The last - and only - time Xavier previously made it to the state football championship game was in 2006.
The Saints had escaped Bettendorf in the semifinals when David Drahozal picked off a fumble and returned it the length of the field for a game-winning touchdown.
Coach Duane Schulte underwent an appendectomy the week of the championship game, yet was at the UNI-Dome when the Saints took on Southeast Polk.
There has been no such drama to this point in the season. But you can expect a bone-crunching, spine-tingling adventure Friday night when No. 3 Xavier tangles with No. 1 Ankeny for the 2012 Class 4A title.
Both teams are 13-0. Both are guided by veteran coaches in search of their second state title. Both are powerful on offense, stingy on defense.
Ankeny is playing its last game as a united community. Next year, Centennial High School opens in Ankeny and roughly half of Ankeny High's students will be headed there.
Xavier has played all season as if a state championship was its mission. The closest an opponent came during the season was 17 points.
There is but one word to define this type of confrontation:
No. 3 Xavier (13-0) vs. No. 1 Ankeny (13-0)
Site: UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
Time: 7:06 p.m.
Radio: KMRY (AM-1450, FM-93.1); KGYM (AM-1600, FM-107.5, FM-106.3), WMT (AM-600)
Television: KCRG 9.2 (Mediacom 109, Imon 709)
Playoff appearances (last): Ankeny 23 (2011), Xavier 9 (2011)
Championship game appearances (last): Ankeny 2 (2007), Xavier 1 (2006)
Playoff record (state titles): Ankeny 34-21 (1997); Xavier 13-7 (2006)
Coaches: Xavier - Duane Schulte (124-70 in his 19th season); Ankeny - Jerry Pezzetti (370-142-1 in his 51st season)
Xavier - The Saints' quest for a perfect ending to a storybook season can be written in this game. Senior quarterback Reggie Schulte has completed 72.5 percent of his passes, which ranks second in the state in all classes. His 37 TD passes are tied for second in the state and rank first in Class 4A. Corbin Woods ranks seventh in the state in receiving yards with 1,086 and his 15 TD receptions rank third in 4A. Schulte has thrown nine TD passes in the playoffs. The defense did not allow more than 196 yards in a game during the regular season, but allowed 284 to Prairie and 279 to City High during the playoffs. Xavier won the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division to qualify for the playoffs. The Saints' closest contest was a 24-7 win over Cedar Falls on Oct. 12 at the UNI-Dome. The Saints beat the Tigers 27-6 in the semifinals.
Team stats (season averages per game) - Rushing offense (182.9), Passing offense (182.9), Total offense (365.8), Points (40.8); Rushing defense (99.7), Passing defense (90.7), Total defense (190.4), Opponent points (7.5). Individual leaders - Rushing: Brendan Miller 156-944 8 TDs, Wes Gardner 56-333 4 TDs, Nick Steingreaber 20-172 3 TDs; Passing: Schulte 137-189-6-2373 37 TDs; Receiving: Woods 54-1086 15 TDs, Bryce Grimm 32-459 7 TDs, Matt Nelson 13-158 8 TDs, Steingreaber 3-199 2 TDs; Tackles: Craig Murtha 79 (42 for loss), Logan Clarahan 69 (44 for loss), Nelson 46 (18 for loss, 11 sacks); INT.: Trey Sampson 7; PATs: Ryan Persick 66-68; FGs: Persick 9-12 (long 46).
Ankeny - The Hawks are a powerful offensive team, running a hybrid spread offense with Wing-T ballhandling actions. They use power and finesse on counters and sweeps. Ankeny is led by senior quarterback Joel Lanning, an Iowa State football commitment. He is equally dangerous running or passing the football with a combined 3,093 yards and 37 touchdowns this season and more than 8,000 yards in his career. He is one of four backs to rush for 420 yards or more this season. Ian Begg has scooted for a team-leading 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns. Three receivers have caught at least five touchdown passes. Ankeny won Class 4A Division 2 to qualify for the playoffs. The Hawks played two close games early in the season, beating Dowling and Southeast Polk by seven points each. Ankeny drubbed Southeast Polk 28-12 in the semifinals.
Team stats (season averages per game) - Rushing offense (290.3), Passing offense (180.7), Total offense (471.0), Points (45.1); Rushing defense (126.8), Passing defense (158.5), Total defense (285.4), Opponent points (13.8). Individual leaders - Rushing: Begg 121-1112 14 TDs, Lanning 134-905 15 TDs, Stephen Goforth 53-460 4 TDs, Drew Carlson 59-420 9 TDs; Passing: Lanning 114-198-3-2188 22 TDs; Receiving: Marshall Clark 36-664 5 TDs, Sam Pickard 21-393 5 TDs, Carlson 18-387 5 TDs, Begg 18-340 2 TDs; Tackles: Tanner Clayberg 127, Carlson 109, Nick McIntosh 62 (20 for loss, 11 sacks); PATs: Zach Halder 47-49, Heath Naylor 28-29; FGs: Halder 0-4, Naylor 2-3 (long 43).
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 22:10