Prep Football

Iowa high school football: Checking the district races, and projecting the playoffs

It's Week 9, and the postseason field will be revealed early Saturday

Benton Community's Matthew Davis (22) is brought down by West Marshall's Peyton Pope (5) during the second quarter of their football game at Van Horne on Friday. Both teams are projected to make the Class 2A playoffs as at-large qualifiers, and both are automatic qualifiers if they both win Friday. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Benton Community's Matthew Davis (22) is brought down by West Marshall's Peyton Pope (5) during the second quarter of their football game at Van Horne on Friday. Both teams are projected to make the Class 2A playoffs as at-large qualifiers, and both are automatic qualifiers if they both win Friday. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The final night of the Iowa high-school football regular season is fast approaching, and so is the first playoff reveal in the new era of postseason qualification.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association plans to release a list of qualifiers — 16 in each class — by midnight Friday, a couple hours after the games have concluded. Brackets will be next, a few hours later.

Here is a look at the area district races as the regular season reaches its climax:

Class 4A

District 3 — The champion will be determined at John Wall Field, where Cedar Falls (8-0, 4-0) and Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-1, 4-0) collide. Both teams are a lock to qualify, win or lose.

 

 

District 4 — Iowa City West (7-1, 4-0) is the champion. Pleasant Valley (4-4, 3-1) can lock up an at-large berth with a win over Linn-Mar. Davenport North (5-3, 2-2) has a decent chance to sneak in if it defeats Muscatine.

District 5 — Bettendorf (7-1, 4-0) is the champion if it beats Davenport Central (4-4, 3-1). With an RPI of 14, Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5-3, 3-1) almost definitely locks down a berth if it wins at Burlington. A Kennedy win and a Central upset means all three qualify automatically.

Class 3A

District 3 — Decorah (6-2, 4-0) is in the driver’s seat, and takes the title if it wins at home against Independence (6-2, 3-1). An Indee win and a victory by Waverly-Shell Rock (7-1, 3-0) — against Charles City — creates a three-way tie. The Go-Hawks are in pretty safe territory for an at-large berth, win or lose. Independence is not.

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District 4 — Cedar Rapids Xavier (8-0, 4-0) has been dominant all year, and the Saints can capture the district title with a win at Marion (4-4, 3-1). The Indians need an upset to qualify for the playoffs. Western Dubuque (6-2, 3-1) is at Maquoketa, and a victory is necessary for the Bobcats to have a chance to advance.

 

 

District 5 — North Scott (7-1, 4-0) gained control of this race with a win last week at Clear Creek Amana (7-1, 3-1), and the Lancers are undisputed champions if they beat Davenport Assumption (4-4, 3-1). CCA is sitting good for an at-large berth if it wins at DeWitt Central, and might qualify even with a loss.

District 6 — Solon (8-0, 4-0) is the champion. Washington (5-3, 3-1) has a chance to qualify if it wins at Mount Pleasant (5-3, 3-1).

Class 2A

District 4 — The defending state champion, Waukon (7-1, 4-0) has won seven straight games and owns the district title. Waterloo Columbus (6-2, 3-1) hosts Monticello (5-3, 3-1), with the winner holding a slim chance to making it to the postseason as an at-large qualifier.

District 5 — There probably won’t be a wild-card qualifier here. The question is whether there will be one champion or three. West Liberty (5-3, 3-0) wins it outright if it defeats Tipton (6-2, 3-1). A win by the Tigers, and a victory by Mount Vernon (4-4, 3-1) — the Mustangs host Louisa-Muscatine — creates tri-champions.

District 6 — Once 0-3, Williamsburg (5-3, 4-0) can put the finishing touches on its resurgence if it wins at Eddyville EBF (5-3, 3-1). If not, this could be another three-way title share, with Albia (4-4, 3-1) also in the mix.

District 7 — There’s a pretty good possibility that three teams from this district will qualify, regardless of what happens Friday. Union Community (6-2, 4-0) holds the key to an automatic berth if it beats West Marshall (6-2, 3-1). Benton Community (7-1, 3-1) will be an at-large qualifier at worst. West Marshall is co-champion with a win, an at-large hopeful otherwise.

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Class 1A

District 4 — With a win over Cascade, Bellevue (8-0, 4-0) wins the district and probably enters the postseason with the No. 1 RPI in 1A. But it won’t be easy; Cascade (6-2, 3-1) is playing for a postseason spot of its own. West Branch (7-1, 3-1) has virtually clinched an at-large slot.

District 5 — Wilton (7-1, 4-0) is the champion. Mediapolis (7-1, 3-1) can join the party as a wild card with a victory over Sigourney-Keota (5-3, 2-2), which would be an at-large long shot with a win of its own.

District 6 — The district title is on the line when Dike-New Hartford (8-0, 4-0) visits Iowa City Regina (5-3, 4-0). DNH is a playoff qualifier regardless of outcome. But for the Regals, it’s all or nothing.

 

 

Class A

District 4 — Mason City Newman (6-2, 5-0) is the champion. No area teams are in playoff contention.

District 5 — Edgewood-Colesburg (7-1, 4-0) and Clayton Ridge (3-5, 3-1) play for the district championship at Guttenberg. A loss would move Ed-Co to the playoff bubble. Clayton Ridge is eliminated with a loss.

District 6 — Durant (6-2, 4-0) has wrapped up the crown. BGM (7-1, 3-1) is assured a wild card with a win at home against Cardinal. Victories would move Highland (6-2, 2-2) and/or Pekin (5-3, 2-2) into at-large contention.

District 7 — Hudson (8-0, 5-0) is the champion, and will be the likely No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs if it concludes a perfect regular season at East Buchanan. North Tama (7-1, 4-1) is sitting pretty for an at-large berth. Wapsie Valley (6-2, 3-2) is at Grundy Center (5-3, 3-2). The winner has a good shot at the postseason; the loser probably will be one of the first teams on the wrong side of the fence.

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8-Player

District 3 — Midland (8-1, 5-1), Central City (7-1, 5-1) and Turkey Valley (7-1, 5-1) appear destined to finish in a three-way deadlock, and if that’s the case, all are automatic qualifiers. All are heavily favored to win Friday. Turkey Valley appears set to qualify, win or lose; Midland and Central City don’t have that luxury.

District 4 — Iowa Valley (8-0, 7-0) is ranked No. 2 in 8-Player RPI, and clinches the district title if it beats HLV (7-1, 6-1) at home. An HLV win could likely create a three-way tie along with New London (7-1, 6-1). HLV probably won’t make the playoffs without a win Friday.

 

* * * * *

With that, some reminders in trying to assemble brackets:

— District champions get first priority in seeding and hosting in the first round. In the quarterfinals, that is thrown out the window, and higher RPI get home-field advantage regardless of district finish.

— In the case of a three-way tie for a district title (and if all three teams go 1-1 in a round robin amongst each other), all are designated as district champions, provided the number of district champions doesn’t surpass 16.

— In the event of a two-way tie, on the other hand, the winner of head-to-head is the district champion, the loser is simply an at-large candidate.

— The IHSAA will make all efforts, whenever reasonable, to avoid first-round matchups between teams from the same district. It will also try to come fairly close to true seeding (1-vs.-16, 2-vs.-15, etc.), with common sense used for geography.

— Brackets will be reseeded for the semifinals in the UNI-Dome. So don’t think of a class as a 16-team bracket. Think of it as four brackets with four teams each. As a result, the East-vs.-West championship games are gone; it’s completely possible to see, for example, a Valley-Centennial championship in 4A.

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With those guidelines in place, here’s a final attempt at projecting the playoff brackets. All outcomes for Week 9 are merely predictions from the BC Moore computer.

Class 4A

(*district champion)

Ankeny Centennial Quadrant

#9 Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-2) at #8 Johnston (7-2)

#15 Ankeny (5-4) at #1 *Ankeny Centennial (9-0)

West Des Moines Valley Quadrant

#10 Fort Dodge (7-2) at #7 *Waukee (7-2)

#16 Southeast Polk (4-5) at #2 *West Des Moines Valley (9-0)

Cedar Falls Quadrant

#11 Indianola (7-2) at #6 *West Des Moines Dowling (7-2)

#14 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-3) at #3 *Cedar Falls (9-0)

Iowa City West Quadrant

#12 Pleasant Valley (5-4) at #5 *Bettendorf (8-1)

#13 Urbandale (6-3) at #4 *Iowa City West (8-1)

 

Class 3A

(*district champion)

Sergeant Bluff-Luton Quadrant

#9 *Carroll (6-3) at #8 *Norwalk (6-3)

#15 Spencer (7-2) at #1 *Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-1)

Lewis Central Quadrant

#12 Harlan (7-2) at #6 *Oskaloosa (8-1)

#14 Sioux City Heelan (7-2) at #2 *Lewis Central (9-0)

Cedar Rapids Xavier Quadrant

#11 Clear Creek Amana (8-1) at #7 *Decorah (7-2)

#13 Pella (8-1) at #3 *Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0)

Solon Quadrant

#10 Waverly-Shell Rock (8-1) at #5 *North Scott (8-1)

#16 Western Dubuque (7-2) at #4 *Solon (9-0)

 

Class 2A

(*district champion)

PCM Quadrant

#8 *Williamsburg (6-3) at #7 *West Liberty (6-3)

#16 West Marshall (6-3) at #1 *Monroe PCM (9-0)

Algona Quadrant

#10 Benton Community (8-1) at #6 *Crestwood (6-3)

#15 Ida Grove OA-BCIG (6-3) at #2 *Algona (9-0)

BHRV Quadrant

#11 Chariton (8-1) at #9 *Carroll Kuemper (5-4)

#12 Spirit Lake (7-2) at #3 *Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (8-1)

Waukon Quadrant

#13 Greene County (8-1) at #5 *Union Community (7-2)

#14 Southeast Valley (6-3) at #4 *Waukon (8-1)

 

Class 1A

(*district champion)

Bellevue Quadrant

#10 West Branch (8-1) at #7 *Wilton (8-1)

#16 South Hamilton (7-2) at #1 *Bellevue (9-0)

South Central Calhoun Quadrant

#11 Interstate 35 (8-1) at #8 *Treynor (8-1)

#13 West Lyon (7-2) at #2 *South Central Calhoun (9-0)

Van Meter Quadrant

#9 Osage (7-2) at #6 *West Sioux (8-1)

#15 Underwood (6-3) at #3 *Van Meter (9-0)

Pella Christian Quadrant

#12 Mediapolis (8-1) at #5 *Dike-New Hartford (9-0)

#14 Mount Ayr (7-2) at #4 *Pella Christian (7-2)

 

Class A

(*district champion)

Hudson Quadrant

#10 *Lynnville-Sully (8-1) at #8 *Durant (7-2)

#16 Highland (7-2) at #1 *Hudson (9-0)

Garrigan Quadrant

#12 North Tama (8-1) at #7 *Edgewood-Colesburg (8-1)

#14 Wapsie Valley (7-2) at #2 *Algona Garrigan (9-0)

Westwood Quadrant

#9 *Mason City Newman (7-2) at #6 *Hinton (8-1)

#15 West Hancock (7-2) at #3 *Westwood (8-1)

AHSTW Quadrant

#11 BGM (8-1) at #5 *Sioux Central (8-1)

#13 Akron-Westfield (7-2) at #4 *Avoca AHSTW (9-0)

 

8-Player

(*district champion)

Ar-We-Va Quadrant

#13 Audubon (7-2) at #7 *Fremont-Mills (8-1)

#16 Rockford (7-2) at #1 *Ar-We-Va (9-0)

Northwood-Kensett Quadrant

#14 Lenox (7-2) at #5 *Exira-EHK (8-1)

#15 Newell-Fonda (7-2) at #2 *Northwood-Kensett (9-0)

Iowa Valley Quadrant

#10 *Midland (9-1) at #6 *Turkey Valley (8-1)

#11 Don Bosco (8-1) at #3 *Iowa Valley (9-0)

Southeast Warren Quadrant

#9 *Central City (8-1) at #8 *Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-2)

#12 New London (8-1) at #4 *Southeast Warren (10-0)

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

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