WELLMAN — A school-record point total last season wasn’t enough to boost Mid-Prairie into the playoffs as longtime foe Williamsburg was the district champion, but the Golden Hawks toughened their non-district schedule in an effort to be playoff ready in 2020.
Mid-Prairie scored 60 or more points in three of its final four games, including the school record of 77 in a 77-13 win over Albia.
“I am excited about our schedule,” Mid-Prairie football coach Pete Cavanagh said. “We play a lot of great teams and they should all be great games.”
The Ratings Percentage Index determined playoff teams who did not win a district. The Golden Hawks finished second in their district, but were 25th in RPI with a 6-3 record, behind six teams with 5-4 records.
“All the teams on our non-district schedule this upcoming year had winning records last year and two of them were in the playoffs,” Cavanagh said. “So it should provide a challenge.”
The Golden Hawks also have a team on the schedule this season that should have qualified last year but didn’t. Sigourney-Keota was the only 8-1 team in the state to not make the playoffs. It will be the Hawks first game this season and the home opener. The two teams did not meet last year.
Last year’s first game was a 47-20 home loss to Grinnell, but the Hawks bounced back with a 43-0 blanking of the visitors from Pekin.
This year’s second game also will be at home, but it will be against Iowa City Regina, a program with a lot of state championship trophies in its display case. The Regals were 9-3 last season, losing in the state semifinals.
The last two non-district games are on the road against Mediapolis, which was 8-2 and lost to Regina in the first round of the playoffs and Mt. Vernon, which was 4-5 last season.
Last year’s final non-district games were a 40-6 road win over Wilton, then a 33-6 home loss to Iowa City Liberty, which made the Class 3A playoffs.
District play starts Sept. 25 with a home game against Central Lee, which went 2-7 last year including a 60-7 loss to Mid-Prairie.
Next is a home game against Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, which went 3-6 last year, including a 62-7 home loss to Mid-Prairie.
On Oct. 9, the key district game will be on the road against last year’s district champion Williamsburg Raiders.
“Williamsburg is the team to beat,” Cavanagh said. “They made it to the state semifinals last year.”
Mid-Praire led at home against the Raiders, who were 8-4 last year, but gave up a score right before halftime and lost 28-6.
The Golden Hawks then have a road game at Davis County before closing at home against West Burlington/Notre Dame.
“District games are about the same as last year, except we have West Burlington instead of Albia,” Cavanagh said.
Davis County lost to Mid-Prairie last year 63-6 and finished 2-7.
WBND was 1-8 last season.
The Golden Hawks finished second in the district last season and return quite a bit of talent.
Kayden Reinier returns for his senior season at Mid-Prairie, having led Class 2A District 6 in rushing touchdowns with 21, which was second in total touchdowns. Teammate and classmate Vinny Bowlin tied for fourth in the district with six. Reinier was second in the district in yards rushing with 1,127, which was fourth in total yards. Reinier had the longest touchdown scored, a 93-yard rush and Bowlin had the third longest (second longest rushing) with an 80-yarder.
Mid-Praire will lose quarterback Brad Tornow to graduation. Tornow’s quarterback rating was second in the district.
Last year on defense, Mid-Prairie’s leading tackler was linebacker Justice Jones, who finished fourth in the district with 58.5 tackles last year in his sophomore season. Junior Keegan Gingerich and senior Logan Harmsen tied for the district lead in fumble recoveries (3) with two others. As a junior last season, Josh Wallington was third with 11 tackles for loss and fifth in the district with four sacks. He was first in fumble return yards, having returned one for a 98-yard touchdown.
2020 Mid-Prairie Football Schedule
Aug. 28 vs. Sigourney-Keota
Sept. 4 vs. Iowa City Regina
Sept. 11 at Mediapolis
Sept. 18 at Mount Vernon
Sept. 25 vs. Central Lee*
Oct. 2 vs. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont*
Oct. 9 at Williamsburg*
Oct. 16 at Davis County*
Oct. 23 vs. West Burlington/Notre Dame*