Thursday, August 25, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

Wilson packing bigger punch for Saints

Maliki Wilson used his great quickness and agility to rush for 1,273 yards as a 160-pound scatback for the Xavier Saints last season.

Imagine what he might do this year as a 200-pound tailback with more power and even more speed.

"I feel a little faster than last year. I worked hard on that," Wilson said before practice Tuesday.

"I'll be able to hit a lot harder this year. The defense will have a little tougher time trying to handle the weight with it, too."

Wilson was not boasting. He never has, never will. But he's confident heading into the big showdown with Iowa City Regina in the season opener at Saints Field Friday night.

The kickoff is scheduled with 7 p.m. with no preliminary game.

Wilson said he feels a lot stronger this season. And even though he gained about 40 pounds in less than a year, there does not appear to be an ounce of fat on him.

"I totally worked on the weightlifting part," he said. "It should all work out pretty good."

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No. 8 Eagles spike Grand View JV

The Kirkwood Eagles did not look like the No. 8 college volleyball team in the country Wednesday night when they dropped the opening set to the Grand View junior varsity, but there was nothing to worry about.

The eighth-ranked Eagles rebounded for a 23-25, 25-14, 25-12, 25-15 victory in the season opener at Johnson Hall.

"We bounced back from that first set really well," said Coach Jill Williams, who liked the way her team performed in the last three sets.

Kirkwood returns five starters from a team that finished seventh at the NJCAA Division II national tournament last year. Williams also brought in eight new freshmen, giving the Eagles a nice blend of youth and experience.

"I do see good things for this group," she said. "I like the chemistry of the team. It's a good mix of personalities. There's a lot of athleticism."

Williams called a timeout after the Eagles fell behind, 9-4, in the first set. They never fully recovered in the opening game, but they got better as the night went along.

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Schulte welcomes new role with Saints

Bryce Schulte established himself as Xavier's top quarterback two years ago when he was only a sophomore, but now he's excited about playing an even bigger role with the Saints this season as a senior.

Schulte has been getting a good look in preseason drills as a "rover" on defense, working as a hybrid strong safety and linebacker in certain situations.

"We're going to put him where we need him, and that includes defense," Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said Friday night after the Saints had a scrimmage with Western Dubuque.

The Saints host Iowa City Regina in the season opener Friday night at 7 in a battle of Catholic school powers.

Bryce Schulte, the head coach's son, welcomes the opportunity to play defense in his final year at Xavier.

"The past two years I've practiced defense before the first week of the season," he said. "Last year I played on one drive versus Assumption and then I got pulled. And I went in a couple times over the year when guys got hurt."

His playing time on defense figures to jump significantly this year.

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Xavier's district ends soph/varsity twinbills

Xavier High School football fans who like seeing the sophomore and varsity teams play on the same night will be out of luck this season.

The Saints will have only one soph/varsity doubleheader this year due to a vote by the schools in Xavier's Class 3A football district. Only five of the eight schools in District 3 have sophomore teams this season due to a lack of players, so the district has switched to playing freshman games as the preliminary contest before varsity games on football Friday nights.

Charles City, Vinton-Shellsburg and South Tama in Class 3A District 3 do not have sophomore football teams, according to their school websites. Xavier, Benton Community, Decorah, Independence and Waverly-Shell Rock do have sophomore teams in Class 3A District 3, but the Xavier sophs will play those four opponents on Monday nights this season.

Xavier will play a traditional soph/varsity doubleheader when it visits Linn-Mar on Friday, Sept. 2 for a non-district game, but that will be the only soph/varsity twinbill this season for the Saints.

Xavier will play frosh/varsity doubleheaders against all seven of its district opponents.

The Xavier varsity football team will open the season this Friday night with a home date against Iowa City Regina at 7 p.m., but that will be the only game at Saints Field this Friday. Xavier will host the Regina sophomore team on Monday, Aug. 29 instead.

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Linn-Mar football players want Casebolt back

Four seniors on the Linn-Mar football team told school board members Monday night that they miss assistant coach Matt Casebolt and hope he returns to the team this season.

They did not get any answers from board members or from Linn-Mar superintendent Quintin Shepherd.

Casebolt, a long-time assistant coach for the Lions, has not attended any practices since preseason drills began last Monday.

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners has dismissed all of the complaints filed against Casebolt by some Linn-Mar families, but the Linn-Mar school district apparently has suspended Casebolt following the second of its own investigations into the charges.

Reese Phillips, Baylor Pree, Neme Siaway and Daylen Canty spoke at the school board meeting at district headquarters.

"It's been a lonely summer with all of our coaches not being there," said Phillips, the first to speak.

"Not having him this year has been hard," said Pree, mentioning Casebolt by name. "I trust everything he says. Casebolt was in charge of everything. I think he should come back this year."

"He taught me a lot from the first day I met him," said Siaway. "Without him this summer it's been really difficult. We have a good coaching staff, but we need Coach Casebolt to come back. We really miss him."

"Losing him for our senior season is like losing a father," said Canty, the fourth and final player to speak.

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