What To Watch this Football Season
Ryan Murken Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
The high school football season is already underway but don’t worry, you haven’t missed much.
A handful of games officially opened the season last week and week 1 began with some Thursday games this week.
The schedule heats up in a big way tonight with the first full Friday slate of the season.
Before games kick off tonight get caught up on what you need to know heading into the season.
New Look Playoffs
Fans will need to wait nine weeks to witness the biggest change in the prep football landscape.
After eight years of 32 teams qualifying for the playoffs in each class the playoff field is being cut in half.
There will be 16 playoff teams in all six classes this season with the opening round and quarterfinals being played on consecutive Fridays.
In Class 4A the top two teams from each of the eight districts will make up the 16-team field.
In 3A, 2A, 1A and A the top two teams from each of the seven districts will qualify for the postseason along with two wild cards teams.
Wild card teams will be determined using a set of criteria that begins with any teams in a tie for a district championship and includes district record and head to head competition.
The previously used point-differential tiebreaker has been changed from 13 points to 17 points and is fourth on the wild card criteria list.
The revamped playoff format comes with a new two-year set of district assignments.
City High joins five Mississippi Athletic Conference teams in Class 4A, District 7.
The Little Hawks join Bettendorf as the only District 7 teams to win a playoff game last season.
West High and defending 4A runner-up Cedar Rapids Kennedy are the only teams in District 8 that won playoff games a year ago and the Cougars are the only District 8 team that posted a winning record last season.
Clear Creek Amana will have a rough road to a third straight playoff appearance in a loaded 3A, District 4.
Four teams in District four won at least five games last season including Davenport Assumption (quarterfinals) and West Delaware (semifinals).
Lucky Number 7?
Regina will try to add to its state record for consecutive state titles as it chases an unprecedented seventh straight state crown.
The Regals won its state title streak to six with a 35-28 win over Western Christian in last year’s 1A title game and have won 82 of 84 games during their title streak.
Regina hasn’t lost a playoff game since 2009, winning an all-time state best 30 consecutive postseason games.
Top talent On Display
Oliver Martin exploded onto the national scene this summer as one of the most coveted wide receiver prospects in the country.
The West High senior picked up scholarship offers from traditional powers Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State in addition to the home town Hawkeyes and most of the programs in the Big Ten.
Martin is the consensus top-ranked prospect in what is one of the deepest and most talented recruiting classes in state history.
Entering the season 16 Iowa seniors have verbally committed to FBS programs and area talented is well represented in that list.
City High senior quarterback Nate Wieland has committed to Northern Illinois and Solon senior tight end Jacob Coons is an Iowa commit.
West High senior offensive tackle Alex Kleinow committed to Iowa State over the summer and Regina two-way lineman Jared Brinkman verballed to Northern Iowa.