Thursday's football state finals capsule: Grundy Center (11-1) vs. West Hancock (12-0)

Jake Ryder





What: Class A football championship game

Where: UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls

When: 1:30 p.m., Nov. 21

How to watch: $10 admission at the UNI-Dome, watch online at, Grundy County residents can view the game on KFXA 28.2 out of Cedar Rapids. See the full state-wide coverage map for out-of-county residents

BCMoore computer prediction: West Hancock wins by 19 points

History: Grundy Center defeated Britt, 19-7, in the 1987 championship game. The Spartans also won a 14-7 game in the 1988 semifinals against Britt en route to the state title in '88. Since Britt consolidated with nearby school districts to become West Hancock, the Eagles have won three of the last five meetings, including wins in district play in 2016 and 2017. The last postseason meeting between the two teams was won by the Spartans, an opening-round triumph in 2015.

Road to the Title Game: West Hancock; def. IKM-Manning 38-14, South O'Brien 43-0, Woodbury Central 49-20. Grundy Center; def. Belle Plaine 28-14, MFL MarMac 35-20, Saint Ansgar 23-21.

About the Eagles: Another run-first team takes on the Spartans in the UNI-Dome. West Hancock averages 410 rushing yards per game. Three Eagles rank in the top 15 rushers in Class A this season: Tate Hagen has 2,122 rushing yards and Josef Smith and Cole Kelly are at 1,157 yards and 1,146 yards, respectively, a rare trifecta of 1,000-yard rushers on a single team. When West Hancock does throw the ball (average of 2.9 times per game), it's usually for a big gain, averaging over 20 yards per completion. The Eagles also bring a daunting defense that hasn't allowed more than 20 points to a team since Week 1 against 2A school Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, a 48-26 win for the Eagles. Against Woodbury Central, West Hancock forced three turnovers and scored the first 21 points of the game. West Hancock waltzed through district play in A-3 and was the only playoff qualifier out of the district.

Key to the Game: Can Grundy Center's defense stop West Hancock? The Spartans have held all three previous postseason opponents well below their offensive averages. West Hancock enters Thursday's game averaging 49.8 points per game and has scored at least 38 points in every game this season.


The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
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