Teams fight for playoff positions in Week 8
If next week and the regular season football finale is the main course, tonight could be called the appetizer.
Teams continue to jockey for playoff spots with time dwindling quickly down.
For the most part, each district champion and runner-up will advance to the postseason, while there are special “wild-card” openings available.
While each week has been extra important due to the cut in playoff qualifiers, the final two games have taken on added importance for the likes of Webster City, Newell-Fonda, West Bend-Mallard, South Central Calhoun, Southeast Valley and East Sac County.
Here’s a look at games involving those teams, along with the entire slate of action around the area tonight:
No. 8 (Class 3A) Webster City (6-1, 4-1) at Iowa Falls-Alden (3-4, 1-4)
To keep the stakes as high as possible for next week, the Lynx must take care of North Central Conference rival Iowa Falls-Alden first.
Webster City will host Boone, the lone unbeaten district team left in 3A, District 2, in the season finale. They already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with fellow league one-loss Gilbert.
As has been the case since Bob Howard took over on the sidelines, the ground game is strong for WCHS. Senior Robert Frederiksen has 1,156 yards despite missing the season opener, while Payton Kannuan has another 644. Factor in Drew Fielder’s 405 and the Lynx are second in the state in rushing yardage.
The Cadets feature Logan Ward, who has 701 yards on the ground, and quarterback Ben Scadden, who has 469 through the air. They have dropped each of their last two and four of five since starting the year 2-0 with wins over Hampton-Dumont and Aplington-Parkersburg.
West Bend-Mallard (5-2, 3-2) at No. 10 (8-man) Newell-Fonda (5-2, 4-1)
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Mustangs last Friday night, as their five-game win streak came to an end at the hands of No. 3 Harris-Lake Park, 33-27. Now, N-F and head coach Brian Wilken must regroup in hopes of claiming a runner-up finish and playoff berth.
Reed Kruse anchors the Newell-Fonda offense, as the senior has rushed for 893 yards and thrown for another 613. He has 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions on 58 attempts.
Nate Pedersen, a junior, and R.J. Rojas, a sophomore, are his top targets with 16 and six receptions. Pedersen has 324 yards and seven scores.
The Wolverines, who have lost two H-LP and Remsen St. Mary’s this year, are actually in control of their own playoff destiny. A win over Newell-Fonda gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker, while they can earn the same next week when they host Graettinger-Terril/R-A.
Dexter Knobloch has 656 yards rushing, while Thad Fogarty has 449. Mike Fehr has thrown for 405 yards and ran for another 295 on the year.
No. 5 (1A) Madrid (7-0, 5-0) at Manson Northwest Webster (3-4, 2-3)
The state’s leading rushing team and and one of the top individual rushers visit Manson tonight.
Over the past few years, Madrid and the Cougars have been district rivals, so the sight of Michael Santi will be nothing new to Jeff Anliker and his team.
But what the senior has done this year is incredible. Through seven games, Santi has 1,473 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns. His rushing total ranks third in the state, helping Madrid to the top spot overall. More impressive, Santi has racked up that total on just 73 carries – giving him a 20.2-yard-per-carry average.
He also has another 122 yards receiving, pushing his total to just under 1,600 for the year.
Manson NW will need to play ball control behind sophomore quarterback Derek Girard and junior running backs Reid Steinberg and Mark Condon if they hope to pull the upset.
East Sac County (3-4, 3-2) at No. 4 (2A) Carroll Kuemper (6-1, 5-0); Red Oak (1-6, 0-5) at South Central Calhoun (5-2, 4-1); Southeast Valley (5-2, 4-1) at Clarinda (1-6, 1-4)
As it stands, the Top-4 teams in 2A, District 7 will square off in key matchups over the final two weeks of the season.
The Raiders get their crack at Carroll Kuemper tonight before hosting South Central Calhoun next week. The Titans, meanwhile, face Red Oak at home, while Southeast Valley travels to Clarinda.
For SCC and SEV, both of these are must-win if they want to compete in the postseason. Take care of business, and the Titans are the likely district runner-up, while the Jaguars are expected to earn a wild card berth.
However, East Sac County can throw a wrench into all of that. The Raiders would need to win-out to make something happen. Kuemper pays a visit to Gowrie next Friday night.
Other area games: LeMars (4-3, 2-3) at Algona (0-7, 0-5); Humboldt (2-5, 1-4) at Sioux City Heelan (4-3, 3-2); Perry (2-5, 0-5) at Greene County (0-7, 0-5); Pocahontas Area (0-7, 0-5) at Sheldon (3-4, 1-4); Clarion-Goldfield/Dows/CAL (4-3, 2-3) at Forest City (4-3, 3-2); Hinton (6-1, 4-1) at Emmetsburg (2-5, 2-3); Ogden (1-6, 0-5) at Eagle Grove (1-6, 1-4); Hartley-HMS (3-4, 3-2) at No. 4 (A) Bishop Garrigan (7-0, 5-0); North Union (3-4, 2-3) at South O’Brien (4-3, 4-1);