Breaking down Interstate-35 at Woodward-Granger

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Woodward-Granger celebrates a last-second Homecoming victory. W-G hosts Interstate-35 Friday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. Photo courtesy Sheila Wallace.


WOODWARD, IOWA — Roadrunners at Hawks II. That will be the billing Friday when postseason play begins in Class 1A.

W-G (5-3) hosted I-35 (4-4) Sept. 10, posting a 35-21 victory. The Hawks were the District 2 runner-up in head coach Cory Crnkovich’s first year, with the Roadrunners finishing third in D7.

W-G held a 21-7 lead at the half in the first meeting, and possessed a 29-21 advantage entering the fourth quarter. The hosts outgained their guests, 130-50, in the air and 251-173 on the ground.

Cade Ward returned a kickoff 71 yards for an I-35 score, with the visitors recovering four Hawk fumbles to stay within striking range.

Quarterback Carter Moran was 10-of-21 with two touchdowns passing for the home team while adding a TD and 104 yards on 14 rushes. Dustin Harney (18-81) also scored on the ground, and the W-G defense came away with three interceptions.

I-35 averages 19.4 points per game and W-G 26.9, with the Roadrunners allowing 21.9 ppg and W-G 22.5.

The Roadrunners have thrown for 434 yards and run for 1,682 for 2,116 total yards.

Quarterback Jace Bedwell is 27-of-47 for 344 yards and two TDs while being intercepted four times. He has rushed 75 times for 482 yards and five scores.

Ward (15-178, 1 TD) and Kale Day (12-120, 1 TD) are the leading receivers, while Logan Cassady (105-824, 7 TDs) and Austin Waybright (29-154, 3 TDs) are, along with Bedwell, the key components of the ground attack.

Ward has returned two kicks for scores (one against W-G), with the I-35 defense recovering 10 fumbles while intercepting one pass.

W-G is as balanced offensively as it is possible to be. The Hawks have 1,250 yards in the air and 1,225 on the ground.

Moran is 93-of-181 for 1,250 yards and 15 TDs while throwing six interceptions. He has the most passing yards and most aerial TDs since Taylor Ashman threw for 1,506 yards and 22 TDs in 2012.

Dane Polich (32-535, 8 TDs) averages 16.7 yards per catch, with Brody Nardini (36-474, 3 TDs) gaining 13.2 yards per reception. Polich has the most receiving yards since Bryce Achenbach had 644 yards in 2018 and the most touchdowns since Marshall Nieland found the end zone 10 times in 2012.

Harney (133-722, 7 TDs), Moran (68-264, 8 TDs) and Dylan McCaulley (28-184, 1 TD) lead the rushing charge.

The defense is led by 55 tackles from Harney, and 42-1/2 stops from Dylan Rodgers with Alex Evans making 36 denials and Polich 32-1/2.

The Hawk defense has recovered 11 fumbles and intercepted nine passes, returning one for a score.

Winners Friday will be placed in four four-team pods by the IAHSAA to determine Round of 16 and Quarterfinal matchups, with advancers playing Oct. 29. All playoff games will kick off at 7 p.m.

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