OTTUMWA — One team has never been there. One team hasn't been there in over a decade.
For the Albia and Pekin football teams, however, the UNI-Dome is just as close for both.
One more win is all it's going to take for the second-ranked (2A) Blue Demons and 10th-ranked (A) Panthers to make that trip to Cedar Falls every football team in the state starts the year dreaming about. For two teams that have combined to win 20 of 22 games so far this fall, one more win apiece seems like such a simple hurdle to cross to be one of those 24 teams that will journey to northeastern Iowa next week.
The hurdles in front of the Panthers and Blue Demons, however, are teams that own a perfect 22-0 record combined.
Second-ranked BGM, 11-0 and ranked second in Class A, will play host to No. 10 Pekin tonight. Second-ranked Albia, also 11-0 and also ranked second in 2A, will play host to a fellow top-five unbeaten tonight when 11-0, No. 4 Mediapolis pays a visit to Monroe County.
Two area teams in two state quarterfinal showdowns looking for two wins that will be anything but easy to obtain.
And for both teams, it’s exactly where they want to be.
"This feels great,” Albia running back Alex Schultz said. “This is what we've been aiming for all year.”
“I want BGM,” Pekin running back Petie Clubb said. “I would have taken Lynnville-Sully, but I want BGM in this game.”
The Panthers (9-2) are going to have to win on the road after suffering a regular-season loss to the Bears just two weeks earlier. In the battle for the Class A, District 6 crown, the Bears attacked early from the air to build a lead and took advantage of two second-half turnovers deep in its own territory to hold off Pekin in a 19-7 victory that has allowed BGM home field advantage throughout the postseason so far.