SIOUX CITY | Five games in a row the East High football team has rolled to victories so one-sided that Iowa’s 35-point mercy rule -- the continuous clock -- was set in motion early in the second half of all five contests.
No one expects an abbreviated contest tonight at Olsen Stadium, where seventh-ranked East and ninth-rated Urbandale clash in one of the week’s top Class 4A matchups in the state.
The first of two consecutive Thursday night home games for the Black Raiders is a 7:30 clash of 5-1 teams who’ll likely battle West Des Moines Valley for the title in the six-team Class 4A Division 1 race -- one of four districts in Western Iowa that will each send their top four to state playoff action.
Urbandale was undefeated until a 28-25 loss last Friday to Valley, which has stumbled twice in six games but still hopes to be in the state title hunt after winning Iowa’s big-school championship five times in the last 10 seasons.
“Everybody said Valley would be young and as the season went along they’d be better,’’ noted East Coach Bob Goodvin, unsurprised by Urbandale’s initial setback. “They haven’t lost to bad teams -- Dowling and Southeast Polk. They’re still the big elephant in the room. People are going to have to beat them.’’
First, it would be a major step for Goodvin’s team to outpoint Urbandale, extending the winning streak they’ve enjoyed since an opening 38-28 loss to arch-rival Bishop Heelan, still undefeated and ranked No. 2 in Class 3A.
“I think what we did (against Heelan) was we found our identity,’’ said Goodvin. “We tried to do some things on offense and it just wasn’t us. We kind of out coached ourselves in that game.’’
East has been nothing short of spectacular ever since, hiking its season scoring average to an even 50 points a game, second best in 4A, while the Raiders’ first-team defense has surrendered just three touchdowns.
The only score against East in the last three games was a 99-yard kickoff return, equaling a state record, by West’s Avery Thedford.
Senior quarterback Taylor DeLaughter is currently fifth in the state (all classes) with 1,603 passing yards, connecting on 101 of 154 attempts, and has 16 touchdown throws to just four interceptions. Baseball all-stater Dom Thompson-Williams has emerged as a college football prospect with 38 catches for 816 yards, ranking second overall in the state in receiving yardage.
Urbandale, which owns a 35-27 win over No. 6 West Des Moines Dowling, a 4-2 team, won its season opener 42-14 over Fort Dodge, which East defeated 48-7 the following Friday.
The J-Hawks of Coach Sam Anderson have passed only 71 times in six games, but they completed 45 for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns. Much of the damage has come from 6-4, 190-pound junior Allen Lazard, whose 20 catches have netted 536 yards and seven touchdowns.
“They say a year from now he’ll be the No. 1 receiver in the Midwest,’’ said Goodvin, comparing Lazard to former Dowling star Amara Darboh, considered Iowa’s top recruit last season and signing with Michigan.
Lazard is a two-way stalwart for the J-Hawks, leading the team in tackles, and also returns kickoffs and punts.