City High coach Dan Sabers watches during a game against Linn-Mar on Aug. 26. Tork Mason/For Your Prep Sports.By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Moving on quickly after a game is often a popular theme among coaches.
Whether a team is coming off a big win or a disappointing loss if there is another game to be played coaches tend to put the outcome in the rear-view mirror almost immediately.
Following Friday’s annual Battle for the Boot long-time City High coach Dan Sabers pumped the breaks a little on zooming off to the next game.
Sabers gave his team the weekend to savor its 20-7 win over West High, the Little Hawks second straight in the series.
“You have fun with this game too, it’s so much work, we are going to keep reminding them of the good things that happened to us and what allowed them to happen,” Sabers said. “I want to keep those good feelings as long as we come out and practice hard there is nothing wrong with it.”
Sabers wants his sixth-ranked Little Hawks to remember what helped them become the first road team to win a game in the Battle for the Boot since 2011.
He also knows they will need to be locked in on Friday with a road trip to Clinton (3-1) looming in the Class 4A District 7 opener.
The River Kings possess one of the most potent offenses in the state and are averaging better than 45 points per game this season.
“We aren’t going back,” Sabers said. “We understand now that if we put in the work we are capable of some very good things.”
No. 10 West High (3-1) finds itself on the opposite end of the spectrum entering district play.
The Trojans saw a three-game winning streak snapped with the 20-7 loss to City High while posting season-lows in total offense and points.
West High faces its own post-Boot challenge with a district opener at Cedar Rapids Prairie (3-1)
The Hawks have won three straight since a season-opening 27-14 loss to fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington and was the first team outside the top 10 in this week’s Class 4A poll.
“When we play to our ability, we’re a tough team to beat,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said after Friday’s loss.” But when we don’t, we’re beatable.”
The start of district play has always opened the road to the playoffs.
With only two playoff spots up for grabs this season in each district Friday’s 4A district openers become more critical in the journey to the postseason.
Both City High and West High open district plays against opponents that figure to be in the mix for postseason berths.
“There is nothing on the boot that says you qualify for the playoffs and that’s our ultimate goal,” Hartwig said. “(The City High loss) stings naturally, but it doesn’t count in the (district) record books, we’re zero and zero. We’re going to be playing for, hopefully, bigger games because there are still five games left in the season and we’re zero and zero in the district.”