The expectations for the Ankeny football team in the 2020 season were already going to be high.
Now, they might be going through the roof.
Ankeny has earned a co-No. 1 ranking along with seven-time defending state champion Dowling Catholic in Class 4A in the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s offseason rankings. Both teams scored 54 poll points from a panel of six voters.
Dowling had three first-place votes, while Ankeny had two. Valley got the other first-place vote and is third in the rankings.
Ankeny Centennial also earned a spot in the top 10. The Jaguars are ranked 10th.
Ankeny returns many of the key pieces from a team that went 7-4 and reached the Class 4A quarterfinals, including all-state receiver Brody Brecht. Brecht, who had 35 catches for 796 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, is expected to choose between scholarship offers from Iowa and Iowa State this summer.
Here is what the Gazette wrote about Ankeny:
“The Hawks lost to Dowling twice last year by verdicts of 24-14 and 42-14, but they have the talent and experience now to hang with anybody. Senior-to-be Jase Bauer passed for 20 touchdowns and ran for six more. Colin Kadolph is a returning 1,000-yard rusher, and four receivers that had at least 10 catches are back. About half of the key defensive players return, and that all adds up to a very dangerous team. The Hawks’ quest begins against city rival Ankeny Centennial.”
Here is what the Gazette wrote about Centennial:
“Along with Dowling, the Jaguars were handed the most challenging schedule in 4A. Their opponents, seven of which made the playoffs in 2019, were a combined 70-27. In addition, graduation hits hard on both sides of the ball. Tyler Johnson is back; he was the second-leading rusher at 694 yards (and scored four touchdowns). With this schedule, anything better than .500 should get the Jaguars into the playoffs.”
Here is the complete top 10:
T-1. Ankeny 54
T-1. Dowling Catholic 54
3. Valley 46
4. Cedar Falls 37
5. Waukee 28
T-6. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 22
T-6. Southeast Polk 22
8. Bettendorf 13
9. Urbandale 11
10. Ankeny Centennial 10