Prep Football

Iowa high school football district scenarios and playoff projections as Week 9 looms

The potential for chaos exists in 8-Player District 4

Solon's Jace Andregg (9) stiff-arms Washington's Brady Knutson (5) during their football game Oct. 4. Solon is 8-0 and o
Solon’s Jace Andregg (9) stiff-arms Washington’s Brady Knutson (5) during their football game Oct. 4. Solon is 8-0 and owns the No. 1 RPI in Class 3A. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

The final week of the Iowa high school football regular season has arrived. Week 9 is Friday, and late that night (or maybe early Saturday morning), the Iowa High School Athletic Association will release the postseason field. Brackets will be next, a few hours later.

This is Year 2 of the new playoffs system, determined by RPIs.

A reminder of two changes in the format since last year:

Only one team per district is an automatic qualifier. If a district contains a two-way tie, it’s simple — the head-to-head winner gets the bid. In the event of a three-way tie, assuming the three teams all split, the team with the best RPI is the qualifier.

 If teams are directly adjacent next to each other, and they played in the regular season, the winner of that game gets the higher spot. For instance, Ankeny Centennial currently is No. 3 in Class 4A RPI, and West Des Moines Dowling is No. 4. Dowling won their meeting, so the Maroons are bumped ahead of the Jaguars.

My final projected playoff pairings are far below. First, a look at area district races as Week 9 approaches:

Class 4A districts

District 3 — The district title — and the automatic berth — will be determined at the UNI-Dome, where Cedar Falls (8-0, 4-0) hosts Cedar Rapids Prairie (6-2, 4-0). The loser will earn an at-large berth. Dubuque Senior (5-3, 2-2) is assured a spot if it wins at Cedar Rapids Jefferson (3-5, 1-3).

District 4Linn-Mar (6-2, 4-0) is the champion, and it’s a pretty good bet that the Lions will be the only qualifier from this district. Davenport North (5-3, 2-2) has an outside chance if it wins at Muscatine (1-7, 0-4), but the Wildcats need several other dominoes to fall.

District 5Cedar Rapids Kennedy (7-1, 4-0) has wrapped up the title, and Bettendorf (6-2, 3-1) is an at-large qualifier assuming it beats Davenport Central (3-5, 2-2). Even with a loss, the Bulldogs have a better than break-even chance to qualify.


Class 3A districts

District 3 — The winner Friday at Independence between Decorah (4-4, 3-1) and Independence (8-0, 4-0) is the district champion. Even with a victory, Independence is not guaranteed a home date for the first round; the Mustangs’ opponents’ win-loss percentage is low. Decorah can’t qualify as an at-large team.

District 4 — Regardless of this week’s outcomes, Western Dubuque (8-0, 4-0) is the district champion, and Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-1, 3-1) will qualify as a wild card.

District 5 — North Scott (7-1, 4-0) has the inside track for the district title, but faces a final-week challenge against Davenport Assumption (5-3, 3-1), which probably needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs. Iowa City Liberty (6-2, 3-1) should advance, provided it defeats Clinton (0-8, 0-4).

District 6 — Solon (8-0, 4-0) is the champion. Washington (6-2, 3-1) hosts Mount Pleasant (6-2, 3-1). The winner is a likely at-large qualifier, and the loser probably will be on the outside looking in.

Class 2A districts

District 4 — Waukon (8-0, 4-0) has clinched the district championship. Waterloo Columbus (7-1, 3-1) has secured an at-large spot, regardless of outcome of its game at Monticello (6-2, 2-2). The Panthers can join the postseason party with a victory; a loss puts them on the bubble.

District 5 — Tipton (6-2, 4-0) hosts West Liberty (5-3, 3-1), with the victor claiming the district crown. Tipton might be able to afford a loss to earn an at-large bid, but West Liberty probably is in win-or-get-left-out mode.

District 6 — Williamsburg (5-3, 4-0) is the champion here, and most likely the only qualifier.

District 7 — Benton Community (7-1, 3-1), West Marshall (5-3, 3-1) and Nevada (6-2, 3-1) are favored to win and create a three-way deadlock. Currently, Benton has an RPI of 10, West Marshall 17 and Nevada 18, so the Bobcats would get the automatic bid in that scenario. If someone gets tripped, remember in the case of a two-way tie that Benton beat West Marshall, which beat Nevada, which beat Benton.


Class 1A districts

District 5 — When Sigourney-Keota (8-0, 4-0) hosts Mediapolis (7-1, 4-0) Friday, it’s more than a district-title showdown. It’s probably a de facto play-in game. Despite the glossy records, both the Cobras (RPI 14) and the Bulldogs (16) have extremely weak schedules. That, plus the fact that two 1A automatic qualifiers will come outside the top-16 pool, probably means this is a one-bid district.

District 6 — Dike-New Hartford (8-0, 4-0) hosts Iowa City Regina (7-1, 4-0), and the winner is the district champion. DNH is assured some sort of playoff berth, win or lose, and Regina probably is, too. If North Linn (6-2, 2-2) defeats South Hardin (5-3, 2-2) at Troy Mills, the Lynx have maybe a smidgen better than a 50/50 chance to get in as a wild card.

Class A districts

District 4 — Saint Ansgar (8-0, 5-0) has earned the district title, and South Winneshiek (6-2, 4-1) looks like a good bet to earn an at-large bid if it wins at Mason City Newman (2-6, 2-3). Everybody else is eliminated.

District 5 — MFL MarMac (8-0, 4-0) clinched the crown last week with a win over Edgewood-Colesburg (6-2, 3-1). Ed-Co currently has an RPI of 15, so the Vikings probably — but not definitely — will snag one of the last slots if they beat Clayton Ridge (0-8, 0-4) at home.

District 6 — Belle Plaine (6-2, 4-0) is the champion. BGM (7-1, 3-1) will be one of the top two at-large teams if it wins at Cardinal (4-4, 0-4). Even with a loss, the Bears should qualify.

District 7 — North Tama (8-0, 5-0) has earned the title of this rugged district. Grundy Center (7-1, 3-1) should be playoff-bound no matter what, but can simplify things with a win at Wapsie Valley (5-3, 3-2) which still harbors slim postseason hopes of its own.

8-Player districts

District 3 — Turkey Valley (8-0, 6-0) grabbed the title last week with a 72-62 conquest of Easton Valley (7-1, 5-1). The River Hawks probably have wrapped up an at-large bid, and can close the door on any doubt with a win at home over West Central (1-7, 1-5). Midland (6-2, 4-3) can make a solid push if it earns a home win over Lansing Kee (2-6, 2-4).

District 4 — You might need a map, a compass and a flow chart to figure this one out. This much is sure: HLV (6-2, 5-1) is the champion if it wins at home against Iowa Valley (5-3, 3-3). If the Tigers prevail, it creates a deadlock that includes HLV, plus the winner of Montezuma and New London (both 6-2, 4-2; they play at Montezuma) and probably Lone Tree (4-4, 4-2; home vs. English Valleys). If you’re thinking about tie-breakers, HLV defeated New London and Lone Tree, but lost to Montezuma. There is a slight possibility that this district could get four qualifiers.



Below are projected playoff pairings, compiled by using present RPIs, with Week 9 results projected by BC Moore. District champions are denoted with an asterisk.

Class 4A playoff projections

West Des Moines Valley Quadrant

#16 Sioux City East (6-3) at #1 West Des Moines Valley* (9-0)

#9 Ankeny (6-3) at #8 Southeast Polk (7-2)

Cedar Falls Quadrant

#15 Des Moines Roosevelt (6-3) at #2 Cedar Falls* (9-0)

#10 Bettendorf (7-2) at #7 Waukee* (6-3)

West Des Moines Dowling Quadrant

#14 Urbandale (6-3) at #3 West Des Moines Dowling* (8-1)

#11 Cedar Rapids Prairie (6-3) at #6 Linn-Mar* (7-2)

Ankeny Centennial Quadrant

#13 Fort Dodge (6-3) at #4 Ankeny Centennial* (8-1)

#12 Dubuque Senior (6-3) at #5 Cedar Rapids Kennedy* (8-1)


Class 3A playoff projections

Solon Quadrant

#15 Iowa City Liberty (7-2) at #1 Solon* (9-0)

#9 Independence* (9-0) at #8 Dallas Center-Grimes* (8-1)

Western Dubuque Quadrant

#14 Washington (7-2) at #2 Western Dubuque* (9-0)

#10 Cedar Rapids Xavier (8-1) at #7 North Scott* (8-1)

Lewis Central Quadrant

#16 Oskaloosa (6-3) at #3 Lewis Central* (8-1)

#11 Glenwood (7-2) at #6 Pella* (7-2)

Sergeant Bluff-Luton Quadrant

#13 Carlisle (7-2) at #4 Sergeant Bluff-Luton* (8-1)

#12 Harlan (7-2) at #5 Norwalk* (8-1)


Class 2A playoff projections

Waukon Quadrant

#14 Iowa Falls-Alden (6-3) at #1 Waukon* (9-0)

#10 Waterloo Columbus (8-1) at #7 Williamsburg* (6-3)

Algona Quadrant

#13 Monroe PCM (7-2) at #2 Algona* (9-0)

#9 Central Lyon/George-Little Rock* (5-4) at #8 Des Moines Christian* (8-1)

Clear Lake Quadrant

#16 Monticello (6-3) at #3 Clear Lake* (9-0)

#12 West Marshall (6-3) at #5 Tipton* (7-2)

OABCIG Quadrant

#15 Spirit Lake 6-3) at #4 Ida Grove OABCIG* (9-0)

#11 Greene County (8-1) at #6 Benton Community* (8-1)


Class 1A playoff projections

Van Meter Quadrant

#16 North Linn (7-2) at #1 Van Meter* (9-0)

#9 Pella Christian* (5-4) at #8 Osage* (5-4)

West Branch Quadrant

#15 Iowa City Regina (7-2) at #2 West Branch* (9-0)

#11 Panorama (8-1) at #7 Sigourney-Keota* (9-0)

West Sioux Quadrant

#13 Underwood (8-1) at #3 West Sioux* (8-1)

#10 West Lyon (8-1) at #6 Treynor* (9-0)

Dike-New Hartford Quadrant

#14 Mount Ayr (7-2) at #4 Dike-New Hartford* (9-0)

#12 Western Christian (8-1) at #5 South Central Calhoun* (9-0)


Class A playoff projections

West Hancock Quadrant

#16 Tri-Center (6-3) at #1 West Hancock* (9-0)

#9 IKM-Manning* (7-2) at #8 Hinton* (7-2)

North Tama Quadrant

#16 Edgewood-Colesburg (7-2) at #2 North Tama* (9-0)

#12 Grundy Center (8-1) at #6 Earlham* (8-1)

Saint Ansgar Quadrant

#13 Westwood (7-2) at #3 Saint Ansgar* (9-0)

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

MFL MarMac Quadrant

#15 South Winneshiek (7-2) at #4 MFL MarMac* (9-0)

#10 Central Decatur* (5-4) at #7 Belle Plaine* (7-2)


8-Player playoff projections

Audubon Quadrant

#14 East Mills (6-2) at #1 Audubon* (9-1)

#9 Coon Rapids-Bayard (8-1) at #8 HLV* (6-3)

Turkey Valley Quadrant

#16 New London (7-2) at #2 Turkey Valley* (9-0)

#10 Easton Valley (8-1) at #7 Gladbrook-Reinbeck* (7-2)

Don Bosco Quadrant

#15 Midland (7-2) at #2 Don Bosco* (9-0)

#11 Anita CAM (7-2) at #6 Lamoni* (8-1)

Remsen St. Mary’s Quadrant

#13 Northwood-Kensett (7-2) at #4 Remsen St. Mary’s* (9-0)

#12 Harris-Lake Park (8-1) at #5 Fremont-Mills* (6-1)

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