The high school playoff field will be set after tonight’s finish to the regular season. Only district champions advance to the eight-man playoffs so there are a number of winner take all contests this evening. Ninth rated Whiting’s only playoff appearance was back in 2000 and the Warriors can head back to the post season tonight by winning the district three title. Standing in their way, though, is eighth rated and defending state champion Remsen St. Marys.
Whiting coach Bill McKelvey says they told the kids last week that they were preparing for the playoffs already. He says if they win they make the playoffs. If they lose, they turn in their pads and move on to basketball. McKelvey’s team has been slowed by injuries in past seasons. This year the Warriors are healthy and rested. He says in the middle of the season many of the varsity kids didn’t play, so he says they’re ready to go for a full game. After struggling the past few years McKelvey says everyone is excited about playing a game with this much on the line. He says he has kids who say they’re ready to go and are tired of waiting. Both teams are 7-1 overall.
Also in eight-man football, three things will be on the line when seventh rated Melcher-Dallas visits number-six Twin Cedars. First is the traveling trophy these rivals play for each season but even more important is the district eight title and a trip to the playoffs. Twin Cedars coach Matt Jones says some people call it the “Marion County eight-man championship” since they’re the only two eight man teams in the county. He says it’s a great rivalry. Jones hopes playoff experience is an advantage for his team this evening. They’ve won the district three years in a row and he says the team wants to keep the streak alive.
Prairie Valley can make school history tonight by earning its first trip to the playoffs. The Warriors host Eldora-New Providence and the winner gets the runner-up spot in district seven and a spot in the playoffs. Praire Valley’s game plan is no secret.
The Warriors have one of the state’s top passing attacks and coach Mike Swieter says they will throw it tonight. He says it started by working hard in the offseason. The game will match the Warriors passing attack against an Eldora-New Providence ground game that is tough to stop. He says if they can stop the run game then they’ll be in it. If they can’t he says they don’t have a chance.
Tiger coach Randy Tjaden says slowing Prairie Valley’s aerial attack won’t be easy as they have an outstanding quarterback and maybe the best set of receivers in class 1-A. Tjaden says this is a playoff game, as “you do or you die”.