The Gazette's Jeff Linder, Jeff Johnson and K.J. Pilcher tackle prep football questions in Four Downs.
1st and 10
Q: If Class 4A were structured like the College Football Playoff, who would be your top four teams to reach the semifinals?
JL: West Des Moines Dowling and Iowa City West are undefeated, and thus, are locks. They would be my 1 and 2 seeds. West Des Moines Valley has put together a 6-1 record against the strongest schedule in 4A — all seven of the Tigers’ opponents are above .500 — so they get the 3 seed. The 4 seed would come down to three teams: Cedar Falls, Johnston and Waukee (the latter two play Friday). I would give the Tigers the last spot based on the margin of their one loss, one point in overtime to West.
2nd and long
Q: Are you surprised that demonstrations during the national anthem have reached high school football?
JJ: Not at all. It was inevitable it was going to happen. Is it appropriate? I am NOT going down that road.
3rd and short
Q: What is the best team with a losing record?
KJP: You can look to Dubuque County and find two teams that fit the bill. Both Dubuque Wahlert and Western Dubuque are 3-4. Wahlert lost its first two games of the season by a combined five points, including a 12-10 loss to the Bobcats. The Golden Eagles also handled a 5-2 Marion team. The Bobcats opened the season 3-0, beating a decent Waterloo West team, but district play has come with a four-game skid.
4th and goal
Q: If you were an offensive coordinator, what offense would you run?
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JL: I’m not an offensive guru by any means, so it would probably be something simple and close to the vest. Hopefully I would be flexible enough to put together something that plays to the strengths of my personnel.
KJP: I like physical, ground-and-pound offenses. Run the Power-I, which is a rarity anymore. If you have the bodies to do dominate up front, you can control the ball and the clock. It can also lend itself to nifty play-action passing. Today’s athletes are bigger, faster and stronger, making this tough to execute.
JJ: I’m a traditional guy. Give me a pro set. A quarterback, a fullback, a tailback, a tight end and a couple of receivers. I’d mix it up, certainly, from time to time, going three and four wides, depending on my personnel and the situation. But I am not throwing it on every down. Or running it on every down, for that matter.
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