2022 Week 12 (Iowa)

2022 Week 12 (Iowa)

This week did not go as well as I had hoped. It was part of a two week trip to Iowa and Minnesota. On the heels of returning from Fargo the previous weekend. I woke up on Monday and my right eye was hazy. Similar to looking through a white fog. I still felt horrible from the previous week. So, I planned to just soldier through it. Thought maybe I had poked my eye while sleeping the night before.

It’s why my Monday was a lot slower than planned. I had gotten everything ready to head back out on Tuesday. Or, so I thought. But, on Tuesday morning, I was really questioning whether to follow through with my trip. The first game was Wednesday afternoon in Iowa. Just 800 miles away.

So, I had planned to take my daughter to school after voting, and then head to Columbus. That didn’t happen. I hadn’t even finished getting ready before heading out to drop her off. So, I returned home and made the incredibly short drive to my voting location.

At this point, I was using visine drops for my eye because something wasn’t right. Just one eye. I called one clinic, and was told they could see me in January. Well, that wasn’t the expedient service I was expecting.

So, I figured I’d just deal with it. Middle-aged stubborness, I guess. Got my truck packed up, and headed to Columbus to pick up my friend and head out.

The drive from Columbus to Iowa went well. Just one stop for gas in Columbus before leaving and a food break in Covington, Indiana at Benjamin’s. This was the third year I’ve stopped there for dinner. And it’s worth it.

Got the Prime Rib Sandwich and the crust on it was perfect. And all for just $13.99. Definitely recommend this place to anyone passing through western Indiana. After that, it was a straight shot to Iowa along I-74 to I-80. From there, a quick drive north along I-380 to Cedar Rapids to call it a night.

The next morning, it was an hour drive north to Cedar Falls. The 8-man state semifinals were starting at 1pm.

#60 – Wayland WACO v. Newell-Fonda

After parking and walking over to the ticket office, I paid my $12.50 and headed to the entrance. My eye was really bothering me, so, I just struggled through it. And then I started googling. With the first quarter over, I was looking at what could be causing my eye to worsen. My face, that had hurt all week, was so much better. But, not my eye. From Monday morning to Wednesday morning, my right eye was working, but incredibly bright looking at anything. So much that it hurt.

And then I found a clinic in Waterloo and went to make an appointment for in the morning. And was told they had an appointment at 2:20pm. It was just before 2pm when I called and I decided to take it. I left the game, and headed out to the truck and drove over to the eye clinic. It took a while, but I finally got checked out and was honestly stunned by the cause.

I’m 40. I had Chicken Pox as a kid. I had shingles. And that’s what was causing the problem with my eye. I had some slight swelling on the front of my eye. I got prescribed some steroid eye drops and some antiviral pills for the shingles. And just a few hundred dollars lighter, was at the pharmacy filling the prescription. But, that pharmacy in Cedar Falls was out. So, they found one back in Waterloo that had the drops in stock.

By this point, the next game had started and I decided to just pass on getting back into the stadium. I went over to the hotel and checked in, and then went back to the stadium to pick up my friend. And call it a night.

The next morning was the first of three straight quadrupleheaders. The Class A (not to be confused with Class 1A) semifinals started things off.

#61 – West Hancock v. Lynnville-Sully

I remember this was a good game. But, I didn’t take much for photos. For obvious reasons. I had been hoping that the eyedrops would work quickly, but my right eye was still incredibly uncomfortable. So, I was mostly just watching the game one-eyed. Lynville-Sully came back from a 14-0 deficit to tie it going into the 4th. But West Hancock would score to take the game, 22-14. It was my first time seeing Lynnville-Sully.

#62 – Grundy Center v. Woodbury Central

Next up was two teams I’ve seen previously. Woodbury Central is west near Sioux City. While Grundy Center was just 27 miles from the UNI-Dome. Grundy Center built a sizeable halftime lead and ran away with it, 49-20 despite a few late game scores by the Wildcats.

#63 – Lewis Central v. Carlisle

Lewis Central jumped out to a stunning 35-0 first half lead. Seeing my first ‘first half running clock’ in a game. In iowa, the 35-point mercy rule starts at any point in the game. Extending it to 42 points by the end of the 3rd. However, Carlisle would reel off three scores to make it a bit more respectable, at 42-21. It was my first time seeing Carlisle.

#64 – Cedar Rapids Xavier v. North Scott

The final game of the day was the second Class 4A Semifinal. I had seen Xavier previously, but this was my first time seeing North Scott. North Scott is located just 145 miles from the UNI-Dome, just north of Davenport near the Illinois border. Xavier would jump out to a 24-3 halftime lead. And win comfortably, 38-10.

Was a short drive to the hotel, the same hotel i’ve stayed at every year I’ve come to Iowa’s playoff games at the UNI-Dome, but one. The drops at least made my eye feel ‘comfortable’, but wasn’t helping with the vision.

But, I was back at it the next morning for four more games.

#65 – Van Meter v. West Branch

Staggeringly, this was my fifth time seeing Van Meter play. I had seen them almost every year I had been to Iowa. The Bulldogs were taking on West Branch. A school I was seeing for the first time, but was well acquainted with. West Branch’s home field is the “Little Rose Bowl” and a bucket list stadium of mine to see.

2021 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

As with most of the games, Van Meter ran away with this one. Turning a 28-3 halftime lead into a 42-17 victory.

#66 – West Sioux v. Underwood

This was my ‘game of the day’, or so I thought. I intended to do scoring updates of the game as West Sioux is one of my favored teams in the state. We also were intending to stop by West Sioux’s stadium later in the following week. So, was definitely hoping to see them win.

It seemed like a struggle early, but West Sioux poured it on in the second frame, and sat on a 30-7 halftime lead. And then just demoralized Underwood, winning 47-7. It was my first time seeing Underwood. I took a moment to remember where in the state they were, as they’re a small stop just east of Council Bluffs along I-80.

#67 – West Des Moines Dowling Catholic v. West Des Moines Valley

I was not expecting much from this game. Calpreps had this game projected at 34-7 for the Maroons of Dowling Catholic. I had seen Dowling Catholic three times previously. I also saw Valley three times as well. In fact, I saw this very matchup in a previous semifinal weekend.

These two are, however, big rivals. The two schools are just 2.2 miles apart on Des Moines’ western suburbia. They’re well acquainted. And on top of this, Valley was only 7-4, having finished the regular season, 5-4. The 14th seed in the playoffs taking on the top seed.

Dowling Catholic would take a 7-0 first quarter lead, and eek out a 14-7 halftime advantage. The third quarter felt like the game had effectively ended. Dowling Catholic had scored once again, and a 21-7 lead felt insurmountable.

And then it happened.

Valley scored and then had the ball late in the game. Driving down field, Valley scored on a 3 yard TD run with 30 seconds left. And, facing a 21-20 deficit and the prospect of Dowling Catholic’s war hammer offense finding rhythm in overtime, went with the two point pass and miraculously threaded the needle through the crowd and caught by the receiver. A few plays later, the underdog Valley Tigers, no stranger to the state title game themselves, were on their way to compete for title #6.

All together, this was the best game of the year. The underdog status, the rivalry, the atmosphere, the location, the comeback, the two point try, everything.

#68 – Southeast Polk v. Johnston

Southeast Polk headed out to a running clock, 35-0. Johnston scored twice to make it respectable, but a rather cathartic matchup after such a thrilling finish in the previous game. Southeast Polk 35, Johnston 14. It was my first time seeing Johnston. Both of these schools were from the greater Des Moines area.

My eye was feeling better, but wasn’t back to normal. But, at least watching the games was much easier. I could actually keep both eyes open and the right eye’s haze was much less now. And lines and edges were distinct. The only issue was the haze. And if I looked out of my right eye for too long, I would feel my eye fatigued enough I had to sit one-eyed.

#69 – Williamsburg v. Dubuque Wahlert Catholic

Saturday was the 2A and 3A semifinals. First up, was Williamsburg, who I saw previously, against a first time team in Wahlert Catholic. But Williamsburg’s passing attack was just too much. Wahlert struggled and though their defense tried, couldn’t hold off the onslaught. Williamsburg’s first quarter lead went from 10-0 after 1 to 17-0 at the break. 24-0 after three. And though a touchdown made it closer, Williamsburg won by just dominating Wahlert relentlessly. Winning 31-7.

#70 – CL-GLR v. OABCIG

This was the Alphabet Bowl. I had seen OABCIG before. Just last year, actually. OABCIG High School is a considation that was only a few years old. Comprised of the towns of Odebolt, Arthur, Battle Creek and Ida Grove.

Meanwhile, CL-GLR is a co-op between two schools. Central Lyon and George-Little Rock. Normally, I would write out the two names, but the football team themselves seems consistent with referring to themselves as CL-GLR online. And Central Lyon/George-Little Rock would seem a bit unruly. It was my first time seeing Central Lyon in any form play. Though I had seen West Lyon before. Lyon County being in the far northwest corner of the state with Minnesota and South Dakota bordering it.

For the game itself, CL-GLR just dominated OABCIG early. A 30-7 lead ended with a 37-14 victory.

During the game, I had been following one of the few games in Minnesota. DGF, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, was in a quarterfinal against Esko. I had seen DGF last week for the first time ever. And I had seen Esko last year. However, for next week’s plans in Minnesota, if DGF advanced, I would get in Saturday for the state semifinals to photograph the game for Magnitude Sports. I was already assured Friday with Barnesville winning easily over Moose Lake/Willow River.

I also was following the South Dakota state championships from the Dakota Dome in Vermillion. Lincoln Kienholz had just led Pierre T.F. Riggs to their sixth straight state championship. And his third as a starter. He’s a University of Washington recruit, and one future college player I’ll keep tabs on going forward. I had seen him play twice. Once in the state finals in 2020, and earlier this season at Watertown.

#71 – Harlan v. Adel A-D-M

This was my first time seeing A-D-M. They’re located just northwest of Des Moines. An amalgamation of three communities, the school itself is labeled either A-D-M or ADM depending on where you find it written. Just the initials. Harlan, I had seen for the first time last year. And though the score would look close, and underdog A-D-M would make it fun, Harlan would win without much fear of a loss, 49-35.

#72 – Mount Vernon v. Humboldt

The last game of the weekend led me to another one of my favorite photos. Last year, I got a photo of a team leaving the lockerrooms from the northern concourse looking down at the field. So, decided to do it again. The game itself wasn’t hugely interesting to me. Mount Vernon was the favorite and I had seen both teams previously.

I mostly wanted a brisk pace that would not extend the day much longer than needed. Mount Vernon would take a 7-3 halftime lead. Holding it into the fourth quarter. With the ball late, down 14-3, Humboldt opted for another field goal. Hoping to make an 8-point deficit a bit easier to take the last few minutes. But were unable to close the gap further. Mount Vernon would win, 14-6.

On Sunday morning, I stopped at J’s Homestyle Cooking, just south of the UNI-Dome for a late breakfast. I had a J’s Omelette. Which is a chicken fried steak and hashbrowns wrapped in eggs, and covered in suausage gravy. It was quite good.

For the few days between Iowa and Minnesota, was a short stay in Sioux City. And along the way, was some sightseeing.

Sac City was an interesting stop. Along US20, I saw the billboard for the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball. And I had to stop. I had already seen the World Largest Ball of Twine. So, why not?

And then a stop in Holstein, whose River View High School has a decided un-bovine nickname of the Raptors. With a metal welded raptor prowling out front.

And a stop in Moville. The lone stop sign along US20 between Sioux City and Dubuque. Nearly the entire length of the state. Woodbury Central’s school and sports fields located across the street from the Woodbury County Fairgrounds.

And lastly, was one quick drive by of Lewis & Clark Park in Sioux City. I had seen a baseball game here in 2019. It was a horrible experience with sweltering, listless heat. No breeze. Just radiating heat from every surface. And it was a quick detour from our stop at Walmart.

Before the next week would start. With a tour of South Dakota and Nebraska, and a stop at West Sioux’s afternoon practice for a state championship game.

Lunch on Monday and Tuesday was at Sneaky’s Chicken in Sioux City. Opened in 1979.

Monday was a drive up through South Dakota, down into Nebraska and back. With stops in Elk Point and Vermillion with a stop at Mulberry Bend. Crossing into Nebraska to stop in Laurel, Wayne, and Pender.


2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa

2022 HSF Wk 12 Iowa


Ten new teams this weekend. I’ve been to the UNI-Dome previously. Total costs will be tallied in the Minnesota post next weekend.

Next Week

Fourteen games in Minnesota are the plan. Before returning home.

2022 Statistics

72 Games
142 Teams
34 Stadiums
13 States

81 New Teams
23 New Stadiums

1,478 different teams
466 different stadiums

1,345 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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