2008 State Football Championship Predictions

Well, the 3 month odyssey to Championship Weekend is almost complete.  The field of over 300 hopefuls has been narrowed down to 12 contenders, fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy at the center of the Dome.  Here are my semi-informed, semi-gut predictions for the games, listed in the order in which they will be decided:

8-Player, Armstrong-Ringsted vs. Lenox, 10:35 AM Friday: The magic number is 80.  The field is 80 yards long, and the teams will probably combine for at least 80 points.  Therefore, I am going to go with the school whose BEDS enrollment is closer to 80.  I’ll take the A-R Mustangs, enrollment 75, over the Tigers of Lenox, enrollment 89.

Class A, North Tama, Traer vs. Southern Cal, Lake City, 2:00 PM Friday: Both teams plowed through the Playoffs like a city truck through a snow drift.  Southern Cal’s only loss was a 10-7 loss to Class 2A competitor Roland-Story, and they beat perennial freight train Madrid in the semifinals.  I say the So Cal Mustangs pull it off and make the short drive back to Traer feel like an eternity for the Red Hawks.

Class 4A, Valley, WDM vs. Cedar Falls, 7:05 PM Friday: This is the marquee catfight of the weekend, with The Cedar Falls Tigers from the East against “The Machine”, the Valley Tigers from the West.  CF will have a hometown advantage, but Valley is no stranger to long road trips this year, having to play at Sioux City North in the final week of the regular season.  Zach Cutkomp will end his career at Valley with one final feather in his helmet, a State Championship.

Class 1A, Emmetsburg vs. West Lyon, Inwood, 10:05 AM Saturday: Both teams faced challenges in the quarterfinals.  West Lyon swqeaked by Council Bluffs St Albert, while Emmetsburg ended the feelgood story of Aplington-Parkersburg.  With kickoff sceduled for early Saturday morning, this game could come down to who is less sleepy.  The E-Hawks have to travel half as far as the Wildcats, so I’ll take Emmetsburg.

Class 2A, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock vs. Solon, 1:00 PM Saturday: This is another game where the bus ride to the Dome could have an effect.  CL/GLR is so close to the Minnesota border, Google Maps’ best route from Little Rock to Cedar Falls sends you through Albert Lea.  That alone is reason enough for me to pick them, but when Jon Miller says “No one is beating Solon”, then I have to go with him.

Class 3A, Decorah vs. Bishop Heelan Catholic, 4:00 PM Saturday: The Bishop Heelan Crusaders made it to Championship Weekend last year, finishing 2nd to Keokuk.  Decorah’s played into November 4 times this decade, finishing 2nd in 2003.  Both teams are looking to win their school’s first State Championship since before the first Gulf War.  Heelan’s seniors won’t want to finish their careers coming up short twice in a row, and it’s that kind of drive that will put them over the top.

To all the players and coaches, best of luck this weekend.  To the fans, enjoy yourselves because you never know when you’ll get back.

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