Sam Stein kicks off against Solon on Sept. 2. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Crunch time in the high school football season is here.
District titles will be decided over the next two Fridays as the regular season concludes next week.
Before we get to the regular season finales here are eight things to watch in week eight games.
Establishing the running game is important to most teams. It’s a little bit more important to Clear Creek Amana.
Getting the running game rolling has maybe never been more important to the Clippers than it will be against Davenport Assumption on Thursday.
Both Clear Creek Amana (6-1) and Assumption (5-2) rank in the bottom 10 in Class 3A in pass attempts this season and in the top 15 in rushing yards.
Only three teams in 3A have thrown the ball less than Clear Creek Amana this season as the Clippers have attempted just 54 passes and only eight teams have thrown it less than Assumptoin with 84 pass attempts.
Neither team has needed to throw it much. Assumption ranks ninth in 3A averaging 267 rushing yards per game while Clear Creek Amana is averaging 232 yards per game on the groun.
Two of the top programs in Eastern Iowa will square off for the Class 4A, District 7 title when No. 4 City High (6-1) hosts No. 6 Bettendorf (5-2) on Friday.
These two programs are no stranger to big games.
City High and Bettendorf have met in the playoffs eight times since 1995, with six of those meetings coming after the second rounds including a 31-7 Bettendorf win in the quarterfinals last year.
Since 1995 the two programs have combined for 18 semifinal appearances, 10 state title game berths and four championships.
Locking it up
City High isn’t the only team that can secure a district title on Friday.
Regina and Solon can both lock up district crowns before the season finale with road wins on Friday.
Class 3A No. 7 Solon (6-1) can secure the 3A, District 5 title with a win over West Burlington/Notre Dame (4-3) and top-ranked Regina (6-1) can lock up the top spot in 1A, District 4 with a win at Columbus (1-6).
There is efficient quarterback play and then there is what Blayze Griffis has done over the last five games.
The Solon senior is completing 71 percent of his passes during the Spartans’ current five-game winning streak, throwing 11 touchdowns and two interceptions during that span.
Griffis has passed for at least 100 yards in each of his last five games averaging 146 yards per game.
No Passing Zone
After giving up 518 passing yards in its first two games this season the West High defense has been nearly impossible to solve through the air.
West High (5-2) has held each of its last five opponents to less than 100 yards passing, allowing 75 yards per game through the air during that stretch.
The Trojans have an interception in four straight games and have allowed two passing touchdowns since the first two weeks of the season.
The West High secondary will get its toughest test since the opening two weeks this week in Linn-Mar senior quarterback Reese Phillips.
Phillips has come to life after a tough two-game stretch to open the season in which he had six interceptions and no touchdowns.
Over the last five games Phillips is completing 45 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and just two picks and has thrown for more than 180 yards three times in his last four games.
Dominant District Defense
Solon can close out a district title on Friday with a win and the Spartans have their defense to thank.
The Spartans have allowed a total of 25 points in five district wins and haven’t allowed more than 15 points in a district game this season.
Solon has two shutouts and is allowing 161 total yards per game in district play after giving up a season-low 61 total yards in a 26-0 win over Mount Pleasant last week.
Running Away With It
Regina has used its running game to run away with another district title.
The Regals haven’t clinched the district crown yet but can with a win at Columbus on Friday and it has been the ground game that has Regina in position to claim another district title.
Regina has rushed for better than 368 yards in back-to-back games and has scored five rushing touchdowns in four of its last five games.
The Regals are averaging 302 rushing yards per game in five district wins.
Moving the Chains
Ethan Postler was solid in his second career start last week, passing for 162 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a 24-10 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
The junior quarterback was better than just solid on third downs last week, he was fantastic.
Postler was 4-of-4 passing for 32 yards on third down plays in the first half last week with three of those completions going for first downs as West High built a 17-0 halftime lead.
Postler finished 5-of-7 on third down as West High converted seven of its 14 third down attempts in the win.