Sports

Area small schools: Cobras, Tigers look to strengthen playoff resumes

It’s crunch time for some of the area’s small school football teams.

With just two games left in the season and playoffs approaching shortly, a handful of area teams still have hope that their name will be on the IAHSAA playoff brackets, which will be released in just under two weeks.

No. 9 Sigourney-Keota leads the area’s charge, going 7-0 through their first seven games of the season. Awaiting them, though, is perhaps their two toughest opponents on the schedule.

The Cobras, led by their dominant defense and rushing attack have yet to break much of a sweat this season. J.D. Stout is up to 1,214 yards on the ground, Sam Sieren is up to 945, and the defense has given up a combined 12 points in district play.

S-K will have a shot to knock Wapello out of the playoff hunt this weekend, but the Indians are no pushover. Wapello played a tough non-conference schedule and nearly beat district co-leader Mediapolis in Week 5, falling 14-10. Since district play began, the Indians have given up just 14 points per game.

If the Cobras can get by Wapello, their final game of the year at home against Mediapolis will be for all the marbles, with first place in the district and an automatic playoff berth on the line.

For defending Class 8-Man champion New London, the road to the playoffs is a lot less simple. The Tigers are sitting a game behind district-leading HLV, tied with three other teams in the district for second place. They’ll be playing two of those teams, Iowa Valley and Montezuma, in their final games.

Iowa Valley, the team that beat New London in the defacto district championship game but lost to the Tigers in the playoffs last year, will be coming into New London this Friday. Iowa Valley is No. 9 in the Eight-Man RPI, putting them in a good position for an at-large berth if they win out. New London is sitting at No. 19, but could make up some serious grounds by beating IV this Friday and defeating Montezuma (RPI: 11) in their final contest.

New London could be assisted by another area team on Friday. Winfield-Mt. Union travels north to Victor to take on distrct-leading HLV. A W-MU win would cause havoc in the district standings.

Another Union area coverage team that could give New London a boost is WACO.

The Warriors, who have scored at least 40 points in every game this season, host Lone Tree in their final home game this year. WACO is still mathmatically in the hunt to share the district championship, having just three losses themselves. It would need to win out and get a ton of help from the rest of the district to do so, however, and a 1-1 nondistrict record would likely keep them out of the field even if everything goes right.

Another team who needs a boat load of help is Mid-Prarie. The Golden Hawks blistered Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont last week, and are huge favorites against their final two opponents, Davis County and Albia. The Week 6 loss to Williamsburg stings, though, as does an RPI rating of 29.

M-P would need to win both of their final games and have Williamsburg completely fall apart in their last two games to sneak in. Williamsburg, hoewver, is a heavy favorite as well, favored by over 47 points in their last two games, according to bcmoorerankings.com.

The area’s Class A teams will likely all need to wait until next year to get into the playoff field, but one of them has a chance to play spoiler this weekend. Pekin hosts first-place Belle Plaine, hoping to get back on track after two-straight district losses against Highland and BGM.

There is one small school game between Union area opponents this week.

Highland will try and get back on the winning track and hold homefield against a Cardinal team that has went 0-3 in district play after a perfect 4-0 nondistrict slate.

It’s unclear whether this weekend’s results will shed light on the playoff picture of just make it more confusing. Either way, though, it will set the stage for an exciting last week of the regular season.