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: Can the Marion Indians make the Class 3A playoffs?
JL: Not only can the Indians make the playoffs, but with two wins in the last two weeks, they can win the district. "Can they … " and "Will they … " are two different beasts. Even with a loss this week at West Delaware, Marion has a chance to qualify for the postseason if Davenport Assumption beats Clear Creek Amana Thursday and Marion beats Assumption next week. All will be a stiff challenge, but who thought Marion would beat CCA last week?
Q: Should BC Moore be used to determine postseason wild card selections?
JJ: No offense to the folks at BC Moore, but, no. There are so many variables in prep football. RPI has become a huge thing in college basketball and it is used some in selecting at-large teams. But not solely.
Q: What are the top offensive and defensive teams you’ve seen this season?
KJP: In two games I have attended, Cedar Rapids Prairie has racked up 365 and 382 rushing yards, respectively. The Hawks run a deceptive offense and have two strong backs in Joe Meyer and Zach Ganske, who run behind a gritty offensive line. They are fourth in Class 4A scoring, averaging almost 42 points per game. Could be some fireworks in Week 9 when Prairie and Cedar Rapids Kennedy face off. Also, can’t go wrong with Iowa City Regina, which has 2,966 total yards.
Defensively, it’s a tie between Cedar Rapids Xavier and Cedar Rapids Washington. Xavier’s dominance was apparent in a victory over Independence, allowing just one first down. Washington’s defense can take over the game and it has a knack for turnovers and getting points out of them.
Q: If you started an 11-player fantasy football team, who would be your first pick?
KJP: So many outstanding players, including running backs in the area. Xavier’s Maliki Wilson, West Branch’s Luke Lenoch, Prairie’s Joe Meyer and Dike-New Hartford’s Trent Johnson have put up major yardage and TD numbers. I’m going outside of the area and taking Madrid’s Michael Santi. He has rushed for 1,473 yards and 25 TDs. Santi has 122 receiving yards with two scores. He also is second in the entire state with 186 total points.
JJ: In NFL Fantasy Football, running backs are usually at a premium. Part of that is because there are a number of quality quarterbacks who can throw. If you want to talk prep football Fantasy Football (and who doesn’t, right?), it’s probably the opposite. With that in mind, I’ll go with Pella Christian QB David Kacmarynski. He has thrown 20 touchdown passes (to just three interceptions). Add seven rushing TDs in there, and that’s a lot of production.
JL: I toyed with taking the Xavier defense, which has allowed just 13 points in the past three weeks (and limited Independence to one first down). But I suppose the conventional thing to do is to find a prolific quarterback, running back or receiver who will rack up yards and score touchdowns. After strong consideration for Trent Johnson of Dike-New Hartford and Peter Kilburg of Bellevue, I settled on Clinton quarterback Johnny Sullivan (64 percent completion rate, 2,148 passing yards, 22 TDs, 5 INTs).