Archive for October, 2008

Opening-round observations

October 30, 2008

Here’s what we know after the opening round of the playoffs, commonly known as substates:

The Mississippi Valley Conference is far superior to the Mississippi Athletic Conference, and the gap is much larger than previously figured. MVC also-rans Dubuque Wahlert and Dubuque Hempstead knocked off MAC contenders North Scott and Burlington. The final tally from Wednesday’s head-to-head games: MVC 5, MAC 0. The eight remaining 4A east-siders consist of seven MVC schools and Bettendorf.

The 4A west side consists of the CIML and nothing else. The Sioux City and Council Bluffs schools are done.

They can play football in the northeast corner of the state, specifically 3A football. West Delaware put the hammer to Marion, 35-2. New Hampton knocked off highly-ranked DeWitt Central. That district won all four of its substate games. Marion once again reached the postseason dance, but forgot to show up.

Solon is two, maybe three, touchdowns better than anybody else in Class 2A.

Mid-Prairie is better than anybody thinks.

Belle Plaine is extremely physical. Shane Rieck missed the first five games of the season to academic ineligibility, but was a terror to North Linn’s attack. The middle linebacker collected four sacks and 18 total tackles.

Eight-man defenses gain on eight-man offenses later in the season. Central City beat Northeast Hamilton, 70-55, in Week Zero, then edged the Trojans, 13-12, in Week 10. Now, that’s football.

Long miles don’t necessarily translate into automatic defeat. Ventura travelled 225 miles, knocked off Preston, 15-8, then journey home. The trip home probably seemed a lot shorter than the trip out.

The meeting between Aplington-Parkersburg and Emmetsburg will occur far too early than it should. If #2 E’burg and #1 A-P take care of business Monday, they’ll meet a week from Friday. In the 1A quarterfinals.

Same goes for Sioux City Heelan and Harlan in 3A.

Best game Monday: Iowa City Regina at Mid-Prairie, Class 2A. I’m there.

Don’t trust my predictions. I was 32-16 in the first round. Lousy.


Substate football picks

October 29, 2008

Here are tonight’s picks for “the right side” of the bracket, for each class:


Iowa City High 35, Davenport Assumption 13

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 17, Cedar Rapids Xavier 14

Cedar Falls 33, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 14

North Scott 20, Dubuque Wahlert 10

Cedar Rapids Washington 44, Muscatine 21

Burlington 27, Dubuque Hempstead 14

Pleasant Valley 22, Cedar Rapids Prairie 21

Bettendorf 41, Clinton 14


Decorah 28, Benton Community 14

Marion 36, West Delaware 33

DeWitt Central 40, New Hampton 20

Union 21, Crestwood 14

Mount Pleasant 37, Norwalk 14

Centerville 20, Clear Creek-Amana 14

Pella 42, Oskaloosa 21

Williamsburg 34, Grinnell 20


Roland-Story 28, Dyersville Beckman 18

Cascade 20, Gilbert 7

North Fayette 41, Osage 20

Dike-New Hartford 16, Sumner-Fredericksburg 14

Solon 34, Sigourney-Keota 6

Wilton 14, West Burlington-Notre Dame 12

Mid-Prairie 30, Tipton 14

Iowa City Regina 24, Davis County 7


Emmetsburg 42, South Winneshiek 18

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 20, Garner-Hayfield 14

Aplington-Parkersburg 52, Saint Ansgar 20

Fort Dodge St. Edmond 26, Nashua-Plainfield 12

Maquoketa Valley 21, Pekin 16

Belle Plaine 14, North Linn 13

West Branch 39, Alburnett 14

Northeast 13, Iowa Valley 12


Northwood-Kensett 36, Lisbon 16

Rockford 26, Elkader Central 14

East Buchanan 28, Riceville 6

Mason City Newman 20, Wapsie Valley 14

New London 28, BGM 14

HLV 32, Lone Tree 20

North Tama 42, Highland 6

WACO 28, North Mahaska 20


West Central 44, CWL 42

Preston 36, Ventura 22

Central City 52, Northeast Hamilton 40

Janesville 44, Dunkerton 18

Tri-County 46, Ankeny Christian Academy 20

Lenox 48, Harmony 16

Lamoni 42, Twin Cedars 38

East Union 30, Melcher-Dallas 18

State XC: How they’ll finish …

October 28, 2008

The district/regional meets are behind. Now it’s four more days until the state cross country meet at Fort Dodge. I keep telling myself to buy a pedometer (I run from spot to spot to spot, eight times). But I never do. All that I know is I’ll be sweaty and sore on the way home.

The weather is supposed to be acceptable.

Here’s a projected top 10 in each class:

4A GIRLS: 1. West Des Moines Dowling, 2. Iowa City High, 3. Iowa City West, 4. Johnston, 5. Ames, 6. Urbandale, 7. Waukee, 8. Ankeny, 9. Cedar Rapids Washington, 10. Pleasant Valley.

4A BOYS: 1. Pleasant Valley, 2. West Des Moines Valley, 3. Burlington, 4. Indianola, 5. Iowa City High, 6. Ankeny, 7. Urbandale, 8. Cedar Rapids Washington, 9. Marshalltown, 10. Waukee.

3A GIRLS: 1. Decorah, 2. Williamsburg, 3. Mount Vernon-Lisbon, 4. Harlan, 5. Ballard, 6. Pella, 7. Denver-Tripoli, 8. Marion, 9. Atlantic, 10. Benton Community.

3A BOYS: 1. Decorah, 2. Grinnell, 3. Pella, 4. Mount Vernon-Lisbon, 5. Waukon, 6. Algona, 7. Winterset, 8. Dubuque Wahlert, 9. DeWitt Central, 10. Boone.

2A GIRLS: 1. Union, 2. Hudson, 3. Spirit Lake, 4. Solon, 5. Iowa City Regina, 6. Unity Christian, 7. North Polk, 8. Humboldt, 9. Wilton, 10. Dike-New Hartford.

2A BOYS: 1. Monroe PCM, 2. Spirit Lake, 3. Osage, 4. Western Christian, 5. Iowa City Regina, 6. East Marshall, 7. Monticello, 8. Tipton, 9. North Polk, 10. Solon.

1A GIRLS: 1. Valley Community, 2. Nodaway Valley, 3. Pekin, 4. Fort Dodge St. Edmond, 5. Council Bluffs St. Albert, 6. Mason City Newman, 7. Earlham, 8. Durant, 9. Elkader Central, 10. West Sioux.

1A BOYS: 1. South Winneshiek, 2. Council Bluffs St. Albert, 3. Woodbine, 4. Belle Plaine, 5. Conrad BCLUW, 6. Battle Creek-Ida Grove, 7. Iowa Mennonite, 8. Logan-Magnolia, 9. Griswold, 10. Durant.

My brackets are filled out

October 27, 2008

Had a few spare moments over some beef-and-noodle soup and Baked Lays.

I’m not going to divulge everything, but here are the highlights:


The final four: West Des Moines Valley, Southeast Polk, Iowa City High, Cedar Rapids Washington.

The final: Washington over Valley.


The final four: Sioux City Heelan, Carroll, Decorah, Williamsburg.

The final: Heelan over Decorah.


The final four: Central Lyon-GLR, IKM-Manning, North Fayette, Solon.

The final: Solon over IKM-Manning.


The final four: Council Bluffs St. Albert, Prairie Valley, Aplington-Parkersburg, West Branch.

The final: Aplington-Parkersburg over St. Albert.


The final four: Southern Cal, Madrid, East Buchanan, North Tama.

The final: North Tama over Southern Cal.


The final four: North Sentral Kossuth, Stanton, Janesville, Lenox.

The final: Stanton over Lenox.

End-of-regular-season volleyball rankings

October 27, 2008

We’ve made room for a small school (Starmont) in our end-of-the-regular-season top 10.

At least one of them (Benton Community or Vinton-Shellsburg) will be finished after tonight. They play in a 3A regional quarterfinal.

Here we go:

1. MOUNT VERNON (34-1) – Mustangs have re-entered the national top-50 (they’re at No. 48) by They’ve shown a few signs of tightness in recent weeks, but were at their best in a blitzing of Waterloo Columbus in the Wamac Conference finals.

2. IOWA CITY WEST (35-3) – Were closing in on Mount Vernon before an unexpected loss against Dubuque Hempstead. Easily won the MVC tournament championship. Ranked 67th nationally by

3. CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY (31-7) – When they’re on, they’re brilliant. When they’re lethargic, they’re average. Lately, the Cougars have been on more often than not. Kennedy is the only team this season to solve Mount Vernon.

4. MARION (40-6) – That’s a lot of matches. Indians are ranked second in Class 3A, but face a regional that becomes quite difficult in the second round. If they get through it, though, they don’t have to face either Mount Vernon or Sioux City Heelan until the state final.

5. WEST DELAWARE (32-8) – This isn’t a team you want to be playing right now. The Hawks will ball-control with the best of them (how’s that for volleyball jargon?). They’ve given Mount Vernon fits twice now in tournament play.

6. CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE (28-6) – Hawks were outstanding early in the season and earned a title share in the MVC Valley Division. Prairie got an extremely friendly postseason draw.

7. CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON (24-10) – Worst to first. That’s what the Warriors have accomplished in Kari Lombardi’s first season, sharing the MVC Valley Division title with Washington and Waterloo East — and beating both.

8. STARMONT (27-3) – The area’s only ranked team in either 1A or 2A. The Stars were regular-season champions of the Tri-Rivers Conference.

9. BENTON COMMUNITY (25-11) – Other than Washington, nobody in the area has been a more pleasant surprise than the Bobcats. Tonight’s Benton County matchup should be a dandy.

10. VINTON-SHELLSBURG (21-10) – Vikettes have a loyal, vocal following. And a very nice squad in Stephanie Francois’ first season as coach.


Hey! We’ve reached quintuple figures

October 27, 2008

Sometime in the night, this blog reached a milestone — 10,000 hits.

If I knew who it was, I’d send a prize to the lucky winner. But I don’t, so I won’t.

End-of-regular-season area football rankings

October 26, 2008

I did this at midseason, so it would be silly not to do it again, right?

1. IOWA CITY HIGH (9-0) – Faces Davenport Assumption in one of five MVC-MAC intersectional matchups. Chalk this one up in the win column for the MVC. Handily.

2. CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON (8-1) – This one too. Warriors survived nicely without Keenan Davis. Now he’s back. Don’t discount Washington from the 4A title picture.

3. SOLON (9-0) – Win streak is 22 games. Spartans should win Class 2A state title. I think they’d win 3A and would compete well in 4A.

4. CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE (6-3) – Hawks get the nod in the 4-through-6 race based on head-to-head. Now, can Coach Jelinek win a postseason game?

5. CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (6-3) – Saints were ugly in their opener and ugly in their finale. In between, they were very good.

6. CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY (6-3) – They won two. They lost three. They won four. They still haven’t beaten a quality opponent. A victory Wednesday at Xavier would suffice.

7. DECORAH (9-0) – If I’m putting together a 3A bracket for an office pool (not endorsing gambling, of course), I’m creating a Decorah-Sioux City Heelan final.

8. MARION (8-1) – Tony Perkins is a tad snakebitten in the postseason. West Delaware won’t be an easy substate matchup.

9. WILLIAMSBURG (8-1) – Raiders are my dark horse to reach the 3A semifinals behind the legs of Ross Doehrmann.

10. MID-PRAIRIE (8-1) – Golden Hawks dropped a two-pointer to Williamsburg in their opener, then plowed the competition in their district. Potential second-rounder with Iowa City Regina could be a dandy.

Curfews will be broken Thursday morning

October 25, 2008

A lot of kids are going to miss class Thursday.

The IHSAA has released the first-round — uh, substate — pairings. These are some of the matchups and distances, courtesy of

8-Man: Ventura at Preston, 225 miles (one way)

A: Lisbon at Northwood-Kensett, 190 miles

8-Man: Harmony at Lenox, 183 miles

2A: Gilbert at Cascade, 171 miles

1A: South Winneshiek at Emmetsburg, 155 miles

3A: New Hampton at DeWitt Central, 154 miles

2A: Beckman at Roland-Story, 149 miles

1A: Pekin at Maquoketa Valley, 140 miles

8-Man: Northeast Hamilton at Central City, 124 miles (a rematch of a Week Zero game, won by Central City, 70-55)

A: BGM at New London, 106 miles.

Certainly, there’s got to be a better answer. Here’s one: Take a chapter from the Illinois athletic association. Play five straight weekends, concluding with the finals the weekend after Thanksgiving. If the weather is decent, there is nothing better than outdoor playoff football on a Saturday afternoon.

It beats getting home at 2:30 on a school night.

Week 9: I’m full, I’m dry and I’m happy

October 25, 2008

It’s 20 minutes until gametime at Thomas Park Field. I’ve wolfed down three pieces of pizza and a cookie (I’m a big Pizza Ranch fan).

Playoff scenarios:

Marion is the #2 team in Class 3A District 4 … win, lose or rainout. The buzz around here is that this district will match up with the district north of here and that the Indians will host West Delaware next Wednesday.

Benton Community can earn a berth two ways: with a win tonight AND a Maquoketa loss to Union. Or they can get in with a loss AND a Maquoketa loss AND a Mount Vernon win over Anamosa. That might be the more likely scenario.

The pick: Marion, 33-21.

District/regional XC results

October 24, 2008

Cedar Rapids Prairie is no longer a cross country wasteland.

The Hawks earned a berth in the boys’ state field for the first time, finishing second at the Class 4A district Thursday at Noelridge Park.

“We get to go to Fort Dodge to run one more race,” Prairie Coach Bill Schwarz said afterward. “We are really psyched up.”

Here are state-qualifying teams from area districts:

CLASS 4A GIRLS AT NOELRIDGE: 1. Iowa City West 37, 2. Cedar Rapids Washington 65, 3. Linn-Mar 82.

CLASS 4A BOYS AT NOELRIDGE: 1. Cedar Rapids Washington 54, 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 66, 3. Cedar Rapids Xavier 81.

CLASS 4A GIRLS AT PLEASANT VALLEY: 1. Iowa City High 27, 2. Pleasant Valley 72, 3. Dubuque Senior 87.

CLASS 4A BOYS AT PLEASANT VALLEY: 1. Pleasant Valley 32, 2. Burlington 55, 3. Iowa City High 73.

CLASS 4A GIRLS AT MARSHALLTOWN: 1. Ames 33, 2. Mason City 81, 3. Marshalltown 93.

CLASS 4A BOYS AT MARSHALLTOWN: 1. Marshalltown 71, 2. Cedar Falls 80, 3. Ames 94.

CLASS 3A GIRLS AT DECORAH: 1. Decorah 45, 2. Dubuque Wahlert 70, 3. Denver-Tripoli 109 (beat Waukon on tie-breaker).

CLASS 3A BOYS AT DECORAH: 1. Decorah 46, 2. Waukon 56, 3. Dubuque Wahlert 75.

CLASS 3A GIRLS AT PELLA: 1. Pella 61, 2. Benton Community 70, 3. Knoxville 121.

CLASS 3A BOYS AT PELLA: 1. Grinnell 42, 2. Pella 54, 3. Nevada 101.

CLASS 3A GIRLS AT FAIRFIELD: 1. Williamsburg 52, 2. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 53, 3. Marion 98. (MVL edged Williamsburg by 1 at Wamac meet; Raiders turn tables tonight.)

CLASS 3A BOYS AT FAIRFIELD: (Still awaiting results).

CLASS 2A GIRLS AT MONTICELLO: 1. Union 50, 2. Solon 65, 3. Cascade 112 (beat Tipton by 2).

CLASS 2A BOYS AT MONTICELLO: 1. Monticello 57, 2. Tipton 65, 3. Solon 80.

CLASS 2A GIRLS AT DIKE: 1. Hudson 32, 2. Dike-New Hartford 81, 3. Gilbert 124.

CLASS 2A BOYS AT DIKE: 1. Osage 62, 2. East Marshall 69, 3. Dike-New Hartford 108.

CLASS 2A B/G AT IOWA CITY: Postponed to Monday. The guess is that the University of Iowa didn’t want its course run on during a wet day.

CLASS 1A GIRLS AT ARLINGTON: 1. Valley Community 49, 2. Elkader Central 96, 3. Bellevue Marquette 114.

CLASS 1A BOYS AT ARLINGTON: 1. South Winneshiek 41, 2. Bellevue Marquette 99, 3. Turkey Valley 118.

CLASS 1A GIRLS AT MARSHALLTOWN: 1. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 56, 2. Mason City Newman 61, 3. Conrad BCLUW 86.

CLASS 1A BOYS AT MARSHALLTOWN: 1. Belle Plaine 66, 2. Conrad BCLUW 67, 3. Grundy Center 87.

CLASS 1A GIRLS AT OTTUMWA: 1. Pekin 31, 2. Durant 52, 3. Clinton Prince of Peace 91.

CLASS 1A BOYS AT OTTUMWA: 1. Iowa Mennonite 89, 2. Durant 96, 3. Clinton Prince of Peace 105.