The final week of the 2017 regular season is upon us. Man does time fly or what? The Glenwood Rams have already punched their ticket to the postseason as the district runner-up, while Harlan claimed the crown with a victory over Denison last Friday. As for tomorrow night, most of these games really don't mean much in the long run. However, there are a few decent matchups. Here is what's on the slate for District 7's regular season finale:
Harlan (7-1, 6-0, D7 Champ) @ Atlantic (5-3, 3-3): Coming off a 1-8 season in 2016, the Atlantic Trojans have to be excited with the improvement they’ve shown. Even though they are out of the running for a playoff bid, Atlantic’s football program is undoubtedly trending upward. The Trojans nabbed a 20-14 home win over the Carroll Tigers last week to officially secure a winning record in 2017 regardless of what happens Friday. Although there are no stats posted from that game, it is evident that Atlantic’s defense came to play, as the Tigers only ran for 82 yards on the night. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they will likely finish out the season with a loss. Atlantic will host a red hot Harlan team that only got better last week. Senior running back Nick Foss had one of the best games of the season, racking up 242 yards and five touchdowns on just 19 carries against Denison. Foss currently leads Class 3A with 1,464 yards and a jaw dropping 24 touchdowns on the season. To make matters worse for anyone playing the Cyclones in the near future, senior Deren Schmitz returned to the quarterback position. Schmitz, who was all-district in 2016, had been injured all season after breaking his pinky in early August. Schmitz took the reigns under center for Harlan last Friday, completing six of 10 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. The presence of Schmitz adds another dimension to the Cyclones’ offense, as if it weren’t good enough already. Having already clinched a district title last week, the Cyclones may be taking it easy since this game is seemingly meaningless. On the other side, Atlantic will likely come out firing, gunning to end Harlan’s seven-game win streak. Expect a solid effort from the Trojans, but don’t bet on any crazy upset here.
My pick: Harlan 38, Atlantic 14
Kevin’s pick: Harlan 40, Atlantic 7
Carroll (3-5, 2-4) @ Creston (2-6, 1-5): While Creston has struggled immensely throughout this entire season, they were able to open a small hole at the end of their dark tunnel after a 44-43 comeback win over ADM last week. Sophomore quarterback Eli Loudon came into relieve junior first-string quarterback Kylan Smallwood and had himself quite the night. Loudon completed 15 of 18 passes for 169 yards and two scores; his best game of the season so far. On top of that, senior running back Mitchel Swank had a good night as well, rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Overall, it was by far Creston’s best offensive performance of the year. While the season is virtually over, it is always good to find small victories. As for the Carroll Tigers, 2017 has been full of heartbreak. Three of Carroll’s five losses have been decided by less than a touchdown, one of those being Glenwood’s miraculous one point victory back in week three. After going 10-1 and winning a district title last season, the Tigers have had a disappointing run this go around, but will look to end it on a high note with a win in Creston. Look for a decent game here.
My pick: Carroll 28, Creston 21
Kevin’s pick: Creston 20, Carroll 14
ADM (1-7, 0-6) @ Glenwood (7-1, 5-1, D7 Runner-up): This is the first season that Glenwood’s state playoff t-shirts won’t need to be made in a frantic panic. That means unlike the last two years, Glenwood clinched a playoff berth before the final week of the season. The eighth-ranked Rams hosted Winterset last week with a playoff ticket on the line. A game that many of us predicted to be close ended up being a beat down, as the Rams flexed their muscles on the Huskies, coming away with a 28-0 victory. Glenwood pounded up the middle the ball all night long, rushing for a total of 355 yards against a highly-regarded Winterset defense. I would recommend adding junior tailback Noah Carter to your fantasy team, as he recorded his third straight game with 150+ yard performance. Carter finished with a season-high 219 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries last Friday. Senior quarterback Andrew Blum (or as we like to call him Mr. Reliable) had a routine night, tallying 116 yards and a touchdown on 24 rushing attempts. Glenwood’s defense was another highlight, holding the Husky offense to just 153 total yards on the night. Having already locked up a playoff bid, the Rams may take it easy and rest some starters this week against a much weaker ADM team. The Tigers blew a double-digit lead and lost a 44-43 heartbreaker to Creston last week. ADM still has yet to win a game on the field, even though their record shows a victory (Ballard was forced to forfeit their 43-7 win over the Tigers). Needless to say, don’t expect much of a game here.
My pick: Glenwood 48, ADM 13
Kevin’s pick: Glenwood 32, ADM 6
Denison (4-4, 3-3) @ Winterset (5-3, 4-2): The Winterset Huskies still have a remote chance of making the playoffs. They will have to beat Denison by at least 17 and then plead to the heavens that there are some wild upsets across the state to allow them to receive a wildcard spot. If that doesn’t happen, tomorrow night would be the final game of Winterset’s season. Much like Atlantic, the Huskies have to be happy with where they are right now, after tallying just three wins last season. Winterset was flying high with a 5-1 record headed into week seven until they dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker to Harlan and then was pummeled by Glenwood last Friday. They will try to end their skid tomorrow night as they host a Denison team that is still licking its wounds from a 56-14 loss to Harlan in week eight. The Monarchs were shut down on both sides of the ball against the district champs, and will look for a better performance tomorrow night. The Huskies will still be playing for the slim chance that they could sneak in the backdoor of the postseason, so expect them to try to run up the score as much as they can.
My pick: Winterset 34, Denison 7
Kevin’s pick: Winterset 21, Denison 10
Kevin: 3-1 last week, 31-9 season
Nick: 3-1 last week, 30-10 season