Waukee coasted to the top seed and its first outright football division title since 2005 with a 46-6 win at Sioux City West on Oct. 24.
“The team is obviously very excited as we start the ‘second season’ and the playoffs,” coach Scott Carlson said. “The kids are focused and mentally in a good place heading into the first round.”
The Warriors (8-1) piled up 330 yards on the ground, even without leading rusher Trevor Allen. Pat Gray carried 12 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, Chase Fegenbush racked up 79 yards on just six carries, and A.J. Allen carried eight times for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Bryce Hingst added a rushing score.
Quarterback Ben Ferkin ran for 31 yards, and was 4-of-6 passing for 116 yards. He threw a 59-yard touchdown to Michael Jacobson, while Derek Groathouse and Nathan Keck connected on a 7-yard scoring play.
Matt Hoeg snagged two interceptions, one of which he returned 35 yards for a touchdown, and both Anthony Nelson and Nick Tweeten recovered fumbles. Tweeten had a team-high seven tackles, inculding one of the Warriors’ six sacks.
The Warriors were to open the playoffs at home on Wednesday against Des Moines Hoover (4-5). The Huskies were making their first playoff appearance since 1994.
“We know that the teams that are in the playoffs are all quality teams who are there for a reason,” Carlson said. “There are plenty of examples of upsets in the playoffs over the last couple of years to remind everyone of what can happen if we don’t play up to our ability in any game.”
Waukee is focusing on fundamentals in what the team hopes is a long playoff run.
“It’s the little things that usually separate the good teams from the great ones,” Carlson said. “When you’re done trying to improve, you won’t be around for long this time of year. We have to focus on the mental aspects of the game that can end up being the differences as we move forward into the playoffs.”
The winner will advance to a second-round matchup with either Ankeny Centennial (6-3) or Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (5-4) on Nov. 4. If the Warriors win, they will play again at home.