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Xavier High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Valentine (and his blockers) lead Metro in rushing

Carter Valentine finished third in the 110 meter high hurdles at the Class 4A state track meet last spring, so he's accustomed to jumping over barriers and running fast.

It's been similar this fall on the football field, where Valentine has been eluding tacklers and running swiftly through holes to gain yards for the Xavier Saints.

Valentine has rushed for 312 yards in two games, averaging 156 per game and 8.0 per carry for the 10th-ranked Saints (2-0). He leads the Metro area in rushing, ranks second in the Mississippi Valley Conference and is eighth in Class 4A.

Xavier's linemen enjoy blocking for him.

"He makes it easy, because he hits the holes hard and he runs fast through them," said Josh Giles, one of three seniors on the O-Line.

Valentine carried the ball only eight times for 38 yards last season, but Coach Duane Schulte thought he had a chance to succeed this year if given the opportunity. Schulte likes multi-sport athletes, and Valentine played basketball for Xavier last winter before enjoying a successful campaign in track.

"We knew he was a good athlete, so we were hoping once he did get the ball good things would happen," Schulte said.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 03:35

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No.10 Xavier blanks Prairie, 14-0

Both Xavier and Prairie displayed offensive fireworks in their respective games during the opening week in high school football a week ago.

When they got together for the second game of the season on Friday night, the first half looked as if they were going to go out with a sizzle.

The two teams went back and forth, holding each other scoreless for almost two complete quarters. Then Xavier tailback Carter Valentine took his torch and started the show.

With nearly three minutes remaining in the first half, Valentine scurried for a 44-yard touchdown run that helped the 10th-ranked Saints defeat Prairie, 14-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Saints Field.

It was Xavier's second straight shutout, following a 28-0 conquest of Kennedy in Week 1.

Although Valentine was a workhorse and displayed tenacious running, he praised his offensive line for some of the school-bus size holes they were giving him.

“The offensive line did a great job making a huge hole for me to run through and I just followed them up and it was really a credit to them,” he said.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 18:32

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Sharp Saints overwhelm Cougars

The Battle for 42nd Street turned out to be more of a pillow fight than a brawl Friday night at Kingston Stadium.

Xavier junior Reggie Schulte threw three touchdown passes and senior Carter Valentine ran for 152 yards to lead the No. 10 Saints past Kennedy, 28-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference football opener.

Both teams lost a lot of key personnel from last year's teams, which both qualified for the playoffs. Kennedy beat Xavier, 11-7, in the playoffs after getting blown out by the Saints 35-7 in the season opener.

The Saints functioned like a team composed of veterans on both sides of the ball Friday. Xavier had 434 yards of total offense to just 142 for Kennedy. The Cougars had only 19 yards through the first three quarters.

"We just tried to execute. We preached all summer long to just do your job," Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said.

"That is a good team," Kennedy Coach Tim Lewis said of Xavier. "They do what they do very well."

What the Saints do best is run downhill behind a talented offensive line.

"Our offensive line blocked well and made the plays for us," said Valentine, whose 43-yard run on a draw play gave the Saints a first down at the Kennedy 11 on the first series of the game. Valentine, a state qualifier in the 110 hurdles last spring, carried the ball only eight times for 38 yards last season as backup to 1,000-yard rusher Pat Chizek.

"We were hoping we'd have something (special) there in him," Coach Schulte said. "He had an older brother, Mitch, who played for us and was a tough kid."

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 03:36

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Saints inspired by 2006 state football title

Matt Hansen sat in the stands in the UNI-Dome when the Xavier Saints beat Southeast Polk, 21-6, to capture the Class 4A football title in 2006. It was a win for the ages.

"We started yelling," he said.

Jordan Weber was there, too.

"Great game," he recalled. "It gives you something to work for. You want to get to that point where you can be that team in the Dome."

Carter Valentine won't ever forget it.

"It was an inspirational game," he said. "It was awesome."

Hansen, Weber and Valentine were in the seventh grade in 2006, but they were in Cedar Falls that day when the Saints went marching to the state crown.

"Everyone was there," said Valentine.

Hansen, Weber and Valentine are seniors now, three of the leaders on the 2011 edition of Xavier football. Nobody is predicting another state title, not with only four starters back from a club that finished 7-3, but they can dream.

"The goal is always the state championship," said Valentine. "That's what we go for every year."

Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2011 15:14

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Ladies of the Rings

MUSCATINE - Last year was one for the thumb.

This season was one for the other hand.

Xavier soccer players have four more digits to go before they'll have to start putting rings on their toes.

They are the Ladies of the Rings.

Kayla Armstrong and Annie Dale scored goals and No. 1 ranked Xavier held off No. 2 Waukee, 2-1, Saturday for the Class 2A girls soccer state championship. It is the Saints' sixth straight girls soccer title, albeit their first in Class 2A.

"It never gets old," said Xavier Coach Doug Graham, who guided the Saints to the last four state crowns. "We preach take it one game at a time, but in the back of our minds we know we want to win it."

Xavier (19-2) moved up to Class 2A when the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union expanded soccer from two to three classes before this season. According to Dale, there were more than a few doubters that the Saints would be able to compete for another crown.

"A lot of people didn't believe in us," she said. "They barely thought we were going to make it to finals, and then to make it -- and win it -- it proves a lot. We proved a lot to ourselves, our coaches and everyone else."

The reality of competing for a sixth straight title set in during a scoreless first half.

"It was more the reality of disappointing a lot of people," said Armstrong, a sophomore who had to sit out Xavier's semifinal round win over Glenwood after picking up a red card in the quarterfinals against Independence-East Buchanan. "I was really nervous."

Armstrong said Graham eased her anxieties with his halftime speech.

"He told us he knew we had pressure on us but that we knew how to play and no matter what, go out and have fun," she said.

"We made some adjustments at halftime and responded beautifully well," Graham said.

Armstrong got the fun going in the second minute of the second half, taking a crossing pass from Dale and tapping it past Megan Goodson, the Waukee keeper, for her team-leading 36th goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.

Dale's header off a corner kick by junior Lauren Konchar in the 52nd minute pushed Xavier's lead to 2-0. Konchar lofted the ball toward the far post and Dale got her head on it about 8 yards out, knocking it to the turf and past the sprawling Goodson. It was Dale's sixth goal of the tournament and 25th of the season.

Waukee (15-4) struck back with a goal in the 71st minute. Goodson, switched to forward, shuffled a pass to junior Katy Cavanaugh, who smoked it past Xavier keeper Tori Shepard. It was the first -- and only -- goal allowed by Shepard in five postseason games.

"I owe a lot of it to the defense," said Shepard, a four-year starter at keeper.

Waukee kept the pressure on Xavier's defense in the closing minutes. Shepard came up with one huge save off a header, hammering the ball away with her fist with about 2 1/2 minutes left.

"When I'm out there, I don't really think," Shepard said. "I just go. If I can get there I go."

Now it is Xavier that will be going for a seventh straight title next season. With eight of 11 starters back, including the high-scoring duo of Dale and Armstrong, the Saints wil be heavy favorites to repeat -- again.

"We'll relax tonight and we'll think about next year next year," Graham said.

Dale was named captain of the all-tournament team. Joining her on the squad were Shepard, senior Megan Konchar and junior Mary Levett.

CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Xavier 2, Waukee 1.

Goals -- Xavier: Kayla Armstrong (42nd min.), Annie Dale (52nd min.); Waukee: Katie Cavanaugh (71st min.). Assists -- Xavier: Dale, Lauren Konchar; Waukee: Megan Goodson.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 June 2011 19:38
   
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