By Tony Hooker
Last night in high school football playoff action, Mineral Point, the state’s number one ranked team all season in Division 6, cruised to a 63-6 victory over Palmyra-Eagle in the opening round of the Division 5 playoffs after moving up a class for the state tournament. In other action, Spring Valley, the state’s number three ranked D6 squad, also moved up to D5 for the playoffs and defeated Unity 47-6. Meanwhile, in Division 6, the smallest classification in the Wisconsin Athletic Association tournament series in 2020, number four Iola Scandinavia got by Hurley, the state’s seventh ranked division 7 team 35-6. Of the 32 games scheduled in the opening round of the WIAA playoffs for these two small divisions, three were decided by forfeit.
To the west, the Iowa State High school football playoffs saw their final four teams in each division in action. In the smallest division, Class A, number three Regina defeated the state’s top ranked team, St. Ansgar 49-28 to moved into the 11/19 state championship game, where they will face number two Grundy Center, who defeated #4 St. Albert 34-6. In Class 1A, MaxPreps number one team Odebolt Arthur Battle Creek Ida Grove is preparing for a final four clash on 11/14 versus Sigourney-Keota, the state’s number nine team. The winner of this clash will take on the winner of the game between number three South Central Calhoun and number two Van Meter.
In the Iowa state playoff series smallest two classes, no games have been lost to the coronavirus.
Heading east into Indiana, the state’s number one ranked 1A team, South Adams, defeated number two Southwood 48-35 to earn a semi-state berth versus number 13 Lafayette Central Catholic, who defeated Winamac 37-32. The winner will take on the victor of the second semi state game, featuring number three Covenant, who defeated South Putnam 48-7, and number seven West Washington, who defeated North Decatur 36-20. In class 2A action, number two Pioneer upset number one Andrean 24-21 to move into a semi-state game versus number four Bishop Luers, who defeated number five Tipton 36-17. The other semi-state game will see number nine Western Boone, a 42-27 winner over number seven Heritage Christian, taking on number three Evansville Mater Dei, who squeaked by Triton Central 16-6. There have been five forfeits due to the coronavirus in these two state high school playoff brackets, with six games to be played.
The story is the same in Missouri. Thousands of high school kids, all excited about being given an opportunity to make lifelong memories in the playoffs, where the win or go home pressure is so thick you can almost see it. In all the states that border ours. But, here, surrounded on all sides by all of this high school football excitement, sits Illinois. There were no widespread breakouts in any of the other states. Few postponements, even, for the smaller towns.
I feel for the coaches, to be sure, but there will be other years for most of them. For the seniors however, chances are that this was their last go-round. I am holding out hope that the spring season will take place, but with recent restrictions to basketball I’m doubtful. VGH has a chance to be pretty good in both football and basketball this year, and that certainly plays a part in my frustration, but sweet memories remain of my time on the gridiron four decades ago, and as I’ve said before, I am hopeful that these kids will get a chance to make some sweet memories of their own.