Jason Van Arkel


Cyclones Move Quickly On New Football Coach

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2013, file photo, Toledo head coach Matt Campbell talks during an NCAA college football game against Navy in Toledo, Ohio. Now that Chris Petersen has left Boise State for Washington, college football needs another coach from outside the so-called Big 5 conferences that will have his name come up for almost every big job. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

Less than a week after dismissing Paul Rhoads, and mere hours after Rhoads coached his final game, it appears Iowa State has found its next head football coach. According to a report in the Toledo Blade, Cyclones athletic director Jamie Pollard has convinced Toledo head coach Matt Campbell to accept the ISU job. Campbell, who at age 36 is the second-youngest head coach at the FBS level, has a 35-15 career record in his four-plus seasons. He served as Toledo’s interim coach for the Rockets’ Military Bowl win in 2011,Read More

Preseason Prep Wrestling Rankings

carter isley

IAWrestle.com has released its high school preseason rankings for the 2015-2016 season, which begins on Monday. Only one area school appears in the team rankings, with Albia earning the #8 spot in Class 2A. In total, 18 area wrestlers begin the season ranked. Albia senior Carter Isley, who won the Class 2A 220-pound championship as a junior, begins the season ranked #1 at 285 pounds. Fellow Blue Demon seniors Bryce Leshen (#3, 145) and Blake Lawless (#4, 152) also begin the season ranked in the top five in their respectiveRead More

Pollard: Wish I Didn’t Have to Fire Rhoads

Pollard on Firing

“I wish we wouldn’t have been in this spot, because I know it disappoints a lot of people, especially Coach (Paul) Rhoads, his staff and our players.” Calling it a decision he wished he didn’t have to make, a somewhat saddened ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard said his firing of Rhoads as Iowa State’s head football coach wasn’t based on Saturday’s 38-35 loss at Kansas State. The Cyclones blew a 21-point halftime lead, and two fumbles in the final minute and a half turned a seven-point lead into a three-pointRead More

Iowa State Fires Paul Rhoads

Rhoads KSU

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard fired head football coach Paul Rhoads on Sunday. In a press release, the university said Rhoads would coach the final game of the Cyclones’ season this Saturday at West Virginia. Pollard made his decision the day after Iowa State’s second-half collapse at Kansas State. Leading 35-14 at halftime, the offense failed to score in the second half. Still leading 35-28 with less than two minutes to go, the Cyclones lost a fumble, allowed the tying touchdown, then lost another fumble that put the WildcatsRead More

Albia, Twin Cedars-Sigourney GBB Postponed

basketball snow

Because of the impending winter storm, two area high school basketball games scheduled for Friday night have been postponed. Twin Cedars was scheduled to open the season at Sigourney, but school officials announced Friday morning that the game had been postponed. The two teams will try to re-schedule, but no make-up date has been announced. Albia’s girls basketball team would have opened the season at Montezuma on Friday, but that matchup was also called off before noon. According to Albia’s website, the game will be made up on January 9.Read More

OHS Volleyball Coach Steps Down

jessica carson resigns

(release courtesy of Bulldog Athletics) After seven years of leading the OHS varsity volleyball squad, Coach Jessica Carson is stepping down. The announcement came today from Ottumwa’s Athletic Director, Mike Egbert. “This was a tough decision for me,” said Carson (top left in the picture). “I just feel like the team wasn’t progressing the way I would have liked.  I have been a head volleyball coach for Ottumwa for 7 years and have an overall record of 150-98. There are some good groups of younger players coming up which shouldRead More

Iowa Increases Security at Kinnick


(release courtesy of the Iowa Athletic Department) In order to make the last home game of the Iowa Football season as safe as possible, the University of Iowa has adjusted its security measures at Kinnick Stadium for the Iowa-Purdue football game on Saturday, November 21. The UI Athletics Department and UI Police ask that fans arrive early, and come to the game prepared for a more extensive screening process modeled after the National Football League — which places restrictions on purses and handbags. The clear-bag policy is not tied toRead More

UPDATED: Prep Hoops Coaches Allowed to Stand

ohs girls hoops

Before this coming season, fans at high school basketball games in the state of Iowa could see something they wouldn’t see anywhere else: head coaches staying seated on the bench during the action. Thanks to a rule often nicknamed “the seatbelt rule,” coaches had to remain seated, except during certain situations–almost all of which were dead-ball situations. That changed on Monday, when the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced that both they and the Iowa High School Athletic Association would adopt the national NFHS rule, which allows a headRead More

McKay Grabs Spotlight in ISU Win

McKay Postgame

On a team with a preseason All-American in Georges Niang, and one of the country’s best point guards in Monte Morris, Jameel McKay sometimes seems like the third wheel in Iowa State’s potent offense. Monday night, however, in the Cyclones’ home opener, the former Indian Hills two-time All-American stole the show at Hilton Coliseum. McKay scored a career-high 25 points, and earned a double-double by gathering 11 rebounds, as Iowa State blew past Chicago State 106-64. Most of McKay’s points came on crowd-pleasing dunks, including several off of alley-oop passesRead More

ISU’s Tucker Named Big 12 Defense Player of the Week

tucker ISU

(release courtesy of Cyclone Athletics) Iowa State junior nose guard Demond Tucker was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, announced today by the Big 12 Conference. A native of Hazelhurst, Miss., Tucker had the best game of his career in Iowa State’s narrow loss to No. 5 Oklahoma State on Saturday. The 6-0, 296-pounder recorded career highs in tackles (eight), tackles for loss (4.0) and sacks (2.0). He also forced a fumble. Tucker has been a disruptive force on the defensive front all season, registering a tackle forRead More

Hawkeyes Rise to 6th in AP, Coaches Polls


The emergence of the College Football Playoff has diminished the November impact of college football’s traditional polls, but those old standbys are now closer to agreeing with the CFP on where the Iowa football team should be. The Hawkeyes, who played last weekend as the #5 team in the CFP poll, moved up to #6 in both the Associated Press and coaches’ polls after defeating Minnesota 40-35 Saturday night. For Iowa, which reached a 10-0 record for the first time in school history, it’s the highest ranking this season inRead More

ISU Men’s Hoops Opens With Win

ISU SF 111315

The Iowa State men’s basketball team, in its first regular-season game under new head coach Steve Prohm, beat Colorado 68-62 in a sometimes-sloppy game Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. “Our guys are resilient,” Prohm said. “I thought we defended well for really long spurts in the game, thought we rebounded well, kept them off the glass.” Both teams struggled to stay consistent on the offensive end. The game stayed scoreless for the first three minutes, and Iowa State needed an 8-0 run at the end ofRead More

Did Nebraska Help Iowa?

Before I walk everyone through this scenario, let me acknowledge that I get it: Iowa fans don’t want to think about losing a game right now, nor should they. The Hawkeyes are 9-0, and they want to be 13-0 going into the College Football Playoff. Still, bear with me. If Iowa doesn’t get to 13-0, Nebraska may have just helped the Hawkeyes earn a better consolation prize. How so? Well, remember last week’s bowl projections, which presumed a 12-0 Iowa team would lose the Big 10 Championship Game to anRead More

ISU’s Niang Earns AP All-American Honors


(release courtesy of Matt Shoultz, Cyclones Athletics) Iowa State senior Georges Niang has been named an Associated Press Preseason All-American, announced Monday by the organization. Also on the team are Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Kris Dunn (Providence) and Ben Simmons (LSU). The Cyclone forward is the school’s first preseason All-American since Jamaal Tinsley in 2000. Niang, a Methuen, Massachusetts, native, earned a spot on the top team after averaging 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season. He was one of just two players in the nationRead More

Albia Returning to the UNI-Dome

albia football

In a contest that lived up to the pregame hype of being a state title-level matchup, the top-ranked Albia Blue Demons slugged their way past #2 South Tama 17-6 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs. The matchup of unbeatens, set up primarily because of geography, was a defensive struggle between two teams that have combined to post eight shutouts this season. Albia led 3-0 at halftime, but South Tama returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. That would be the only score allRead More

Deep Breath, Hawkeye Fans

OK. I promised a Hawkeye blog last week. Really, though, it was better to wait until after the first College Football Poll (CFP) rankings came out. I get the sense that Hawkeye fans are pretty much OK with Iowa being #9 in the first poll. It’s not a bad spot to be in at all. Right away, you know that three teams above Iowa will lose at some point, since six of the eight teams (LSU-Alabama, Ohio State-Michigan State, Baylor-TCU) will play each other. Toss in just a little bitRead More

#1 Albia Draws #2 South Tama in Quarterfinals

albia football

For the Albia football team, the joy of winning a second-round playoff game Monday night was quickly replaced by puzzlement. For most of the season, the Blue Demons have been ranked #1 in Class 2A, while South Tama held the #2 ranking. What had appeared to be a possible championship game matchup, however, will instead take place this Friday night in the quarterfinals, meaning one of the state’s top-two teams won’t even make it to the UNI-Dome for the semifinals. The decision on the pairings by the Iowa High SchoolRead More

Pekin, Van Buren, Cardinal on All-District Teams

pekin football

The Pekin football team is well-represented on this year’s Class A, District 6 All-District team, which also includes stand-out athletes from Van Buren and Cardinal. Seven Panthers made the all-district first team: quarterback Trever Northup, wide receiver Keaton Winn, offensive lineman Kaden Baker, offensive utility player Chase Copeland, defensive lineman Ryan Swanson, defensive back Brady Donovan and defensive utility player Tyler Copeland. Zack Conger and Chase Eckley made the all-district second team for Pekin. For Van Buren, offensive lineman Justin Hagens and defensive back Will Mertens earned first-team honors. Robert BarkerRead More

Prep Football Playoffs: Albia Advances, Moravia Falls

albia football

And then there was one. For the second straight season, the Albia Blue Demons are the final hope for an area state football championship. The top-ranked team in Class 2A stayed on track for the UNI-Dome Monday night with a 42-0 home win over Mid-Prairie in the second round of the playoffs. Albia didn’t get off to a fast start; in fact, they didn’t score in the first quarter, while Mid-Prairie drove inside the Blue Demons’ five-yard line on its second possession. The Hawks turned it over on downs, however,Read More

Nine Bulldogs Earn All-District Honors

OHS FG 091115

The Ottumwa football team is well-represented on this year’s Class 4A-6 All-District team. Two Bulldogs earned first-team accolades, three more made the second team and four others earned honorable mention. Two seniors, running back Isaiah Cox and linebacker Matthew Moreland, captured first-team honors. Cox rushed for 802 yards and 12 touchdowns, and also caught six passes for 81 yards and a score. Moreland recorded a team-high 70.5 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also led Ottumwa in turnovers forced, intercepting two passes and recovering two fumbles.Read More

Albia, Moravia Only Prep Football Playoff Winners

albia football

Six area prep football teams qualified for the playoffs this season. After Wednesday night’s first round, however, only the two undefeated teams remain. In Class 2A, #1 Albia cruised to a 56-0 win over Iowa Falls-Alden. The 10-0 Blue Demons advance to Monday night’s second round, when they will play host to Mid-Prairie. The 8-2 Hawks won Wednesday night on the road at PCM. In 8-Man, #9 Moravia improved to 10-0 by pulling away from Murray 64-26. The 10-0 Mohawks, fresh off the first playoff win in school history, willRead More

1st Round Prep Football Playoff Capsules

phs football

Class A: Lynnville-Sully (6-3) at Pekin (7-2), 61 miles Pekin: must get over disappointment of losing de facto district title game to W-MU Pekin ranks 6th in Class A in rushing (2,787 yards; 309.67 yards per game) L-S ranks 14th in Class A in passing (1,022 yards; 113.56 yards per game) Pekin: T-3rd in total offense in Class A (416 ypg); Lynville-Sully: 34th (277 ypg) Pekin: 35.3 ppg, 19 allowed/game L-S: 31.78 ppg, 18.56 allowed/game Key Players Pekin: QB Trever Northup (926 pass yds, 14 TD, 1 INT; 4 rushRead More

Shakeup in Cyclone Nation

I was planning to do a blog today on Iowa football. You know, 7-0, #10 ranking, darkhorse playoff contender Hawkeye football. Then Iowa State stole the headlines. I promise I’ll get back to the Hawkeyes this week, but how can I ignore it when Paul Rhoads walks to the microphone and announces that just now–literally, as in the time between when he woke up and his morning press conference–he had changed offensive coordinators? People want to know whether Mark Mangino was fired, or if he resigned. To me, that doesn’tRead More

ISU Football: Mangino Out as Offensive Coordinator


Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads announced Monday morning that offensive coordinator Mark Mangino has left the program. Mangino departs halfway through his second season with the Cyclones. Rhoads says he and Mangino hadn’t been on the same page for several weeks. “We tried to talk that through this morning, in an effort to get us moving in a different direction,” Rhoads said. “In the end, Mark was not interested in that. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I respect and understand his conviction.” Rhoads declined to say whetherRead More

Iowa’s King Named Thorpe Semifinalist


(release courtesy of Hawkeye Athletics) University of Iowa defensive back Desmond King is one of 16 semifinalists for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. The announcement was made Monday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. King, a junior from Detroit, leads the Big Ten Conference and ranks second in the nation with six interceptions. King has multiple interceptions in two games, with two thefts in wins over Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. King has recorded 22 solo tackles and nine assists, with one tackle for loss. HeRead More