Playoff preview West Central Valley at Woodward-Granger

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Woodward-Granger sophomore Abraham Bell was good on 5-of-7 PAT boots Friday against visiting NW Webster. Senior Carter Moran was the holder. Photo courtesy Sheila Wallace.

WOODWARD, IA — District 2 runner-up Woodward-Granger will host District 7 third-place West Central Valley Friday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.

W-G (5-3, 4-1) and WCV (5-3, 3-2) each rolled to three straight wins to cap their eight-game regular seasons. The hosting Hawks outscored Belmond-Klemme, South Central Calhoun, and NW Webster by a combined 155-26, with the Wildcats besting Panorama, Nodaway Valley and Interstate-35 124-27.

W-G lost, 24-14, to I-35. Both teams also faced AC/GC, with W-G falling, 34-30, and WCV, 28-26. Each beat Eagle Grove, W-G by a 50-6 margin while WCV squeaked by, 13-12.

WCV has shown steady improvement over the past two years. W-G whipped the Wildcats, 53-7, in 2020, but since that time the Wildcats have become a bigger and more physical team.

They have rushed for 1,744 yards and 25 touchdowns on 331 carries. Kaedon Lindsay (119-538, 10 TDs) and Braiden Beane (68-504, 5 TDs) leading the way.

Quarterback Nate Gerling is 28-of-74 for just 515 yards and three TDs passing. He has been intercepted seven times.

The Wildcat defense has picked off 11 passes and recovered seven fumbles. They allow an average of 21 points per game while the offense averages 25 points.

The Hawk defense is yielding 17 points per game and has 13 fumble recoveries and nine interceptions. W-G averages 35 points per contest.

Carter Moran is 112-185-5 with 1,544 yards and 14 TDs. He is second in 1A in passing yards and third in completions.

Dane Polich (32-560, 5 TDs), Brody Nardini (38-371, 4 TDs), Max Dalton (14-293, 2 TDs), and Dylan McCaulley (14-165, 1 TD) are the lead receivers.

Nardini passed current W-G head coach Cory Crnkovich for most career receptions this season with his 76th. Crnkovich was 75-1018 with 5 TDs in his stellar career, with Bryce Achenbach holding the school marks in yards (1,313) and TDs (12) on 63 snags.

Nardini could pass Crnkovich in yards as well if he pulls in 38 Friday. He is currently at 981 on 85 grabs with seven TDs.

Moran, a two-year starter, will not catch any Hawk alums but has shined in his time at the helm. The senior is a combined 223-413 for 3,095 yards. He has been picked off 12 times and has 29 touchdown passes.

W-G has rushed 207 times for 1,367 yards and 25 TDs.

McCaulley (720592, 9 TDs), Moran (61-333, 7 TDs), and Oliver Potter (25-225, 5 TDs) have carried most of the load.

Potter leads the defense with 86 total tackles, only two off the top spot in 1A. Kolby Fogarty (36), Brody Nardini (26.5), McCaulley (25.5) and Kade Seeman (25) have also made their fair share of defensive stops.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Hawk Stadium.

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