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Week 4 football preview: Mount Ayr and Clarke clash, Lenox looks to remain perfect, Southwest Valley in need of a win

Tony Ayase attempts to run past a Central Decatur player earlier this season. Ayase has amassed 292 rushing yards and scored twice on the ground, leading the running game for Nodaway Valley.
Tony Ayase attempts to run past a Central Decatur player earlier this season. Ayase has amassed 292 rushing yards and scored twice on the ground, leading the running game for Nodaway Valley.

Nodaway Valley vs. West Central Valley

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Stuart

RECORDS: Nodaway Valley 2-2, West Central Valley 0-3

LAST MATCHUP (2018): West Central Valley 62, Nodaway Valley 12

OVERVIEW: After getting thumped by ACGC 54-0 last Friday, Nodaway Valley takes on a West Central Valley team that's scored six points across its last three games. With Nodaway Valley's season already an improvement from the year prior, this Friday is another opportunity for the Wolverines to make noise and get over .500.

West Central Valley has allowed five 100-plus yard games to opposing running backs and allowed back-to-back 70-plus point games to open the season. Last week, WCV allowed 48 points to Southwest Valley, the most of its season. With a porous defense having trouble stopping anything on offense, it's looking increasingly possible that quarterback Nathan Russell and lead running back Tony Ayase could combine for 400-plus yards.

Last year's matchup was West Central Valley's only win of the season. This season Nodaway Valley will be eager to avenge last season.

NODAWAY VALLEY PLAYERS TO WATCH: Austin Wilson, Clay Hohertz and Caelen DeVault will be busy making tackles in the backfield as well as staying active on offense. There's a lot of players who will be active, but if the Wolverines are up comfortably entering the fourth quarter, don't be shocked to see reserves enter on both sides of the ball.

WEST CENTRAL VALLEY PLAYERS TO WATCH: There are no stats available for West Central Valley.

Mount Ayr vs. Clarke

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Osceola

RECORDS: Mount Ayr 3-0, Clarke 2-1

LAST MATCHUP (2018): Mount Ayr 16, Clarke 14

OVERVIEW: Down multiple players, Clarke battled back last Friday for a 34-27 win over Red Oak. Class 1A No. 9 Mount Ayr rolled to a win over Central Decatur last week 49-14, putting up its biggest offensive output this season. Clarke's Chris Carson rushed for a school-record 326 yards last week. Both offenses will be on display Friday night in Osceola.

Clarke will have players back, according to head coach Duane Matthess, so the Indians will have the tangibles that helped them produce a season-opening, record-setting night against Martensdale-St. Marys. The mix of running backs make the Indians dangerous and shifty on offense and Mount Ayr has been solid at protecting the run – the exception being last week's 130-yard performance by CD's Cole Pedersen.

Both sides have quality offenses that have the makings for a high-scoring game. Mount Ayr hasn't seen an offense like Clarke's so it could be interesting to see how the Raiders adjust to a steady run game where Brian Avalos and Carson could haul off for a score at any spot in the field.

CLARKE PLAYERS TO WATCH: If back in the mix, Avalos will accompany Carson as two running backs that could put up 100-yard games. It all depends on what defense shows up for Mount Ayr. With an offensive style that doesn't promote the pass often (12 attempts this season), expect this tandem to get very familiar with the Raiders' defensive line.

MOUNT AYR PLAYERS TO WATCH: Isaac Grose rushed for more than 100 yards against Central Decatur and added two sacks on defense to his stat line. The team rushing and sacks leader will certainly have some influence on both sides of the ball for Mount Ayr Friday night.

Moravia vs. Murray

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Murray

RECORDS: Murray 0-3, Morava 1-2

LAST MATCHUP (2018): Moravia 52, Murray 14

OVERVIEW: Murray enters Friday losers of its last three, most recently a 64-6 loss to Lamoni. The Mustangs have struggled mightily to make anything happen on offense, but things could be swinging up with Moravia heading to town.

Moravia has lost two straight, losing to 8-man No. 2 New London 71-12 and Southeast Warren 47-8. While those two teams are full of talent, the losses should not be taken lightly. Moravia beat Twin Cedars to open the season, promptly hanging 51 on the board so it's apparent the offense is there.

It'll all come down to if Murray's defense can make stops and can produce more than it's season high of eight points. With Moravia's Tanner Cormeny able to put up 127 yards in a loss to No. 2 New London, it could be another long night for the Mustangs run block.

MORAVIA PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tanner Cormeny has received the bulk of pass attempts, catching six passes for 119 yards and a score, and has also received the bulk of the rushing attempts with 27 carries for 237 yards. He's the offensive playmaker for Moravia and has four touchdowns to his name, and is also a defensive playmaker with 38 1/2 tackles with two sacks. Murray will have his name circled on the pregame scouting report.

MURRAY PLAYERS TO WATCH: After a tough outing against Lamoni last week, the Murray offense looks to get back into it with a rushing offense that posted negative yards against Lamoni. Chance Lecy is still the leading rusher (191 yards, 50 carries) so he'll get his fair share of the ball. Expect him, Rilee Werner and Cole Lecy to hold it down on defense against a Moravia team that has struggled to move the chains in back-to-back weeks.

Lenox vs. East Union

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Afton

RECORDS: Lenox 4-0, East Union 2-1

LAST MATCHUP (2018): Lenox 57, East Union 20

OVERVIEW: Newly ranked 8-man No. 10 Lenox is one of two teams in Iowa with four wins, joining another 8-man team in Springville at 4-0. The Tigers are on a tear right now, outscoring opponents over the last two weeks 152-0. They have yet to allow a score in the month of September and average 63 points per game this year, making this a big challenge for East Union. EU enters Friday 2-0, having shutout Mormon Trail last week 48-0.

The Eagles enter Friday on a two-game win streak and are fresh off a 48-0 shutout of Griswold the week prior. After a tough season opening loss to East Mills, the Eagles' run game has found its footing and has churned out 665 rushing yards in both of its wins. The Tigers allowed a season-high 185 rushing yards to Sidney (Seymour stats are unavailable), so the defense can make stops when needed.

EU will need all legs on deck to make a healthy mix against the No. 10 team in the 8-man class.

LENOX PLAYERS TO WATCH: Colton Gordon has had three straight weeks of 125-plus yards rushing and fours straight of 100 yards or more. His 11 rushing scores is tied for the most in 8-man in the state. He's good at carrying the ball and is a major part of what has made Lenox ranked. Keep an eye on No. 4.

EAST UNION PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gauge Mitchell has a team leading 35 tackles, five coming for a loss (two sacks). He'll be flying all over the field to make stops for the Eagles and should be a big part of their run stop Friday night. Anthony Smith (three interceptions, 212 yards rushing) has been important on both sides of the ball as well, so expect him to be all over the place as well.

Clarinda vs. Southwest Valley

TIME AND SITE: 7 p.m. in Corning

RECORDS: Southwest Valley 2-1, Clarinda 3-0

LAST MATCHUP (2018): Southwest Valley 20, Clarinda 16

OVERVIEW: Southwest Valley is coming off a against West Central Valley (48-6), a big confidence booster for the Timberwolves after falling to Central Decatur 42-22 the week prior. This week will be an opportunity for the Timberwolves to get another win before starting district play, and could also give SWV sole possession of first place in the A-9 district.

Clarinda is undefeated this season with wins by 20-plus, 30-plus and 40-plus points. Despite the combined record of Clarinda's opponents being 1-8, the team comes in with confidence and a groove that could surprise Southwest Valley. A win over Atlantic last week is definitely a resume builder for Clarinda and a win over SWV could be another to give it an upper hand before district play.

Update: Former Creston/O-M Panther an Northwest Missouri State football All-American Collin Bevins has Clarinda undefeated for the first time since 2007. The first-year skipper will look to make it 4-0 as the Cardinals get another week deeper into the season.

CLARINDA PLAYERS TO WATCH: Clarinda has seven different players who have registered a tackle for a loss, five being for a sack. While the D-line has yet to face a team like Southwest Valley and a dual threat quarterback like Brendan Knapp, the ability to get behind the line for the stop can't be ignored.

SOUTHWEST VALLEY PLAYERS TO WATCH: Brendan Knapp has mad more than 100 yards rushing in every game this season and is poised to do it again Friday. On the opposite side of the ball, Mat Johnston, Tallen Myers and Ticker Tepoel have been as sure as they come in getting to the ball carrier for a loss. All four will be important come kickoff.

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