Dubuque Senior’s Cain McWilliams (right) looks for running room during last year’s game against Dubuque Hempstead at Dalzell Field. The city rivals meet again at Dalzell tonight to battle for bragging rights and the A.Y. McDonald Trophy.

Here is a capsule look at tonight’s key area games:




Kickoff — 7:15 p.m.

Radio — KDTH-AM 1370

Last year — Hempstead won, 26-20

Outlook — The annual battle for the A.Y. McDonald Trophy has arrived, and it’s shaping up to be a doozy of a battle. Both teams average exactly 27.8 points per game, but have arrived to this point in different fashion. Senior is coming off a 28-14 win over Waterloo West in which receiver Kendrick Watkins-Hogue set program records for single-game and season receiving yards, and quarterback Tommy Casey surpassed the program’s regular-season passing yards mark. Hempstead has lost its last two games by a combined four points — 21-17 at Class 4A No. 2 Cedar Falls, and 28-27 at Cedar Rapids Prairie. The Mustangs were denied a go-ahead score inside the opponent’s 2-yard line in the final minute of both games. Hempstead is 6-4 in its last 10 games against the Rams, dating to 2009. The Mustangs’ win last year snapped Senior’s two-game winning streak in the series. Over that 10-game stretch, the average final score has been 23.9-19.7 in Hempstead’s favor. To win tonight, and keep their playoff hopes alive, the Mustangs will need to slow Senior’s big three of Watkins-Hogue, Casey, and running back Cain McWilliams, who has run for 651 yards and five TDs. Senior will need to find a way to slow the production of Hempstead quarterback Aidan Dunne, who has taken to the air more often this season and has thrown for 859 yards and seven TDs. Dunne is also the team’s leading rusher with 360 yards and four TDs.

TH prediction — Senior 21, Hempstead 17

DUBUQUE WAHLERT (2-4, 0-2) at MARION (0-6, 0-2)

Kickoff — 7:15 p.m.

Radio — None

Last year — Marion won, 56-28

Outlook — Wahlert emerged from its mid-season gauntlet 0-2, but has winnable games the rest of the season. First up tonight is the winless Indians, who have been shutout twice and have scored only 17 points in their last four games. Expect the Golden Eagles to rely on the tandem of running back Gabe Anstoetter and fullback Joe Bahl to get back into the win column.

TH prediction — Wahlert 28, Marion 13

MAQUOKETA (3-3, 1-1) at CENTER POINT-URBANA (2-4, 1-1)

Kickoff — 7:15 p.m.

Last year — Center Point-Urbana won, 21-6

Outlook — The Cardinals are enjoying a strong season from quarterback Kannon Coakley as Maquoketa fights its way back into the playoff picture. Coakley has thrown for 707 yards and nine touchdowns, and already leads the team with 423 rushing yards and four more TDs. CPU has scored just five touchdowns over its last five games.

TH prediction — Maquoketa 34, Center Point-Urbana 7


Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Radio — KDST-FM 99.3

Last year — Cascade won, 21-20

Outlook — Another pivotal showdown in Class 1A District 4 tonight as rivals square off looking to keep pace with West Branch. These two teams enter coming off much different performances, as the Cougars rolled to a 36-18 win over Northeast Goose Lake behind 179 yards rushing and a score from Colby Holmes. Wide receiver Carter Green caught six passes for 104 yards and a TD as the Cascade offense is finding its footing. Meanwhile, the Trailblazers couldn’t get anything going on the road in a 28-7 loss to Bellevue. Not having top running back Evan Wulfekuhle didn’t help, and neither did the natural grass field conditions. Beckman will be back on its artificial turf tonight with the ability to use its speed a little easier.

TH prediction — Beckman 21, Cascade 16

NORTH CEDAR (4-2, 1-1) AT BELLEVUE (2-4, 1-1)

Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Last year — Bellevue won, 29-6

Outlook — The Comets are fresh off an emotional homecoming win over Dyersville Beckman and are back in the district title race. Max Jackson has become a dynamic playmaker on offense, and his hookup with sophomore wide receiver Jacob Waller has accounted for 448 yards and seven touchdowns. The Knights are led by QB Ethan Sahr, who has tossed 10 touchdowns this season.

TH prediction — Bellevue 30, North Cedar 22


Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Last year — Ed-Co won, 35-7

Outlook — The Class A No. 7-ranked Vikings are rolling toward another big season, and they shouldn’t be slowed down tonight. Parker Rochford has thrown for eight touchdowns and rushed for three more while racking up 918 total offensive yards.

TH prediction — Edgewood-Colesburg 49, Alburnett 12



Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Last year — Durand/Pecatonica won, 26-14

Outlook — The Warriors’ chances of returning to the playoffs have taken a hit amidst a four-game losing streak. Those four opponents hold a combined record of 18-6, and it will be another tough one tonight. Durand/Pecatonica beat Orangeville, 10-0, while East Dubuque lost to the Broncos by a point. It could be a tight battle.

TH prediction — Durand/Pecatonica 28, East Dubuque 24


DARLINGTON (5-2, 3-2) at MINERAL POINT (7-0, 5-0)

Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Radio — WBGR-FM 93.7

Last year — Mineral Point won, 42-0

Outlook — The Pointers enjoy incredible balance on offense, with 1,701 passing yards and 23 touchdowns to go with 1,555 rushing yards and 25 scores. The Redbirds rely on their ground attack to churn out 23.1 points per game, but it will take more than that to derail Mineral Point. Darlington can clinch a playoff berth with a win.

TH prediction — Mineral Point 42, Darlington 22

POTOSI/CASSVILLE (5-2, 2-2) at SOUTHWESTERN (3-4, 2-2)

Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Last year — Did not meet

Outlook — Both teams look to secure playoff eligibility with a win tonight. For Southwestern, that means its defense will need to slow down a Potosi/Cassville team averaging 29.9 points per game. The Wildcats are scoring just 14.7 points per game, so it will take an uptick in offense to take the next step forward.

TH prediction — Potosi/Cassville 27, Southwestern 16


Kickoff — 7 p.m.

Radio — superhits106.com

Last year — Benton/Scales Mound won, 52-21

Outlook — Both teams have the potential to light up the scoreboard tonight and this one could turn into a slugfest. Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg is already safely into the playoffs and still has hopes of claiming a share of the Six Rivers Conference title. The Timberwolves need a win tonight to earn playoff eligibility. River Ridge averages 31 points per game, while the Knights score 29.9.

TH prediction — Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg 42, River Ridge 35

Season records (Last week in parentheses):

O’Neill — 34-6 (6-0)

Ortman — 16-8 (2-2)

Tim O’Neill

Steve Ortman

Tim O’Neill