CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Titans and Sioux Falls Storm have met in the conference title game in each of the past four seasons.
If the Titans have any hope to make it five, they will need to dig out of an ever-increasing hole.
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Q: What has been the biggest upset to date?
JL: I’ll go with the 8-Player shocker last week at Gilbertville: Elkader Central 44, Don Bosco 34. That snapped a 40-game regular-season win streak for the Dons and a 29-game district run. Didn’t see that coming, especially when you play the common-opponent game (Don Bosco beat Midland handily; Midland defeated Central).
Q: Which team helped their playoff bids more last week — Cedar Rapids Prairie or Western Dubuque?
JJ: In my opinion, it was Cedar Rapids Prairie. Again, my opinion, but there are three “haves” and three “have-nots” in that district. You beat Iowa City West, which was one of the top contenders, and you still have to play Cedar Rapids Kennedy, which is the other top contender. I think Prairie set itself up nicely there with that win. I see Class 4A District 6, including Dubuque Senior, Pleasant Valley and North Scott, as a tossup and none of the teams will come out of it unbeaten.
Q: What playoff contender has the toughest remaining schedule?
KJP: Look no further than the top three teams in Class 2A District 4. Top-ranked North Fayette Valley, No. 2 Union and No. 7 Waukon all face each other over the final three weeks. They are a combined 14-1. They will be battling for the top two spots. Not only does Union face Waukon next week and the Tigerhawks in Week 8, the Knights close the regular season with a strong Cascade team, whose only losses have come to Waukon and North Fayette Valley. Anything Union gets it will have earned.
Clear Creek Amana faces a tough stretch in the next three weeks. The Clippers have a home showdown with unbeaten and sixth-ranked West Delaware on Friday. They travel to Marion, in the midst of a turnaround season, and perennial power Davenport Assumption. Those next three opponents are 11-4 combined.
Q: Who presents the biggest challenge to Class 1A top-ranked Iowa City Regina?
JL: The pick here is Pella Christian, who I have had No. 2 behind the Regals in my 1A ballot all season. The Eagles brought back so much from last year’s team, and haven’t disappointed in their 5-0 start. If Pella Christian is on the east side in the playoffs, and if Regina beats them to return to the state final, I see both West Lyon and Western Christian as viable threats.
JJ: I’ll go with Pella Christian. With a healthy David Kacmarynski at quarterback, that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it. There are some decent teams in Class 1A.
KJP: Taking the advice of Montgomery Brewster, I vote for “None of the Above.” Since I have to pick a team, I’m going with Pella Christian. The Eagles are second in Class 1A with 2,300 total yards of offense, thrashing five opponents by a total score of 287-34. The Eagles’ defense has three shutouts with more than 42 tackles for loss. West Lyon is another team that could present a challenge, but all the rest are no more than good matchups on paper.