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 high-level area teams are in danger of missing the playoffs?
JL: There are several instances in which three teams are fighting for two spots in their districts. The most notable is in 2A District 4, which will sort itself out when North Fayette Valley, Union and Waukon conduct a three-team, three-week round robin. If one of those teams drops both games, it will likely be left out. There are no wild cards in Class 4A, so the third team in trios like Cedar Rapids Washington-Cedar Falls-Waterloo West, Cedar Rapids Prairie-Cedar Rapids Kennedy-Iowa City West and Bettendorf-Iowa City High-Muscatine will be sitting home Oct. 28.
Q: Who’s the best team in Class 4A on this side of the state?
JJ: Not sure it’s Cedar Rapids Washington right now. The Warriors looked vulnerable to me at times before last week’s loss to Cedar Falls. My vote would go to either Iowa City High or Bettendorf. City High has an overtime loss to Ames but has played exceptional football. Bettendorf has two losses, but one was to No. 1 West Des Moines Valley. Yeah, Washington won at Bettendorf in Week 3 in overtime, but was outgained.
Q: Which is the more impressive football town: Pella or Iowa City?
KJP: It is hard to argue with Iowa City, especially with Regina’s six straight titles and its Class 1A dominance. Pella has been just as impressive in 3A the last few years. The Dutch have reloaded and are my pick to win a top-5 matchup with Norwalk this week. Pella Christian has been impressive in 1A and might be Regina’s closest competition. Iowa City High has rebounded well this season. Due to the size of the town, I’ll go with Pella.
Q: If you are the athletics director at Iowa City Liberty, who is tops on your wish list to take the program for the 2018 season?
JL: There are several extremely qualified candidates within a 20-mile radius. Kevin Miller (Solon) and Marv Cook (Iowa City Regina) have won multiple state championships, and Cook has a number of excellent assistants that could fill the role. Lance Pedersen (Mount Vernon) is a proven winner and Matt Hughes has Clear Creek Amana on the rise. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but my first call would go to Miller.
JJ: This is a great opportunity for Iowa City Regina Coach Marv Cook to mold a Class 4A program from scratch. But does he want to do it? I’d find out. He’s the first guy I’d call, without question. If he says no, I’d talk to his coordinators at Regina: Jason Dumont and Ed Hinkel.
KJP: Without a doubt, Marv Cook would be the top choice to bring into the new program. I’m not sure Cook makes the move without bringing some of the Iowa City Regina staff with him. Not sure if that makes it easier on an AD. Matt Hughes would be a great choice after what he’s done at Clear Creek Amana. My final choice will be off the board here. I’d give a call to Mike Morrissey. The former Cedar Rapids Prairie coach returned to the Midwest after he spent a year coaching with Kurt Warner and has the pedigree, energy and personality that would be perfect for the cornerstone of a new program.
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