INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
Q: What was the biggest statement victory by an area team in Week 1?
Q: What was the biggest surprise from Week 1?
JJ: The way West Des Moines Valley handled Bettendorf, 49-13, was an eye opener and means Eastern Iowa is a longshot at best to have a Class 4A state champion. But I’ll say Cascade’s 47-12 win over Maquoketa. It’s not just that Cascade won, it’s how it won and by how much. Known as a high-flying aerial team, the Cougars rushed for 355 yards.
Q: Are strong non-district schedules good for programs?
KJP: In a time when non-district games don’t impact playoff qualifiers, tough non-district games are great for teams. The risk of injury or diminished confidence during and after these challenges are worth it. When Iowa City Regina begins 1A play, the Regals will have played Cedar Rapids Xavier and Solon, who they play in Week 2. Mount Vernon plays up against West Delaware after an opening loss to Solon. These early tests only help gauge a team’s strengths and weaknesses, and exposes them to pressure situations. It can only be beneficial later in the season.
Q: Do your expectations change with the Class 4A District 8 after Iowa City West was the only team to win its opener?
JL: Ask me again in a week. We’ll learn a lot more about the Trojans after they play Muscatine on Friday; then we can play the common-opponent card with Kennedy. But after one week, the Trojans have every appearance of a playoff team.
JJ: Too early to tell. To me, this week’s game at Muscatine is a biggie. Trojans win that, they might be my favorite to win a district that isn’t overly strong, in my opinion.
KJP: Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Iowa City West were the teams I thought would be the top two in this district and Week 1 didn’t change anything. The Cougars have a tough non-district slate, letting a win slip away against a very good Muscatine squad and facing Cedar Rapids Washington. The Trojans were impressive against Southeast Polk. I’m still betting on both of them until district foes top them.