fort Dodge, Mason City and Marshalltown.

Urbandale stats

2014 record: 5-5 overall, 4-1 conference

Head Coach: Sam Anderson, 12th year, 52-59 record

Assistant Coaches: Tim TeBrink, Tyler Perry, Dave Hekter, Ryan Williams, Dan Schuck, Tyler Motter, Rod Reis.

Returning offensive starters

OL Jake Heinrich, Sr.

OL Caleb Bright, Sr.

OL Chancellor House, Sr.

WR John Heinrich, Sr.

WR Blake Lange, Jr.

RB Alex Newberg, Sr.

Returning defensive starters

LB Trevor Kimm, Sr.

LB Cody Pearson, Sr.

DB Kyle Stoltz, Sr.

DB Nate Stoltz, Jr.

DL Darien Smith, Sr.

Special Teams

P Hunter St. John, 2016

Total Returning Letterwinners: 25

Offensive Scheme: Triple Option

Defensive Scheme: 4-3

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

Aug. 28 vs. Hoover

Sept. 4 @ Dowling Catholic

Sept. 11 @ Johnston

Sept. 18 vs. Cedar Falls

Sept. 25 @ Indianola

Oct. 2 vs. Waukee

Oct. 9 @ Mason City

Oct. 16 vs. Marshalltown

Oct. 23 @ Fort Dodge

Here’s a link to their release from the school’s website on the upcoming team. 

Getting to Know the 2015 Dowling Catholic Maroons

By Romelle Slaughter

In a perfect world, people would ask for an encore performance and they receive one.

But what type of encore will Dowling Catholic give this year?  After all, they are the two-time defending Class 4A champions. The next question is how will they win their third straight title without the likes of Ryan Boyle, Nick Wilson, and Max Morris?

If you asked the Maroons’ football Tom Wilson, it won’t be easy to replace that amount of talent, but they will fill in with capable players. With 40+ letterwinners, including the only returning starter Michael Zachary who will not be eligible to play until October. Cole Deskin, Michael Palme and Brawntae Wells saw significant game time during the season, the Maroons still have a target on their back as they prepare for the road to the UNI-Dome.

Junior Cole Deskin will take over full-time in the backfield after an 80 carry, 511 yards, 8 touchdowns performance last season and will be expected to be the workhorse on offense. Deskin also turned heads this spring for his work on the track. Kurt Walding and J.T. Brown will compete to replace Ryan Boyle at quarterback. Both Walding and Brown combined for 6-10 passing for 47 total yards last season. That pales in comparison to Ryan Boyle, who racked up 137-221, 18 touchdowns for 1934 yards in his final season as the Maroons’ signal-caller. 

What will Dowling Catholic look like in the post-Ryan Boyle era? (Courtesy: Sports Spotlight)

Cole Scieszinski will fill see more time at receiver. Alec Hemann replaces “Mr. Perfect” Nick McClellan at placekicker.

Ross Otte and Michael Zachary will lead the Maroons’ defense, which will need to replace standouts Max Morris, Nick Wilson, Jo Jo Jok, and Dante Campero.

Dowling Catholic stats

2014 record:

Head Coach: Tom Wilson,

Assistant Coaches: Jim Williams, Grant Bousum, Jay Campbell, Craig McClain, Adam Jack, Andy Pollock, Jeff Motz, Fred Tiernan, Steve Smith, Ryan Van Veen, Luke Bengtson, Aundra Meeks

Returning offensive players with significant time

QB J.T. Brown and Kurt Walding, SR

WR Cole Scieszinski, SR

RB Cole Deskin, SR

Returning defensive starter

LB Michael Zachary

Total Returning Starters: 1

Total Returning Letterwinners: 40+

Offensive Scheme: Spread

Defensive Scheme: 4-2-5

Facts & Info: Former Johnston star Luke Bengston joins the Dowling staff. Bengston returns to the Des Moines area after being on the University of Arkansas staff. The Maroons will strive to be the first Class 4A school to win three straight football titles. Six schools, including Dowling (Bettendorf, Linn-Mar, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, WDM Valley) has won back-to-back titles. Dowllng and Bettendorf has won back-to-back twice since the playoff era began in 1972.

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

Aug. 28 @ Cedar Rapids Xavier

Sept. 4 vs. Urbandale

Sept. 11 @ Waukee

Sept. 18 vs Valley (at Drake Stadium)

Sept. 25 @ CB Lewis Central 

Oct. 2. @ SC East

Oct. 9 vs. Johnston

Oct. 16 @ DM Roosevelt

Oct. 23 vs. DM North

Getting to know the 2015 Ames Little Cyclones

2014 Ames Little Cyclones in action against Sioux City North. (Sioux City Journal photo)

By Seth Nutting

A year after finishing 6-4 and third in the Class 4A- District 1 standings, the Ames Little Cyclones will look to reach the playoffs for a second straight year after falling to Dowling Catholic 24-59 in the second round of the 2014 playoffs.

Led by quarterback Michael Frankl, the Little Cyclones will rely heavily on the senior to once again lead the offense. Frankl threw for 2,351 yards and 21 TD’s while throwing only four INT’s as a junior. After hauling in 85 passes and 1,006 receiving yards from Frankl in his junior campaign, 2nd team All-State honoree Colby Shane is the lone returning starter at wide receiver.

The Little Cyclones will also be without leading rusher Chris Woodward, who ran for 909 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior last year. Stepping into the starting role will presumably be senior Darrius Martin. Last season’s backup for Ames was one of the best sprinters in the state last spring.

Other than Colin Newell, a 1st team All-Division left tackle as a sophomore who has already received an offer from Iowa State, the offensive line looks to be one of the biggest question marks of the upcoming season. Four starting lineman from a year ago must be replaced, including Drake recruit Anthony Mooney.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ames will return a strong secondary and defensive line, led by multi-sport athlete and three-year letter winner Michael Agbaje at safety and duo Kaleb Stevens and Harrison Townsend along the defensive line. Agbaje recorded 46.5 total tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery for touchdown as a junior.

At linebacker, Ames must replace Hank Swalla and Chris Halbur, both insdie linebackers, from a year ago. Senior Andy Christensen is the lone returner, recording 28.5 tackles as a junior.

The biggest loss from a year ago may have been to the special teams unit. The team must replace kicker Sam Rathe, who ranks third on Ames All-Time scoring list.

The Little Cyclones have some key returning pieces to make a run at another state playoff appearance, but lack of depth at several key positions: WR, OL, and LB will make the hunt for a 4A-District 1 title challenging. As usual, perennial powerhouses Ankeny and Southeast Polk look to be the favorites in a top-heavy district.

Ames stats

2014 record: 6-4 overall, 2-2 conference

Head Coach: Bruce Vertanen, 15th season, 85-56 career record

Assistant Coaches: Vance Downs, Tracey Rial, Mike Shane, Kyle VanWinkle, Kerry VanWinkle, Graham Lundt, Taylor Vanden Wynboom, and Joel Sullivan.

Returning offensive starters

QB Michael Frankl, Sr.

WR Colby Shane, Sr.

OL Colin Newell, Jr.

OL Jacob Mooney, Sr.

Returning defensive starters

S Michael Agbaje, Sr.

LB Andy Christensen, Sr.

DL Kaleb Stevens, Sr.

DL Harrison Townsend, Sr.

Total Returning Starters: 11

Total Returning Letterwinners: 21

Offensive Scheme: Multiple

Defensive Scheme: 4-2-5

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

Aug. 28 @ Centennial

Sept. 4 vs. Cedar Falls

Sept. 11 vs. Iowa City High

Sept. 18 @ Marshalltown

Sept. 25 vs. Ankeny

Oct. 2. vs. SC North

Oct. 9 @ SE Polk

Oct. 16 vs. DM East

Oct. 23 @ CB Jefferson

2015 football season is almost here

The Iowa State Fair is in full swing which means so is the return of Iowa High School Football.

Our team previews will begin publishing Tuesday as we get you ready for kickoff and the teams we’ll be covering on the Central Iowa Sports Network.

This year we will again feature video and audio coverage of games from around the metro and look for some other additions to our coverage.


Getting to Know You: Dowling Catholic Maroons


When you win a state title, you don’t rest on your laurels.

In the case of the Dowling Catholic Maroons, they don’t expect any opponent to “Step to the Rear” on their way to a second consecutive Class 5A title.

It’s business as usual once again for the Maroons…just the way Bob and Sharon Hanson prefers it. The legendary coaches welcome back 1st team All-Stater Audrey Faber and Becca Hittner (3rd team All-State) to the starting lineup. Marin Daniels also returns, including Kennedy Childers, who was sidelined for most of the year with an knee injury.

The Maroons will start the season off with a bang…against Class 4A defending champion Harlan on December 2nd. Then they’ll meet Iowa City High, who they defeated in the 5A semifinals, and Cedar Rapids Xavier, as part of a non-conference slate.

The Maroons are ranked #1 by the IGHSAU in their preseason Class 5A poll.

Dowling Catholic Maroons

2013-14 record (overall, conference): 23-3, 4-2

Class, Conference: 5A, CIC – Western Division

Head Coaches: Bob and Sharon Hanson, 42th season,  739-227

Assistant: Jerry Schartner

Retunring starters: Audrey Faber 1st Team All State—Becca Hittner  3rd Team All State–Kennedy Childers  Knee Injury last season played limited in state tournament.  Being recruited by 4 or 5 division I colleges.  Marin Daniels returning starter recruited by Iowa State Soccer.

Returning letterwinners: Amber Gierstorf, Jamie Pithan, Callie Andersen, Soph Maddie Andersen.

Players lost to graduation: Lucie Sarcone and Hayden Butler

Key games on schedule: Iowa City High, Harlan, Ankeny Centennial (2), Valley (2), Johnston (2), SE Polk, Mason City, Waukee, CR Xavier

Interesting storylines: Dowling has one of the toughest schedules in the state this season. The Hansons have won 6 state titles (1 with Des Moines East in 1979, and 5 with Dowling, including last season).

Team goals: Develop some very good young players to complement the talented returners.

Follow on social media: @dchsmaroons (Twitter)