The path to the playoffs is simple for Newton’s football team. Just win.
The Cardinals face Clear Creek-Amana on the road this week. A win likely pushes Newton into the postseason. A loss almost certainly sends the Cardinals below No. 16 in the RPI.
There will be a lot on the line Friday from Class 4A District 4. Pella’s 35-2 win over Clear Creek-Amana opens the door for several possibilities.
If Pella defeats Cedar Rapids Washington and Newton loses this week, the Dutch are the district’s runner-up and Newton’s playoff chances are to be determined.
If both Cedar Rapids Washington and Newton win, both teams are likely in the postseason.
If Pella and Newton win, the Cardinals win the three-way tiebreaker based on RPI.
If Washington wins and Newton loses, Washington is the No. 2 seed and Newton is likely out.
Clear Creek-Amana comes into the week 3-5. But three of those losses — Independence (13-7), Iowa City Liberty (55-7) and Xavier (49-0) — came against playoff teams. The other two were against Cedar Rapids Washington (27-24) and Pella.
Newton and Clear Creek-Amana were in a similar spot last year. The Clippers defeated the Cardinals 49-48 at H.A. Lynn Stadium to clinch a playoff spot.
The Cardinals will have to stop the run to defeat the Clippers. They have rushed for 1,281 yards and thrown for 525. Jackson Schmidt leads the offense with 339 passing yards, 556 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns.
The Clippers were held to 151 total yards against Pella. CCA’s defense has just 5.5 sacks and six interceptions this season.
Three Jasper County schools start their postseason runs on Friday.
Class A No. 5 Lynnville-Sully (8-0) hosts Earlham (3-5), PCM (5-3) hosts Clear Lake (4-4) and Baxter (7-1) goes on the road to face CAM (6-2).
The Hawks should have no trouble with Earlham, which is my alma mater.
The Cardinals are 0-5 against playoff teams, including a 42-13 loss to Madrid. L-S defeated Madrid by 22 points earlier this season.
The Hawks haven’t been challenged much yet. Their smallest margin of victory was the 22-point win over Madrid. They have defeated their first eight opponents by an average of nearly 40 points.
PCM and Clear Lake defeated Iowa Falls-Alden by the exact same 42-0 score. The Lions have won three of four since losing to 2A playoff qualifier Osage (31-28), 1A playoff qualifier Dike-New Hartford (28-20) and 3A playoff contender Algona (27-16).
Baxter has a better record than CAM but is forced to go on the road because of point differential. I heard the reverse alphabet also could have been involved.
CAM is the defending Class 8-man state champion. The Cougars have won four straight games and outscored those teams 228-60. The two losses came against playoff qualifiers West Harrison (29-22) and East Mills (40-38).
The Bolts’ lone loss came in a 64-62 road defeat to Montezuma. Cody Damman was lost with 6 minutes to go in the game because of an injury.
Damman missed last week’s win over Twin Cedars, but Baxter head coach Rob Luther hopes his quarterback and 2021 all-state defensive back will return for the playoffs.
Contact Troy Hyde at firstname.lastname@example.org