The One to Count On...

Battle of Blue Bloods: Pella vs. Harlan Tonight in Class 3A Semifinals

Posted: Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 6:00 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS Sports - Trevor Castle

Three-time defending state champion Pella battles 12-time champ Harlan tonight in the class 3A football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

Both teams lost a non-district game, went undefeated in district play, and are 10-1 on the season. The Little Dutch are ranked fifth and the Cyclones sixth in the final Radio Iowa poll.

Pella used strong second half showings to pull away from Webster City and Dallas Center-Grimes in the first two rounds of the playoffs, while Harlan rolled both Sioux City Heelan and Sergeant Bluff-Luton.

The Cyclones are a run-first team, led by senior tailback Nick Foss, who’s amassed 2,221 yards from scrimmage and 36 total touchdowns. He’s led by a road-grading offense line that features three players 6’6” or taller and 300 pounds plus, with a 6’4” 280-pound tight end. Pella Coach Jay McKinstrey says that size has caused their opponents problems this season, and the Little Dutch need to use their team speed on defense as a counter-punch.

“If they get into our bodies, we’re in trouble. We have to make sure to use our speed and quickness to get off and make plays. Hopefully we can hang in there early and learn how to play at a little higher level yet. If we can do that, we feel pretty good about what we can do tonight. Harlan certainly poses problems with the many different ways that they can hurt you with their size and speed.”

On offense, McKinstey says that the game plan is to have a balanced approach, but admits that might change with the flow of the game. He knows that he needs to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, particularly Avery Van Zee, to keep the chains moving.

Kickoff is at 5:36 tonight at the UNI-Dome. Join us for wall-to-wall coverage from Cedar Falls on 92.1 KRLS. We’ll be on the air at 3:00 with the Jeremy Dingeman Concrete Football Friday Night Radio Preview Show, rolling into the Midtown Tire Radio Pregame Show at 5:00. Following the game, we’ll have the Slideways Karting Center Football Friday Night Radio Scoreboard Show live inside the Dome. Trevor Castle and Randy Sikkema will provide play-by-play coverage tonight.