Mid-Prairie head football coach Pete Cavanagh had been hoping for this.
The Golden Hawks finished second to No. 2-ranked Williamsburg in District 7 in Class 2A. Their 35-12 victory over West Burlington/Notre Dame this past Friday was the Golden Hawks’ third win in the district this season.
Mid-Prairie’s reward is a home game in Friday’s opening round of the Class 2A playoffs against a team it has already defeated by 49 points in a rainy game earlier this season. The Golden Hawks play host to Central Lee on Friday night at 7.
Central Lee has lost all seven games this season, including 59-0 to Williamsburg this past Friday.
“Happy to be playing at home,” Cavanagh told The News. “Central Lee will be better than the first time we played them in the pouring rain.”
Also in action Friday night are Lone Tree, which travels to Winfield-Mt. Union in the 8-player division, and Highland, which is at Alburnett in Class A.
The COVID-19 pandemic produced a revised regular season schedule and playoff format by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. All teams in all classes are in the playoffs, making Friday night’s competition little different than any other Friday night except for the fact that the losers are done for the year. Maybe.
Teams that lost additional games to the pandemic may still schedule additional games with other playoff losers following this week.
The playoff format has teams divided into three- or four-team pods for the first two rounds. In pods with four teams, all will play Friday night. In three-team pods, one team receives a bye, as Williamsburg did, with two teams left to play Friday and the winner taking on the top team in its pod on Oct. 23.
After the first two rounds of play, leaving one team per pod, the pods will be drawn for the third round of play on Oct. 30.
Mid-Prairie (3-3) would play Tipton (2-3) or Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (3-3) next week if it defeats Central Lee this week. Three of the teams in the pod are also in District 7. The Golden Hawks defeated E-B-F 55-0 one week after they shut out Central Lee.
Highland, which won its only game of the season on Sept. 25 against North Cedar, begins the playoffs at Alburnett. If the Huskies win, they would play Belle Plaine or Lynnville-Sully next week. Belle Plaine, a strong Class A team, knocked off Mid-Prairie two weeks ago.
Alburnett (4-2) has won its last three games, including 21-14 last Friday against North Linn.
Lone Tree, which lost to unbeaten and sixth-ranked Montezuma this past Friday, is attempting to get back into position and face Montezuma again. The Lions play at Winfield-Mt. Union (4-3). A victory would send them to Montezuma on Oct. 23. The Lions lost to Montezuma, 62-24, on Friday.