PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — The Southeast Polk Rams are having another stellar season, but do they have what it takes to go to the Dome? The team is already taking lessons learned from last year to heart.
"The biggest lesson from last year is don’t take this thing for granted. You got an opportunity again this Friday. Every day is special. As hard as this is the preparation that goes into it, and the work and all you do for those nine opportunities,” said Rams head coach Brad Zelenovich.
Southeast Polk is looking for more than just those nine opportunities.
The Rams roll into week eight with a six and one record on the season. Led by seniors on both sides of the ball, starting with the trigger man— Jaxon Dailey.
"He’s got so much poise and understand he’s been in big games; he’s been in big moments. The attention that this program is getting doesn’t seem to faze him, he’s just the same every day,” Zelenovich said.
The senior has thrown for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. His impact comes in more ways than just filling in the stat sheet.
"He’s a great leader and he just loves to win, it’s not about stats for him and he understands the role of the quarterback in our system,” said Zelenovich.
The Rams are no stranger to winning close games, a “Hail-Mary” in week one and a heart-stopping one-point win last week has put them atop of the RPI standings in Class 5A.
"We just had to keep our nose to the grindstone, they did exactly what they wanted to do with the ball and control it well. and it made for a good ball game. but great players can make great plays and Xavier was able to get that last one,” said the Rams' starting Quarterback Jaxon Dailey.
The play that Dailey and everyone else in Iowa was talking about; a blocked game-winning kick by the star on the defense— Xavier Nwankpa.
"I've known him for so long, I’ve been around him and I see stuff at practice. Every day he just kind of does something that makes you say, yup there goes Xavier,” Dailey said.
The top-rated recruit in Iowa saves his best plays for the biggest moments in the biggest of games.
The Rams will need big plays from both Nwankpa and Dailey to be able to make a playoff run, but for now, it’s one day at a time for the top team in Class 5A.
"We play who we play, all you can do is handle it a week at a time, and winning obviously trumps all,” said Zelenovich.
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