MOUNT VERNON - Cornell knew that any chance for success against unbeaten Lake Forest (Ill.) would begin and end with stopping the Foresters' star tailback, Joey Valdivia.
The Rams never got started.
Valdivia ran for 126 yards, four touch ... »
The Gazette's Jeff Linder, Jeff Johnson and K.J. Pilcher tackle Week 7 prep football questions.
Q: Whose postseason hopes are on life support?
JL: A couple of close losses (to Cedar Rapids Xavier and Waverly-Shell Rock) have put Decorah in a tough spot in Class 3A District 3. The Vikings probably will need to snag one of the two wild cards to earn a playoff berth. Lisbon is in the same boat in Class A District 4, and the Alburnett/East Buchanan loser will join the Lions as teams in a bind.
Q: Which matchup of unbeaten teams is most intriguing?
JJ: The sixth-ranked Hudson/No. 2 Gladbrook-Reinbeck game in Class A. Both are 6-0 and essentially neighbors. Runner-up is Waverly-Shell Rock and Cedar Rapids Xavier.
Q: Which dominant defense is better: Cedar Rapids Xavier or Solon?
KJP: I have had the pleasure of watching both of these teams pitch shutouts. Xavier dropped Linn-Mar, 16-0. Solon stifled Washington (Iowa), 40-0. Xavier passes the eye test. Not saying Solon doesn’t, but the Saints just seem more demonstrative.
Solon, however, isn’t flashy and is as dominating as they come. The stats don’t lie. The Spartans have allowed 14 points in six games (2.3 points per game) against teams with a combined 21-15 mark. They allow 124.3 yards per game, including just 77 passing yards a game. Solon’s defense has also scored five TDs.
Q: How do you view the 17-point rule given for given Cedar Rapids Kennedy going for a TD at the end of its 38-28 win over Linn-Mar last week?
JL: At first glance, the attempt to score looked worse than it actually was. This was an act by a team that is trying to do whatever it takes to make the playoffs, and as a coach, it would be tough to look into your players’ eyes at the end of the season if you came up a few points short, knowing you didn’t do everything in your power to get them there.
KJP: Actually, the 17-point differential rule is in place to prevent teams from having to run up the scores and embarrass teams. Apparently, there were some who did not like Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s late attempt to win by 17 against Linn-Mar last week. Seeing how Cedar Falls missed out on the 2016 postseason due to the point differential tiebreaker with Cedar Rapids Washington and Waterloo West, you can’t fault a team for trying to better its chances by hitting the 17-point plateau. And, simply, if you don’t like it then stop them.
JJ: You have to come up with some sort of tiebreaker to figure out playoff teams. Understood that Kennedy was trying to score in the final minute of a game it had essentially won because it wanted the most possible district points. Understood that some might feel that’s unsportsmanlike. Bottom line? There are more important things to worry about than this.
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