Twelve seniors will play their last game as an Albia Blue Demon football player at Mid-Prairie of Wellman on Friday. Much is on the line. The team has a chance to notch its first winning season in three years and finish as Class 2A District 6 runner-up.
The Albia seniors include Nathan Crall, Dawson Hermsen, Jer McAninch, Gage Wilson, Beau Leshen, Nick Scholtus, Skyler Workman, Hayden Gutcher, Cody Kosman, Wade Myers, Tate Padilla and Jaquan Stallworth.
Crall will end his career as one of the top receivers in Albia history. So far he has 42 catches for 411 yards and four touchdowns. He is five passes away from Kevin Pickerell’s record of 47 passes caught in a single season.
Gage Wilson is another in a quartet of top senior receivers. He has 20 catches for 270 yards, Dawson Hermsen has 17 for 198 and Beau Leshen seven for 185. Together they have caught 12 touchdown passes.
Hermsen has added 30 rushes for 163 yards, just behind leading rusher, Jer McAninch who has 65 for 234 and four touchdowns. Nick Scholtus has 10 carries for 19 and Skyler Workman has two carries for four including a touchdown.
The seniors have also contributed heavily on defense.
Leshen is the second leading tackler with 53 including six sacks. Hermsen has 42 tackles and four sacks, Crall has five interceptions including a 90-yard interception return for touchdown, Wilson has 25 tackles and a sack, McAninch has 15 tackles and an interception for touchdown, Cody Kosman has six tackles and a sack, Workman has four tackles and Scholtus, two along with an interception.
Albia enters the game with a 4-4 record and a single blemish on its district record, last week’s loss to Williamsburg.
The Golden Hawks are 2-6 and have struggled on offense.
“They started out the season in a spread offense and have gradually shifted back to the Power I,” said Coach Scott Farrington. “They’ve got some size on the offensive line, but their defensive line is pretty small. They did handle Davis County last week, so I think their team is trending upward.”
Brad Torrow, a 5’8”, 155-pound junior is the team’s quarterback and has completed 51 of 125 passes for 660 yards and four touchdowns. He has thrown six interceptions and has an 86.1 quarterback rating.
Justin Schwartz is the team’s leading rusher with 166 carries for 816 yards and eight touchdowns. Grant Boyse has 42 carries for 352 yards and six touchdown and Rex Peck has 20 carries for 80 yards.
All of the top rushers are seniors.
The top receiver on the team is Schwartz, who has caught 21 passes for 211 yards out of the backfield. Tom Butters, a 6’4”, 200 pound senior has nine catches for 212 yards and Boyse has six for 146. Jack Baker, a 6’2”, 180 junior has 12 catches for 144 yards.
The Golden Hawks will be about a match for Albia in size both on offense and defense. Like Albia, they also play a lot of players both ways. Boyse is their top tackler with 54.5, Baker has 41.5, Josh Wallinton, a junior, has 30.5 and Schwartz has 29.5.
The Blue Demons have relied on the pass all season and are hopeful super soph, Blake Chance is back after suffering a minor knee sprain just before half against Williamsburg. He has completed 113 of 217 passes for 1,312 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has a quarterback rating of 110.
“Blake suffered a slight knee sprain against Williamsburg, but I think he’ll be good to go Friday,” said Coach Farrington. “The game will come down to which team makes the least mistakes. To compete against Williamsburg last week, we needed to play a great game and we didn’t do that. We need to catch the ball and protect our quarterback better. Mid-Prairie doesn’t have near the size or speed of Williamsburg, but they have a veteran coach with a solid program.”
There is a 9/10 game that starts at 5 p.m.