Eastern Iowa high school football playoff scenarios: Marion faces do-or-die trip in Week 9

A glance at all the area district races

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More than likely, it’s all or nothing for the Marion Indians.

Go to Brady Street Stadium and knock off Davenport Assumption, and Marion earns the Class 3A District 4 championship, and the first-round playoff home-field advantage that goes with it.

Lose, and the season’s probably over.

The high-school football regular season comes to a conclusion Friday. Some teams have played their way into the playoffs. Some have been eliminated for weeks. Some have their postseason fate in their own hands. Some need some help.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association will release the 16-team playoff field sometime around 2 a.m. Saturday. Here’s a look at the area races as Week 9 approaches:

Class 4A

District 5 — Cedar Falls (7-1, 4-0) is the champion, and Cedar Rapids Washington (5-3, 3-1) has wrapped up the second playoff spot.

District 6 — North Scott (7-1, 4-0) has clinched the title. The second berth will be determined at Dubuque, where Pleasant Valley (6-2, 3-1) meets Dubuque Senior (6-2, 3-1).

District 7 — Bettendorf (7-1, 4-0) plays at Davenport Central (6-2, 4-0) this week. The winner is the champion; the loser grabs the second playoff spot.

District 8 — The state’s lone 4A unbeaten, Iowa City West (8-0, 4-0) is the district champion. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-2, 3-1) meets Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-1, 3-1) at John Wall Field, with the runner-up bid on the line.

Class 3A

District 3 — Regardless of outcomes, Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-0, 6-0) and Waverly-Shell Rock (7-1, 5-1) are locked in as the top two teams, in that order. Decorah (6-2, 4-2) is sitting good as a wild card if it can record a significant victory at Independence.

District 4 — Marion’s win last week against West Delaware muddied the picture, and the Indians (6-2, 5-1) are district champions if they can win Thursday at Davenport Assumption (6-2, 5-1). West Delaware (6-2, 5-1) is in good shape for an automatic berth provided it beats Maquoketa at home, and the Hawks win the title with a victory and an Assumption win. That scenario would make the Knights the second automatic qualifier and likely would kick Marion out of the postseason altogether. Dubuque Wahlert (4-4, 4-2) would harbor slim hopes of an at-large bid if it wins big against Center Point-Urbana.

District 5 — Solon (8-0, 6-0) is the champion and Washington (7-1, 5-1) is the runner-up. Oskaloosa (5-3, 4-2) is toward the front of the line of the at-large hopefuls, but the Indians need a big win at West Burlington-Notre Dame to solidify their hopes.

More: Prep football playoff projections, with one week to go

Class 2A

District 4 — Pretty good chance this district will harbor three qualifiers. The lone 2A unbeaten, Cascade (8-0, 6-0) can simplify things if it wins at home against Union Community (6-2, 5-1), which won’t be an easy task. That would make the Cougars the champions, Waukon (7-1, 5-1) the runner-up and Union a wild-card hopeful. If Union wins and Waukon beats North Fayette Valley, it’s a three-way tie and the race will come down to points. Currently, it’s Cascade at plus-80, Waukon at plus-78 and Union at plus-63, so Waukon would be in the driver’s seat in that scenario. Should Union win and North Fayette Valley pull the upset, the Knights are the champions.

District 5 — Another race with multiple scenarios. Mount Vernon (7-1, 6-0) has locked up a playoff berth and wins the title if it beats Williamsburg (7-1, 5-1) at home. If that happens, West Liberty (5-3, 4-2) will jump past Williamsburg into the second spot if it wins at Camanche. A win by Williamsburg would make the Raiders the district champions, would drop Mount Vernon to second and probably would eliminate West Liberty from the playoffs. Williamsburg is in excellent shape for an at-large bid, even with a loss.

Class 1A

District 2 — Denver (7-1, 6-0) is the champion. The other automatic bid belongs to South Winneshiek (5-3, 5-1) or Belmond-Klemme (7-1, 5-1), who tangle Friday at Belmond. The loser of that game joins the wild-card fray, and both (especially South Winn) would have a strong chance to qualify.

District 3 — West Branch (8-0, 6-0) has clinched the title, and Bellevue (7-1, 5-1) hosts Maquoketa Valley (7-1, 5-1) with the second-place berth on the line. Bellevue is virtually assured an at-large berth if it loses; Maquoketa Valley would be in sweat-it-out mode.

District 4 — Iowa City Regina (6-2, 6-0) is a district champion (again), while Wilton (7-1, 5-1) hosts Sigourney-Keota (5-3, 5-1) in a game that will determine the second qualifier. Wilton might be able to afford a loss and still make it as a wild card; the Cobras have no such luxury.

Class A

District 4 — The top two here are sealed. Wapsie Valley (8-0, 6-0) is the champion; East Buchanan (7-1, 5-1) is the runner-up. Alburnett (6-2, 4-2) is projected for a maximum 17-point win against Postville, and probably needs every last one of those points to have a chance to squeeze in as at-large team. Currently at plus-34, the Pirates very well could tie for the last spot with Earlham (Alburnett owns the tie-break by alphabet) and Belle Plaine (Alburnett won head-to-head in non-district play), but only if they win by 17-plus and Belle Plaine loses by the maximum against Hudson.

District 5 — Hudson (8-0, 6-0) holds the upper hand on Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-1, 5-1) and Belle Plaine (6-2, 5-1), and travels to Belle Plaine in the Friday finale. If Hudson wins, the Pirates are the champions, Gladbrook-Reinbeck is the runner-up and Belle Plaine slides into the pool of wild-card hopefuls. The Plainsmen probably would be in good shape for a berth as long as it’s a narrow loss. If Belle Plaine wins, all three will qualify with the order based on points (currently plus-80 for Hudson and G-R, plus-68 for Belle Plaine).

District 6 — Lynnville-Sully (7-0, 5-0) is the champion, idle Pekin (8-1, 5-1) is locked in as the runner-up and New London (5-2, 3-2) has an inside track for an at-large berth; the Tigers are heavy favorites for a big win against Winfield-Mount Union.

8-Player

District 3 — Tripoli (8-0, 5-0) and Don Bosco (8-0, 5-0) are playoff qualifiers and will haggle over the championship Friday at Gilbertville.

District 4 — The district title is on the line at Wyoming, where Midland (6-2, 5-0) hosts Lone Tree (8-1, 5-0). Both teams are assured playoff berths.

District 5 — HLV (7-2, 6-0) is the champion. Moravia (8-1, 5-1) wraps up the other slot if it defeats Melcher-Dallas (6-2, 4-2) at home. If not, it likely will create a three-way tie for second between those two teams and Colo-Nesco (5-3, 4-2), which would be determined by points — currently plus-59 for Moravia, plus-43 for Colo-Nesco, plus-24 for Melcher-Dallas.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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