Monday, September 26, 2016
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Saints fall short against IC West

Xavier Coach Austin Filer liked the way his club rallied against Iowa City West Tuesday night, but he did not like the way the Saints fell behind so quickly in several of the sets.

The Saints put up a good fight before falling short, 25-23, 25-23, 13-25, 25-21, in a battle of ranked Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball teams at the Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

Xavier is ranked No. 6 in Class 4A and Iowa City West is ranked No. 11 in Class 5A. Both teams are threats to reach the state tournament in November, but Filer thinks his team needs to learn a few more lessons along the way.

The Saints began the season with 18 straight victories, including some impressive triumphs over ranked Class 5A opponents, but they've lost their last two outings against Marion (ranked No. 3 in Class 4A) and Iowa City West.

The Saints committed too many service errors against Iowa City West and failed to capitalize on other opportunities.

"We played really young tonight," said Filer, who has only two seniors on the roster. "We let our opponent get out to big leads and then halfway through the set when we were down 17-7 or 13-6 we said, 'Hey, it's go time.'


Bison shoved weary Hawkeyes out of the way

IOWA CITY - Iowa fans should not be shocked that the Hawkeyes lost to North Dakota State on Saturday, but they should be surprised by how it happened.

The Bison totally dominated the Hawkeyes in the fourth quarter and rallied for a 23-21 victory on a 37-yard field goal by Cam Pedersen as time expired before a sellout crowd at Kinnick Stadium.

North Dakota State is the undisputed king of FCS football, winning five straight national titles, and this was the Bison's sixth straight victory over an FBS team with previous wins over Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State and Iowa State.

Anyone who pays attention to college football knows that the elite teams from the FCS division (the old I-AA group) can beat teams from the FBS division (the old I-A club) on any given Saturday, so it's no shock that North Dakota State won this game.

The big surprise comes in HOW they won the ballgame.

The 13th-ranked Hawkeyes, who pride themselves on their strength and conditioning program, ran out of gas on defense in the fourth quarter as the Bison totally took control.


2006 state champs motivate No. 1 Saints

Xavier High School honored its 2006 football team Friday night on the 10th anniversary of those Saints stunning the world and capturing the Class 4A state title despite stiff odds against bigger schools.

A decade from now, Xavier might be honoring this year's team for winning another state crown.

The top-ranked Saints cruised to a 35-7 victory over Charles City Friday night in a Class 3A district game that was not nearly as close as the final score suggests.

Bryce Schulte threw four touchdown passes and Xavier opened a 35-0 bulge midway through the third quarter before Coach Duane Schulte emptied his bench and gave everyone a chance to play on Senior Night.

The 2006 state champs were saluted during a reception in the Xavier Commons before the game and were introduced at halftime of the varsity contest.

"I can't describe how great it was to walk in our Commons and see all those guys there," said Coach Schulte, who steered the Saints to their state crown 10 years ago. "It warms my heart to see them back here, to be honest with you.

"They're great guys," he said. "They're the standard for what Xavier football kind of is."

Xavier is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in district competition this year as it motors toward the Class 3A playoffs. Their ultimate goal is winning a state title of their own, and seeing the 2006 state champs at the game Friday got their attention.

"It certainly motivates us a little bit," said linebacker John Rocca, who had several sacks and helped the Saints hold Charles City to just 16 yards on the ground.


Xavier honoring 2006 state football champs

Xavier High School will welcome members of its 2006 Class 4A state championship football team Friday night during the district football game against Charles City at Saints Field.

A reception will be held in the Xavier commons/cafeteria beginning at 6 p.m. Friday. Memorabilia from the 2006 season will be on display in the commons through halftime of the varsity game.

Members of the 2006 team will be introduced at the conclusion of halftime festivities during the varsity game.

With a varsity roster size of 49 players, the Saints captured the crown of the largest class in the state with a perfect 13-0 record.

The 2006 season was filled with many memorable moments, including arguably one of the most thrilling plays in Iowa high school football playoff history in the state semifinal game against perennial power Bettendorf.

Xavier's Josh Lorenson forced a fumble in the waning minutes of a tied game, and the fumble was recovered by Xavier's David Drahozal and returned 95 yards for a Saints touchdown. The play would come to be known in the Xavier community as the "Immaculate Recovery," propelling the Saints to a 21-14 victory over the Bulldogs.


Barish, Miller anchor Xavier D-Line

It's always nice when the opposing coach has something good to say about your players before a big game.

That's what happened this past Friday night when Benton Community football coach Kal Goodchild told Xavier Coach Duane Schulte that he was really impressed with defensive tackles Zach Barish and Lucas Miller from watching them on tape.

"He mentioned how impressive he was with these two guys," Schulte related, "and hopefully rightfully so."

Barish, who stands 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, and Miller, who measures 5-11 and 225, are both seniors and two-year starters for the Saints. They give Xavier a physical presence in the middle of the defensive line, a key ingredient for any successful team.

"They're an integral part of what we do," said Schulte, whose Saints are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A heading into Friday night's home game with Charles City. "They're hard-nosed, bulldog-type kids that have a lot of grit to them. They try to get after it and play good, solid old-fashioned football."

Interior defensive linemen usually go unnoticed by fans, but rival coaches spend a lot of time analyzing an opponent and Goodchild obviously liked what he saw on tape. He probably was just as impressed with them in Xavier's 47-14 victory over the Bobcats in Van Horne.

The players like to be noticed, but don't let it go to their heads.

"I appreciate all the comments we got from him," said Barish. "It gives us a little bit of confidence."


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