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Headed for the stretch run

We are almost there. Another fall season heads for the final stretch as postseason brackets and matchups will be out soon.

Some folks I am sure never thought we'd get to this point in the middle of a pandemic.

Things haven't been easy. In Jasper County, Lynnville-Sully had to shut down athletics and activities because the school had a COVID-19 outbreak and was forced to go to 100 percent online learning.

L-S Activities Director Mike Parkinson, who also is the football coach, said the Hawks will restart their athletic competitions this week.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced a few weeks back that it was breaking up the state qualifying meets and state cross country meet later this month.

The state qualifying meets will now be two days on Oct. 21-22. And the state meet also is two days on Oct. 30-31.

There are two full weeks left of the volleyball regular season so I would assume postseason pairings will be out soon.

The postseason for girls swimming got pushed back a little bit. The NCMP Aquagirls don't have their conference meets until Oct. 17 and Oct. 20. The postseason begins with regionals on Nov. 7.

Don't expect regular brackets for the football playoffs. According to an article by Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the format will be different this year with every team making the playoffs.

Fans should think of the footbal playoffs as small tournaments that lead up to the final 16-team bracket in each class.

The IHSAA plans to do 16 pods for each class with two, three or four teams in each pod.

In Class 1A, 2A and 3A there are 54 teams in each class. There will be 10 first-round byes, which mostly likely will be all of the district champions plus a few others.

There will be only five byes in Class A as the field grows to 59 teams.

The 8-man class should be an old NCAA tournament type of bracket as there are 64 teams.

The IHSAA hopes to make each small pod up of teams which are not in the same district, but they also said it's not a guarantee.

Class 2A No. 3 PCM is a title contender once again. The Mustangs will get a first-round bye to open postseason play but also could get home games through Round 4.

No other area team will have a bye. So the other four schools — Newton, Colfax-Mingo, Lynnville-Sully and Baxter — will start their playoff runs on Oct. 16.

Trying to predict who the area schools will be paired up with in each pod is extremely difficult.

Will the IHSAA pair the Cardinals with Dallas Center-Grimes (5-0), Nevada (5-1), Ballard (5-1) or Pella (4-2)? I think any one of those teams could be the top seed in the pod. But other schools not in Newton's district which are a close drive away include Carlisle (3-3), Bondurant-Farrar (3-3), ADM of Adel (2-4) and Gilbert (3-2).

I also think a first-round matchup with Knoxville (1-5) or Norwalk (1-5) would be pretty cool, too.

Don't stay up late on Friday night to get the brackets either. The IHSAA plans to release the pairings and matchups by noon on Saturday.

Contact Troy Hyde at

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