Believe it or not, the 2017 season is coming to an end. Week seven seemed like ages away back in August when we started, but here it is. Who would have guessed harlan and Winterset would be playing for a (possible) district title this week. That game, and a lot of other interesting action is on the slate week. Enjoy:
Carroll (2-4, 1-3) @ Denison (4-2, 3-1): Denison is hanging on to their playoff hopes by a thread. The Monarchs’ lone loss in the district is to Glenwood, but they have yet to play the top two teams in Harlan and Winterset. Last week, Denison scored in the final minute to nab a 14-13 victory over ADM. Monarch Quarterback Drew Polzin completed 10 of 20 pass attempts for 117 yards, 76 of which were to receiver Evan Wiebers. The Monarchs also used a very spread-out rushing attack in which five different ball carriers racked up nearly 200 total yards on the ground. Denison will be hosting a Carroll team that got trounced in week six. The Tigers were the latest team to fall victim to Nick Foss and the Harlan rushing attack. On offense, the Tigers were completely shut down by the Harlan defense. Carroll only recorded 101 yards of total offense, with highlight running back Tanner Higgins only touching the ball four times for 29 yards. The Tigers have been oh-so-close to having a winning record in the district, as they have blown two fourth-quarter leads against both Glenwood and Winterset. This is a matchup that looks like it should be a rout by glancing at the records. However, despite their peril against Harlan, the Tigers have played the top teams on their schedule very closely. Expect a pretty good battle between a team trying to stay in the playoff hunt and a squad trying to do whatever they can to finish out the season strong.
My pick: Carroll 26, Denison 17
Kevin’s pick: Carroll 18, Denison 14
Game of the Week - Harlan (5-1, 4-0) @ Winterset (5-1, 4-0): Here it is, folks. The 2017 District 7 Championship Game (sort of). While both teams control their own destiny, the winner of this game will take the reigns in the district standings. If Harlan wins, they are the outright champions, barring any wild upsets in the final two weeks. If Winterset wins, things could get a little murky. To clinch the district title, the Huskies would need to beat Harlan tomorrow and then win in Glenwood next week. A couple weeks ago after Harlan beat Creston and Glenwood, I said that the Cyclones had hopped into the driver’s seat, assuming Winterset would stumble and knock themselves out of contention. Well, they haven’t. The Huskies have continued to squeak out game after game, and with just three contests remaining, they have a more than realistic chance of making the playoffs now. Last week, Winterset went into Creston and took care of business. Junior quarterback Casey Kleemeier completed 8 of 13 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a 35-19 victory over the Panthers. On the receiving end, Kleemeier spread the wealth, hitting three different receivers for touchdowns. In the running game, junior Hunter Pashek racked up 101 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while Logan Connelly and Brady Porter combined for 110 yards on the night. The Huskies have rattled off all these wins without 2016 all-district linebacker and the team’s leading rusher Connor Van Pelt. Injury status on Van Pelt is still unknown here at Glenwood Sports, but his absence will be a major factor in the next two games if he happens sits out. The Winterset defense has been stellar all season long, allowing only 15 points per game. Their run defense will be put to the test tomorrow night when they square off against a Harlan rushing attack that is becoming a menace statewide. Senior running back Nick Foss was the standout once again last week, running for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. A stat line like that has become routine for Foss, as he has an average of 180 yards per game. Foss also surpassed the 1,000 yard mark on the season, joining Webster City’s Zane Williams as the only other 3A back to reach that milestone so far. Not only is Foss second in the state in yards, but he has scored the most touchdowns and averages the third-most yards per carry (minimum 90 attempts). Needless to say, he’s pretty good. While the offense is run almost completely through Foss and gets most of the publicity, the Harlan defense has been no slouch. They allow an average of only 11 points per game, and Lewis Central is the only team to score more than 14 points against the Cyclones. Harlan pitched a shutout against Carroll, only allowing 100 total yards to the Tigers, 72 of which were on the ground. The Harlan secondary has been stout all season, and will need to be ready for a battle tomorrow night against Kleemeier and the Winterset passing attack. This game is (probably) for all the marbles. The cluster atop District 7 is about to get a little more clear.
My pick: Harlan 24, Winterset 7
Kevin’s pick: Harlan 28, Winterset 14
Glenwood (5-1, 3-1) @ Creston (1-5, 0-4): The Rams had a little scare last week when they hosted Atlantic for homecoming. Glenwood got out to a 28-7 lead in the third quarter before allowing the Trojans to make it a one possession game late in the third. Fortunately for the Rams, senior safety Jake Murtfeld came up with a huge interception to halt an Atlantic drive inside the Glenwood 20. The Rams took control in the fourth quarter with two late touchdown runs as they escaped with a 42-20 win. Junior running back Noah Carter had the biggest game of his career, rushing for 204 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Senior quarterback Andrew Blum also had a good night on the ground as he ran the ball 28 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Carter and Blum are quickly becoming Glenwood’s one-two punch out of the backfield when they decide to pound it up the middle. The Trojans may have discovered the weak spot in Glenwood’s defense, as quarterback Atlantic’s passing attack found success the Ram secondary. Atlantic was the first team to score 20 points on Glenwood all season, so you have to give the Rams a little break for one bad game. The Rams will face another good quarterback this week in Creston’s Kylan Smallwood. Smallwood has thrown for nearly 600 yards on the season and boasts the second best completion rate (58%) and touchdown-interception (9:2) ratio in the district. The Panther rushing attack is led by both Smallwood and senior Mitchel Swank, who have combined for 1,075 total yards this season. While the offense seems pretty good on paper, the Creston defense has been struggling immensely though six games allowing just over 26 points per game. They will need to step it up if this week against a dangerous Ram rushing attack. Not only that, but Smallwood and the Panther offense will need to be firing on all cylinders if they want a chance at pulling a shocking upset in week seven.
My pick: Glenwood 35, Creston 13
Kevin’s pick: Glenwood 42, Creston 14
ADM (1-5, 0-4) @ Atlantic (3-3, 1-3): You’re probably wondering why ADM suddenly has a win to their name even though they lost last week. Well, according to quikstatsiowa.com, Ballard had to forfeit their 43-7 week two win over ADM, giving the Tigers a number in the left column. I won’t speculate as to why this happened, but that does mean there are no longer winless teams in District 7 (technically). Disregarding all technicalities, ADM is another team that got on the struggle train early in the season and never got the chance to jump off. The Tigers have now lost two heartbreakers in district play. The first one in a 17-14 battle against Carroll in week four, and the second one coming last week against Denison. The Tigers gave up a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game to lose a 14-13 stinger. This week will likely not be much better, as ADM travels to take on an Atlantic team that played pretty tough against Glenwood last week. Quarterback Jaxson Eden put up a pro-like stat line as he completed 20 of 31 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns. His lone interception came off a tipped-ball swing pass that fell into the hands of Jake Murtfeld. Eden’s three scores were to three different receivers, which excluded Eden’s favorite target Chase Mullenix. Mullenix hauled in eight receptions for a whopping 133 yards to highlight the night for a busy Trojan receiving corp. The Atlantic offense should have a heyday against an ADM team that is just trying salvage what’s left of the 2017 season.
My pick: Atlantic 33, ADM 20
Kevin’s pick: Atlantic 21, ADM 14
Kevin: 3-1 last week, 24-8 season
Nick: 4-0 last week, 23-9 season