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Week eight area football previews: Mount Ayr takes on No. 1; Tigers and Demons duel

Mount Ayr at Van Meter

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Van Meter

RECORDS: Mount Ayr 6-1 (3-0 in district); Van Meter 7-0 (3-0 in district)

LAST MEETING (2013): Van Meter 34, Mount Ayr 14

LAST WEEK: Mount Ayr 28, Clarinda 6; Van Meter 36, Panorama 6

OVERVIEW: Mount Ayr is in the midst of a somewhat surprising return to form as one of the better squads in the area, while Van Meter steps in as the number one team and defending state champions.

Van Meter is outscoring opponents 42.4 to 6.7 points per game, while the Raiders have shown a knack for winning close games.

MA PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior DL/OT No. 71 John Shields leads the entire state, regardless of class, with 22 solo tackles for loss and has nine sacks this season. Shields has to have the most disruptive game of his career to help the Raiders slow the Bulldogs.

VAN METER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior RB No. 34 Ian Abramson has ran for a team-best 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground and leads a unit that hardly ever turns the ball over. Ball security means Van Meter will have its chances to score points by maintaining ball possession.

Nodaway Valley at St. Albert

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Council Bluffs

RECORDS: Nodaway Valley 0-7 (0-3 in district); St. Albert 4-3 (2-1 in district)

LAST MEETING (2017): St. Albert 59, NV 0

LAST WEEK: ASHTW 50, NV 0; St. Albert 45, Riverside 27

OVERVIEW: The Wolverines have battled turnover trouble and will look to turn that around and add to their total of nine defensive takeaways.

St. Albert is coming off a big rushing performance of 383 yards.

NV PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore RB No. 27 Tony Ayase needs to get going against for the Wolverines to move the ball.

ST. ALBERT PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior RB No. 11 Aiden Antisdel is coming off a monster game of 199 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.

AHSTW at Southwest Valley

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Corning

RECORDS: AHSTW 7-0 (3-0 in district); Southwest Valley 5-2 (1-2 in district)

LAST WEEK: AHSTW 50, NV 0; Earlham 32, Southwest Valley 0

OVERVIEW: Coming off a rough loss to Earlham and hindered by injuries, the Timberwolves will be looking to play tough against an AHSTW squad that is undoubtedly one of the state's best in Class A.

The Vikings own one of the best passing attacks in Class A with Blake Osbahr having thrown for 1,398 yards and 21 passing touchdowns compared to just one interception. He's also completing 70.8 percent of his passes.

AHSTW PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior WR No. 28 Drake Partridge has 657 yards and 12 touchdowns receiving on just 22 receptions.

SWV PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore No. 18 Blaine Venteicher has gotten more involved in the offense and has three defensive takeaways.

Lamoni at Lenox

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Lenox

RECORDS: Lamoni 5-2 (5-0 in district); Lenox 5-2 (4-1 in district)

LAST MEETING (2017): Lenox 44, Lamoni 18

LAST WEEK: Lamoni 48, East Union 34; Lenox 36, Murray 22

OVERVIEW: This game features two of the top rushing units in Eight Man football, with the top two rushers in the class (Lamoni QB Patrick Savage is No. 1 and Lenox running back Colton Gordon is No. 2). This one will very likely be won between the trenches.

Lamoni is yet to lose a district game, but closes the season with the top two teams in the district in Lenox and then Southeast Warren. Both teams badly need this win to stand a strong chance at playoff qualification, but Lenox needs it more.

LAMONI PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior QB No. 12 Patrick Savage is the man to watch and who else could it be? He has ran for more than 200 yards in three different games this season and has run for 1,242 yards on 10.3 yards per carry and has a class-best 26 rushing scores to go with 12 passing touchdowns.

LENOX PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior RB/DB No. 4 Colton Gordon will look to get the best of the class's top rusher by bulldozing his way through demons. With four defensive takeaways, including an interception return for touchdown, Lenox's workhorse needs to make a big impact on both sides of the ball.

East Union at Moravia

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Moravia

RECORDS: East Union 3-4 (2-3 in district); Moravia 3-4 (2-3 in district)

LAST MEETING (2013): East Union 48, Moravia 6

LAST WEEK: Lamoni 48, East Union 34; Moravia 30, Seymour 22

OVERVIEW: Two squads with matching overall and district records are looking to find their way to a winning season. On the line for East Union is a chance, with two more wins, for a fourth straight winning season and fifth straight with at least a .500 or better record.

Both units have defeated Murray handily. The Eagles go to the air frequently, throwing 23.4 passes per game. The Mohawks will be hoping to see a spike in their interception total as they enter with just five picks.

EU PLAYERS TO WATCH: Freshman WR/DB No. 30 Dahlton Proffitt has a team-high three defensive interceptions and has the potential to be big-play receiver opposite of one of the district's best receivers in Dillon Weis. EU may try to hit Proffitt, who has 177 yards receiving and four touchdowns, through the air if Weis sees extra coverage.

MORAVIA PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior QB/LB No. 12 Hunter Arbogast is the team's leading passer, rusher and tackler. With 58 tackles, he'll be looking to nullify any ground game EU can put together and maybe get into pass coverage and look for interceptions over the middle.

Southeast Warren at Murray

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Murray

RECORDS: Southeast Warren 8-0 (5-0 in district); Murray 3-4 (1-4 in district)

LAST WEEK: Southeast Warren 61, Mormon Trail 0; Lenox 36, Murray 22

OVERVIEW: SEW's defense has progressed as the season has worn on, and has not given up more than 14 points in a game after yielding 57 over the first two games.

The Warhawks held Mormon Trail to just 56 yards of offense last week. Murray found ways to move the ball a week ago, but will have to make explosive plays to score points, as driving the ball against SEW is extremely difficult.

SEW PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior RB/LB No. 45 Alex Hommer is a workhorse, 230-pound back who will run through arm tackles at will. The Mustangs will have to stop Hommer before he picks up a head of steam.

MURRAY PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior WR/TE/DB No, 10. Reece Held has become a threat in many facets, as his 307 receiving yards, 56 tackles and four interceptions and three fumble recoveries all lead the Mustangs.

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