-MATCHUP OF THE WEEK- Denison-Schleswig at LeMars-
The Class 3A District 1 playoff picture will become a little less cloudy following Friday night’s action, but the most significant matchup won’t take place at Dale Norton Field.
Denison-Schleswig and LeMars, two of the remaining three teams fighting for the district’s second playoff spot, go head-to-head tonight in LeMars.
“LeMars has the advantage because they’re playing at home and they’ve been a district power for the last few years,” Spencer coach Jim Tighe commented. “But Denison is probably thinking they didn’t play as well a they could last week. They definitely played a lot better the week before in Sioux City. Maybe they’re a team that plays better on the road " some teams do play better on the road.”
Spencer improved its playoff chances with a 24-10 win last Friday in Denison, but the Tigers still need help from the Monarchs going into the final two weeks of the season. For one final year, only the top two teams in each of the eight Class 3A districts receive a berth in the 16-team playoff field.
“We’re not really worried about that. We’re just going to worry about beating Spirit Lake,” said Tighe.
Sioux City Heelan is 5-0 in Class 3A District 1 play. The Crusaders (6-1 overall) will be heavily favored in their final two games.
At 4-1 in the district, LeMars (4-3) controls its own destiny for the runner-up spot. The Bulldogs can lock up the second playoff spot with a win over the Monarchs. At 3-2 in the district, Spencer (5-2 overall) and Denison-Schleswig (4-3) are a game behind LeMars.
The Bulldogs own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Spencer by virtue of its 13-6 win over the Tigers in Week 5. Spencer owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Monarchs because of the Week 7 win.
If Denison-Schleswig bounces back at LeMars " and if Spencer wins its Week 8 game against Spirit Lake " the Tigers, Bulldogs and Monarchs would be tied for second place in the district at 4-2.
Each team would have a loss to Heelan and each team would have a 1-1 record against the teams they are tied with for second place going into the final game of the season. If the three-way tie remains intact at the end of the regular season, margin of victory will determine the second playoff qualifier in District 1.
“I was conscious of (the 13-point rule) last week, but we never talked about it to the kids. When you’re just playing to win, it’s not as big of a deal,” Tighe said. “If we play well and win, all that other stuff will take care of itself.”
Here’s what the breakdown means for Spencer’s playoff chances, based on preliminary numbers:
• Spencer is in with two wins and two Le Mars losses.
• Otherwise, Spencer and Denison-Schleswig both must win its final two games for the Tigers to stay alive.
• The Tigers would hurt their chances, even with wins, if they fall short of the 13-point margin of victory.
Note: The 13-point tie-breaker is determined using plus and minus points of district games divided by the total number of games played within the district. Overtime results count as a plus-one or minus-one in the tie-breaker formula, even if a team wins by six points in overtime.
Also, a 13-point win is the maximum allowed under Iowa High School Athletic Association tie-breaking procedures. (In other words, a 45-0 win is still a “plus-13” result when the association’s tie-breaking formula is applied.)
• Spencer, with a tie-breaker average of 3.80, is currently ahead of Denison-Schleswig at 2.60. That means, even with a maximum 13-point win at Le Mars and another 13-point win the following week, Denison-Schleswig can’t catch the Tigers as long as Spencer also wins its next two games by 13 points or more. The Monarchs need to win out, coupled with a Tigers loss or close results that bring Spencer’s 13-point margin-of-victory average below their own.
• Le Mars must lose to Denison-Schleswig by at least two points in regulation (along with a Spencer 13-point win) for the Tigers to move ahead of the Bulldogs in the 13-point formula going into the final week. If Le Mars loses by one point, or loses in overtime, Spencer will still need help in the final week of the regular season.
The Tigers shut down Denison-Schleswig in the second half last Friday, holding the Monarchs scoreless and their receivers catchless over the final 24 minutes. Spencer gave up just 3.5 yards per play and kept the Monarchs 17 points under their district scoring average. Spirit Lake enters tonight’s contest averaging 8 points per game, the lowest total in District 1. J.J. Nair made 8 tackles in Week 7, giving him a team-high 54 on the year. Tyler Kacmarynski and Tyler Kramer each added 8 stops apiece, while Zach VanWettering pulled down his first career interception.
Okoboji struggled to control East Sac County’s passing attack last week, but still proved capable in the turnover department. The Pioneers came up with two more turnovers against the Raiders, giving them 16 takeaways on the year. T.J. Alger recorded his first interception of the season and Ethan Johnson recovered an East Sac fumble. Matt Tschetter added 18 more tackles and a pair of sacks to his season total. Tschetter leads the team with 113 tackles.
The Rebels had allowed just 8 points to Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn through the first half of last Friday’s meeting before the Hawks’ offense took over the second half. Kaleb Lindquist had a season-high 22 tackles, increasing his team-leading total to 81 on the year. Trevor Tiefenthaler added 10 tackles and Mike Ripke recorded an interception, his third of the year.
The Mavericks returned to their stingy defensive ways last Friday, limiting Rockwell City-Lytton to just 6 points and 137 yards of total offense. The Wildcats amassed just 46 yards rushing, averaging under 2 yards per carry. Dalton Wimmer pulled down 2 interceptions and Dustin Biedenfeld recovered a fumble for CC-E. The Mavericks enter tonight’s contest with Laurens-Marathon giving up 15 points per game in district play with a large chunk of that total coming to Newell-Fonda and Alta. The Chargers have averaged 32.2 points in five district games.
The Tigers turned in another typically strong rushing performance in Week 7, rolling up 191 yards on the ground. Chris Lensing ran for 61 yards and a score and completed 5-of-10 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Skylaar Konrady averaged 7.1 yards per carry on 10 totes; Eric Norgaard had 49 yards and one touchdown, giving him 686 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the year. Kyle Fitch added 3 receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. The junior wide receiver has 7 catches for 149 yards and two scores in three games this year. Spirit Lake enters tonight’s game giving up an average of 26.6 points in district play. The Tigers are averaging 25.2 points per district game, including 34.5 over their last two games.
The Pioneers totaled 189 yards of offense last week, 103 coming on the ground. Matt Tschetter had 56 yards on 12 carries, Max Burgeson added 63 yards on 15 carries. The duo has each averaged over 5.5 yards per carry this season. Tschetter has 410 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, Burgeson has 614 yards rushing and 8 scores. Blake Kliegl lead Okoboji receivers with 18 catches, 307 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Ryan Wurtz has passed for 719 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Rebels put up over 150 yards passing last week against H-M-S as Colin Hogrefe went 7-of-14 for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. Trevor Tiefenthaler rewrote the school record book after a 6-catch, 160-yard and 2 score performance. The junior wideout has caught 39 passes for 533 yards on the season. Both marks broke records he had established in 2006.
The Mavericks put up another strong rushing performance in Week 7, producing 227 of their 301 total yards on the ground. Ross Jobst had 35 carries for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead CC-E. Lance Englert added 57 yards on the ground, while Kasey Kunzmann had 34 on 6 carries. Kunzmann also returned a kickoff 88 yards for a score. CC-E is averaging 232 rushing yards in its last 6 games and 22 points in its past two contests.
“We just can’t let them hang around and gain confidence because they do have some good athletes. If we keep the big plays from happening, I think we’ll be just fine.”
-Jim Tighe, Tigers coach
“There’s a lot of things to play for yet. We’re playing for a winning record and we’re playing for pride. We’ve got a great group of kids. Our effort has never been lacking and the kids’ attitudes have always been good. I have a great staff to work with, too. It’s been a great season from that aspect.”
-Travis Schipper, Pioneers coach
“West Lyon has got no weaknesses that I see. We’re going to have a difficult time running on them, we’re going to have a difficult time period. We probably don’t deserve to be on the same field as these guys this year.”
-Jeff Tiefenthaler, Rebels coach
“At the beginning of the year, our biggest goal was to have a winning season. We still have a chance to do that. They want to prove that they can go out winners.”
-Kevin Fahnlander, Mavericks coach
-FRIDAY NIGHT MATCHUPS-
Spencer (5-2) vs. Spirit Lake (1-6), 7:30 p.m.
Okoboji (3-4) at Garner-Hayfield (1-6), 7 p.m.
Sioux Central (0-7) vs. West Lyon (6-1), 7 p.m.
Clay Central-Everly (3-4) vs. Laurens-Marathon (4-3), 7:30 p.m.