Moving into week nine of the 2013 high school football season little has been decided.
Here’s what has been decided for our area teams:
• Southwest Valley, Murray and Nodaway Valley are in the playoffs.
• East Union and Lenox have been eliminated from playoff contention.
That leaves plenty to still be decided in the final week of the regular season.
For instance, will Mount Ayr finally clinch its spot in the playoffs? Also, what seeds will Southwest Valley, Murray and Nodaway Valley earn?
Here is a breakdown of each team’s final regular season game, and the different playoff scenarios.
Just three weeks ago, Mount Ayr looked to be sailing into the playoffs. Now, the Raiders find themselves needing a win against Pella Christian in week nine to clinch a playoff spot.
“It’s a big game,” Mount Ayr co-head coach Delwyn Showalter said. “It’s the difference between the three and four-seed. The other thing is, it’s a chance to build a little momentum going into the postseason. There’s a lot to play for.”
Mount Ayr can earn a playoff spot even with a loss to Pella Christian, but would also need losses by Des Moines Christian against Van Meter and Central Decatur against Ogden.
The Raiders have lost two of their past three games, with the two losses coming against Van Meter and Ogden, the top two teams in Class 1A District 7. Pella Christian has lost to both Van Meter and Ogden by the same score of 14-13.
Mount Ayr is the three seed in District 7 with a win over Pella Christian. A loss to Pella Christian, and the Raiders would either fall to the fourth seed, or could miss out on the playoffs entirely if Des Moines Christian and Central Decatur win, and also pass the Raiders in point differential.
“We’ve got to cut down on turnovers and penalties,” Showalter said. “That’s kind of a song we’ve been singing all year. We’ve been our own worst enemy most of the time. If we can keep from stopping our own drives, that’s a big key.”
Another key for Mount Ayr, Showalter said, will be to stop Pella Christian’s power run game. The Eagles average 212.5 rushing yards per game this season. The Raiders also need to be prepared to stop a rarely used, but effective, passing game from Pella Christian.
The Timberwolves of Southwest Valley square off against Eight-Man District 8’s last-place team Essex/South Page.
Southwest Valley enters week nine in a three-way tie for first place in District 8 with Fremont-Mills and Sidney.
Every team in the district has beaten Essex/South Page by at least 13 points this season. If all three teams tied for the district lead win, then the Timberwolves need only to defeat the Trojans by 13 points in order to sew up a district championship and the opportunity to host either Boyer Valley or West Harrison in the first round.
A win by less than 13 points, or a loss by the Timberwolves, could see them drop as far as third place in the district, depending on what else happens in the district.
“I think there’s still a good sense of urgency the job isn’t finished,” Southwest Valley head coach Kent Bass said. “The kids understand anything can happen this week. We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but there is a good sense of urgency to finish out this season the right way.”
Bass said keys to victory for his team this week include controlling the line of scrimmage, taking care of the ball and playing great defense.
“Defense has been one of our strong suits this year,” Bass said. “We have to come out and play strong, fundamental football and tackle well.”
Murray travels to Lamoni to close out the regular season in a game that determines whether the Mustangs will host a first-round playoff game, or whether they will hit the road for the playoffs.
The Mustangs and Lamoni both enter the contest with records of 5-1 in district play. The winner earns the second seed in the district, behind Adair-Casey, and the loser earns the third seed.
Murray will need to slow down the triple threat rushing attack of Daniel Ansong, Colton Ranney and Beau Bjorland. Those three have combined to accumulate 1,707 rushing yards this season with 30 touchdowns.
The Wolverines play a non-district game at Clarinda Academy in week nine, so their fate rests in the hands of Treynor.
If Treynor (3-2) defeats Panorama (4-1), then the Wolverines are the second seed in Class 1A District 8, behind champion Council Bluffs St. Albert. If Panorama wins, then the Panthers clinch the second seed and Nodaway Valley is the third seed.
As the second seed, Nodaway Valley could play host to either Mount Ayr or Pella Christian. As the third seed, the Wolverines would travel to Ogden.
Back in Eight-Man games, Lenox closes its season at Fremont-Mills with a chance to play spoiler.
Fremont-Mills is one of three teams tied for first place in District 8. A Tiger win would spoil any hopes the Knights have of winning a district crown.
East Union, meanwhile, finishes its season on the road against a Grandview Park Baptist team that has already wrapped up the fourth seed in District 6.
Be sure to check www.crestonnews.com Friday night for scores from around the area, along with the latest on the playoff scenarios.