Thursday, October 30, 2014
WEDNESDAYS SCOREBOARD - PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS - Pleasant Valley 31, Prairie 24 (OT) .... Linn-Mar 34, Davenport Central 14 .... Kennedy 20, Muscatine 17 .... Xavier 35, Charles City 6 .... Bettendorf 35, Jefferson 7 .... CR Washington 78, Clinton 13 .... COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL - Iowa Central 3, Kirkwood 2
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Jefferson High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

No.1 Bettendorf too strong for J-Hawks

BETTENDORF – This wasn't David vs. Goliath. This was David's Skinny Little Brother against one of the super heavyweights of Iowa Class 4A.

To say a 4-and-5 Cedar Rapids Jefferson team was facing long odds against second-ranked and undefeated Bettendorf in the J-Hawks' first playoff game in six years was saying the currently 0-7 Oakland Raiders have some work to do to make the 2014 NFL playoffs.

Yet Jefferson, playing sloppy but impassioned nothing-to-lose football went all out from first play to last in its long-shot attempt to upset the Bulldogs Wednesday night at TouVelle Stadium.

Alas, the rules of football physics played out on this chilly night, though David never quit.

Bettendorf, thriving on its swarming, lights-out defense and quarterback Cyle Cox's effective work, overwhelmed the J-Hawks 35-7 and motored closer to the UNI-Dome.

Going in, Jefferson Coach Brian Webb said his team was not “going to be happy with just being in the playoffs.” But while making their first postseason appearance since 2008 and seeking their program's first playoff victory since 1992, the J-Hawks (4-6) ran into an absolute buzz saw in the Bulldogs (10-0), a perennial playoff force making their 17th consecutive postseason appearance.



Lions are 'most improved' team in 4A

Linn-Mar football coach Bob Forsyth said in August that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the 2014 season and hopeful for a good year.

He may have underplayed his hand a bit.

Quite simply, Linn-Mar is the most improved team in Class 4A this year with a good chance of making a deep run in the playoffs.

The Lions finished with a 2-7 record in 2013 and improved to an 8-1 mark for the regular season this year. That's a gain of six victories and that plus-6 mark is the best among all 46 Class 4A teams in Iowa.

Lewis Central is next on the "most improved" list at plus-4, going from four victories in 2013 to eight wins in 2014.

Two Metro teams tied for third place in the "most improved" category at plus-3. The Washington Warriors jumped from 6-3 to 9-0 and the Jefferson J-Hawks climbed from 1-8 to 4-5.




Hansen will join Kirkwood softball

Maddie Hansen, an all-state catcher at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, has accepted an offer to play college softball at Kirkwood.

Hansen has been playing for the J-Hawks since she was a graduated eighth grader. She has a career batting average of .444 with 16 home runs and 163 RBIs in four years.

Hansen batted .500 with seven homers and 69 RBIs as a sophomore when Jefferson finished 33-12 and placed fifth at the Class 5A state tournament. She led Class 5A in RBIs that season and was second in the state.

Hansen hit .441 with seven homers and 46 RBIs this past season when Jefferson went 35-8 and finished seventh at the state tournament.

Kirkwood has one of the top NJCAA Division II softball programs in the country under Coach Joe Yegge.



Cougars deserve cheers, not jeers

It would be easy to make fun of the Kennedy Cougars for making the Class 4A football playoffs with a 2-7 record, but that would be a big mistake.

First of all, the Kennedy players are not responsible for the new district format this year that made it possible for 2-7 clubs to advance. Administrators did that, not the athletes.

Secondly, the Cougars should be applauded for sticking with it and playing hard after a rough 0-6 start. They had to adjust to a new head coach and new offensive scheme, and they lost a couple of games they could have - maybe should have - won.

Kennedy began the season with a 12-9 setback at Iowa City City when the Trojans threw a 33-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-15 with 1:59 left in the game. Four weeks later, the Cougars missed a 33-yard field on the final play of the fourth quarter and fell to Jefferson, 27-24, in overtime

Two weeks ago, the Cougars scored a touchdown with 71 seconds left against Cedar Falls to pull within 21-20, but they unable to convert a two-point conversion and lost by a single point.



No. 6 Lions roll; Jeff makes playoffs

Good football teams get big plays when they need them from their key players.

Linn-Mar is a good football team and its key players on offense have been Trevor Noble and Ryan Schmidt. The senior tandem came to the front when the Lions needed them most in Friday's regular-season finale against Cedar Rapids Jefferson.

Schmidt and Noble hooked up for four touchdown passes as the Lions rallied from a 14-7 deficit to win going away, 42-21, on a foggy Friday night at Linn-Mar Stadium.

The Lions (8-1, 5-0) had already locked up the Class 4A District 5 title after Week 8. Coach Bob Forsyth's team will host a No. 4 seed Davenport Central in a first-round playoff game on Wednesday night.

Jefferson (4-5, 2-3) got into the playoffs as a No. 4 seed. The J-Hawks will be on the road against a No. 1 seed and unbeaten Bettendorf on Wednesday night.



Altemeier, Eck run to state meet

CEDAR FALLS - Sarah Altemeier and Sam Eck of Cedar Rapids Washington placed in the top 10 at the district cross country meet in Cedar Falls Thursday and qualified for the Class 4A state meet in Fort Dodge Nov. 1.

Altemeier finished fifth in the girls 4K race in 15 minutes, 38 seconds. Eck placed 10th in the boys 5K event in 16 minutes, 46 seconds.

The top three teams and top 10 individuals advance to state. Washington, Jefferson and Kennedy did not qualify their boys teams or girls teams for state.

Birdsall Park, Cedar Falls


Team Standings



3 Metro teams seek playoff berths

It will be interesting to see how many high school football teams with 2-and-7 records make the Class 4A playoffs this year.

The Kennedy Cougars will make the 32-team field with a 2-7 mark if they defeat Waterloo West at Kingston Stadium Friday night, but they're not the only ones who could advance with a 2-7 record.

Iowa City High, Clinton and Mason City also could "earn" spots in the Class 4A tournament with 2-7 marks. That would be an improvement for Mason City, which qualified a few years ago with a 1-8 record.

We can thank - or blame - the district format for all this. The only results that count are district games. The non-district games are simply exhibitions, as far as making the playoffs, so it's a lot easier to make the playoffs now.

You can lose all of your non-district games, finish fourth in your district with a wobbly record and march into the playoffs at 2-7 (and sometimes even 1-8).

Under the old conference format, it normally took at least four victories to make the playoffs, although occasionally a team would slip through with a 3-6 mark. The schools voted for this system, so now everyone has to live with it.

Washington, Linn-Mar and Xavier have clinched playoff berths. The top-ranked Warriors are 8-0 and rolling along. The sixth-ranked Lions are 7-1, with the only loss to Washington. The Saints are 5-3, but have struggled on offense in their losses to Dowling (24-2), Western Dubuque (7-6) and Iowa City Regina (21-7) with only one touchdown on offense.



Cougars make strong run in MVC tourney

After winning  five straight matches Saturday, the Kennedy girls finally ran out of steam and had to settle for second place to Iowa City High in the 14-team Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball tournament.

Along the way, the Cougars got revenge for regular-season losses to Iowa City West and Linn-Mar. And they beat City High in three games in pool play during the morning session.

But in the championship final the Little Hawks found their groove and posted a dominating 25-16 25-16 victory.

“I think the kids were kind of zapped at the end,” said Kennedy Coach Michelle Goodall. “And Iowa City came out on fire.”

Ranked eighth in Class 5A, City High (21-9) came into the tourney as the top seed with the only unblemished MVC record of 6-0. The Class 5A 10th-ranked Cougars (25-11) were seeded eighth based on their 4-2 conference mark.



Drake, Lions shatter 3 MVC records

It's too bad they don't have a decathlon for high school swimmers.

If anyone could win 10 events at one meet, it would be Linn-Mar sophomore Kelsey Drake.

Freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke. Sprints, middle distances, long distances. It wouldn't matter.

Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake.

"It would be her," Linn-Mar Coach Chad Derlein confirmed Saturday. "It doesn't matter, she can swim it. Whatever event.

"She's probably the most versatile swimmer I know."

Drake starred at the Mississippi Valley Conference meet at Kennedy Saturday. She broke meet records in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, then had a sizzling anchor on the 400 freestyle relay to help Jenn Jenks, Lizzie Adams and Stephanie Jenks shatter another record.

High school swimmers are limited to four events at one meet. The closest Drake ever came to a "decathlon" in swimming was at the 12-and-under state meet a few years back, when she recalls winning nine events.

Drake enjoys all four strokes, although the butterfly is her favorite. "I could swim butterfly and never got bored with it, I love it so much," she remarked.



6 Metro teams could make playoffs

Three Metro football teams have clinched spots in the football playoffs and three more Metro clubs are still alive heading into the final week of the regular season.

Washington and Linn-Mar have clinched Class 4A district titles and the Xavier Saints can win their Class 3A district crown with a victory over Marion Friday night.

Jefferson, Prairie and Kennedy are still in contention for Class 4A playoff spots heading into decisive contests.

The top-ranked Washington Warriors and sixth-ranked Linn-Mar Lions will be No. 1 seeds for the playoffs and will face a No. 4 seed in the opening round.

The fifth-ranked Xavier Saints are tied for first place in their district with Solon and Western Dubuque, but the Saints own the tiebreaker and will draw a No. 1 seed by topping Marion.


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