By Brad Cameron
The Keokuk Chiefs look to celebrate Homecoming with a win over the top team in Class 3A District 7 Friday.
Keokuk hosts Williamsburg Friday night at Calvert Stadium. The Raiders have won five games in a row after dropping the season opener at Grinnell and are 4-0 in the district. Keokuk, coming off a 35-28 win at Oskaloosa, is tied with Washington and Mount Pleasant in the district with a 2-1 record.
“I thought we did some nice things last week,” said Keokuk Head Coach Doug Dodds. “There were a lot of good things that came from our game with Oskaloosa. I thought we improved in some areas, but there are still other things we need to clean up.”
Friday’s game features the top two offenses in the district.
Williamsburg is averaging 439.5 yards of total offense this season. The Raiders have rushed for a district high 1,651 yards and 28 touchdowns and trail only Keokuk in passing yards with 986 yards.
Senior Chance Miller, who caught 31 passes as a wide receiver last season, leads Williamsburg with 541 yards and 10 touchdowns on 96 carries in five games. He gained 167 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries in Williamsburg’s 20-7 win against Washington last week.
“Williamsburg wants to establish the run game and their offensive line responded last week,” Dodds said. “They are just a big, physical team that runs the ball from the I-formation. Their line is big and real athletic up front.”
Williamsburg has four players with 30 or more carries this season. Junior Nick Spratt has 243 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries. Bryan MacDonald has 184 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries, and Lorren Stahl has 140 yards on 38 carries.
Junior Jacob Donohoe returned from an injury to complete 7 of 15 passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. He is 26 of 51 passing for 416 yards. Senior Chance Wetjen filled in when Donohoe was out and completed 39 of 80 passes for 540 yards and five touchdowns. Williamsburg has not thrown an interception this season.
“Both quarterbacks have done a nice job from what we’ve seen on film,” Dodds said. “We need to put them in predictable football situations to help ourselves. We can’t make mistakes against them.”
Senior Austin Maas is the Raiders’ top receiver with 20 catches for 301 yards. Senior Jordan McMenomy has 14 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Cody Marine and junior Aaron Schultz have 10 receptions and one touchdown.
Keokuk is averaging 397 yards on offense. The Chiefs lead the district with 1,222 passing yards and only trails Williamsburg rushing the football with 1,160 yards.
Quarterback Gabe Vandenberg has completed 63.1 percent of his 157 pass attempts. Dan Williams leads the Chiefs with 35 receptions for 437 yards and five touchdowns, while Darrion Sanders has 27 receptions for 478 yards and six touchdowns in one less game.
Matt Nye carried the ball 37 times for 242 yards in the win over Oskaloosa, and Trevor Roth is expected to return after missing the last two games with an injury. Roth has 553 yards and seven touchdowns on 67 carries, while Nye has 531 yards and six touchdowns on 82 carries this season.
“We’ll have our seventh different starting line-up Friday, but we’re as healthy this week as we’ve been all season,” Dodds said.
After giving up 21 points in each of the first two non-district games, Williamsburg has allowed seven points or less in three of the four district contests. The Raiders held Washington, which scored 51 points against Keokuk, to 169 yards of total offense last week.
“They are real impressive on defensive,” Dodds said. “They really get after it. They fly to the football and do a lot of great things.”
Senior defensive lineman Corbin Blythe had 11 tackles, including two solo tackles for a loss. He leads the team with 48 tackles, including 12 tackles for a loss.
Schultz had nine solo tackles and an interception against Washington. He leads the Raiders with five interceptions for the season.
Williamsburg has forced 22 turnovers this season.
“We need to control the football,” Dodds said. “We want to run the football and be two-dimensional on offense.”