The opening round of the playoffs start Friday. Four of the following six games are rematches from the seven-game regular season.
VAN BUREN COUNTY (1-5) at MEDIAPOLIS (5-2)
VBC lost 41-6 in a home game Sept. 11 against the Bulldogs, who have won five of their last six, losing only to Class 1A No. 3 Sigourney-Keota.
VBC running back Sam Warth has ran for 579 yards and six touchdowns this season. Wyatt Mertens is over 200 yards rushing, as is quarterback Lane Davis.
The Warriors will need to slow down a tough Mediapolis offense. Regan Thornburg has thrown for 839 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Anthony Isley has 571 yards and seven scores on the ground.
LONE TREE (3-3) at W-MU (4-3)
A possible nail-biter of an 8-man matchup, Winfield-Mount Union and Lions didn’t play in the regular season despite being in the same district. Both sides have similar records against common opponents with losses to the same three teams — English Valleys, New London, Montezuma — and a win over WACO.
W-MU’s Cam Buffington has 844 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Andrew Brady, Noah Sparrow and quarterback Abram Edwards are all over 200 yards on the ground as well.
Cade Shield has thrown for 762 yards, eight Lone Tree touchdowns and eight interceptions, and has ran for 319 yards and seven touchdowns. Alex Viner leads the Lions with 673 yards rushing and 13 scores.
WACO (3-4) at NEW LONDON (5-1)
One of many rematches in the area, the 8-man Tigers beat WACO 50-10 Sept. 4 as sophomore Blaise Porter scored twice. He is now the starting quarterback, replacing injured Ethan Streeter. Porter has 966 yards and 16 touchdowns running the ball, and 196 yards passing, going 15-for-18 with five scores.
Will Edeker struggled against a tough New London defense but has had a solid year, throwing for 496 yards and five touchdowns while running for 471 yards and nine TDs.
CENTRAL LEE (0-7) at MID-PRAIRIE (0-3)
Kayden Reinier set a school rushing record when the Golden Hawks crushed visiting Central Lee Sept. 11 49-0. Central Lee has 157 rushes for 577 yards and 93-of-193 passes for 1,004 to total 1,581 total yards. Mid-Prairie has three more yards rushing (216 for 1,584) than the visitors and then adds 761 passing on 50-of-105 passes. Vinny Bowlin has five TD passes and five interceptions but knows how to hand off to Reinier. He has reached 1,025 yards (fourth in Class 2A) on 112 carries (15th) for a 9.2 average per run (second, minimum 90 carries) with 13 touchdowns (fifth),
HIGHLAND (1-5) at ALBURNETT (4-2)
Highland has 1,561 total yards with all but 134 from rushing and of that Owen Donovan has 814 on 102 totes, an average of 8.2 (fourth in Class A, minimum 90). The Pirates have 1,421 total yards from 488 passing and 933 rushing. Donovan is first in A with 406 kick return yards and first in average (minimum five) at 45.1.
COLUMBUS (2-5) at WAPELLO (3-3)
The Indians won at Columbus 49-7 Sept. 25. Columbus must not turn the ball over and play pass defense. Wapello has completed almost four times as many passes as the Wildcats have attempted (68-for-107 vs. 17-for-37). Wapello’s Tade Parsons has 13 TDs (fifth in A) through the air and two interceptions while Jeff Hoback has four TDs and five interceptions. Columbus’ Will Schwab has 747 yards (13th in A) on 125 carries while Jake Gustison has 78 for 631 (25th in A) for the Indians.