ANKENY, Iowa — As the 2021 high school football season boils down, only a few teams have this one last week of practice left.
In Ankeny, the Hawks are preparing for another state title game.
"It’s kind of sad, today is the last Monday,” said head coach Rick Nelson. It’s the last Monday of football practice for the seniors here at Ankeny High school.
"Kind of tear-jerky thinking this is my last week of high school football,” senior running back Colin Kadolph.
For seniors on the Ankeny Hawks football team, it’s the end of a chapter. But one that could put them in the school’s history books, as back-to-back state champions.
"So many emotions, so much happiness and celebration with the team,” said Kadolph.
One of those state title-winning seniors; running back Colin Kadolph, leads the team in touchdowns and rushing yards on the season.
"When you can rely on him to get four to five yards, it takes a lot of pressure off me, and just makes everything a lot easier,” said quarterback JJ Kohl.
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Easy is right. The junior transfer quarterback from cross-town Ankeny Centennial has thrown for 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns on the year. "We needed a new quarterback just because we had Jase for three years,” said Kadolph.
it didn’t take long for kohl to fit right in with the Hawks. The team rolled to 10 wins on the season. And now have a rematch with a one-loss Southeast Polk, the same team they beat last season in the state title game.
"I mean it’s good and bad, I mean it’s hard to beat a team twice,” said Kohl.
The defending state champs won round one in 2021 over the Rams of Southeast Polk. Now they have a date in the final game of the season with everything on the line, and a target on their back.
"We talk to our kids all the time just about us, we don’t talk about other teams, we don’t talk about the weather, we don’t talk about nothing,” said Nelson. “We talk about us because it comes down to us. How do we block, how do we tackle, how do we throw, how do we catch, how do we protect, and if we will do all those things then the game will take care of itself? You’re not going to win by just coming out here and saying hey, let’s go win, I mean it’s a year-round preparation."
For a rematch a year in the making this one is sure to live up to the hype.
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