HTC in a tough volleyball regional draw with WACO and Burlington Notre Dame.
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Iowa High School Athletic Union released the first round of “pod” tournament play Saturday and Fort Madison will take on Knoxville (1-6).
Knoxville plays in District 7 and the Panthers only win of the year came in a 27-26 win over Keokuk. They also played Fairfield in a non-district game and lost 15-5 to open the year.
The Varsity Bound database used for statistics and records crashed for about 45 minutes immediately upon release of the pairings, but Fort Madison Head Coach Derek Doherty said any team that beats Keokuk is a good football team.
“We’re really excited for the opportunity obviously, but with everything crashing the anxiety goes through the roof. You want to go work, but you can’t get to work with that tool,” he said.
“We watched the Keokuk and Fairfield films, but that was for a different purpose, so we’ll go back to those.”
Doherty said he was surprised at the pairing with all indications that the state saying geography would be a priority in the pairings.
“I must not have paid to good of attention in geography in high school if that was the focal point. But honestly, it’s nice to get out of the district and see something outside the normal I guess.”
He said it will be business as usual for the Hounds this week.
“Our coaching staff is already messaging in our group chats and I’m putting together the scouting stuff. We’ll meet on Monday with our guys and continue on.”
Also in Fort Madison’s “pod” is Newton (1-6) vs. Grinnell (5-2), both out of District 6. The winners of those two games will face each other next Friday at a site to be determined. Grinnell (5-2) roughed up the Cardinals 57-13 in week 3. The Tigers two losses were to No. 4 (Class 3A) Harlan 40-28 to open the season, and to No. 1 (Class 3A) Cedar Rapids Xavier 80-32 two weeks ago.
Washington received a bye in Pod 10 for winning District 5. They will face the winner of Fairfield and Keokuk. Burlington will tangle with North Scott of District 4, about 90 minutes away. Mt. Pleasant will face Benton Community out of District 6.
Central Lee will take on Mid-Prairie in Wellman. The Eagles downed West Burlington 35-12 on Friday and defeated the Hawks 49-0 in Week 3 in Class 2A District 7 play. The winner will face the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont vs. Tipton winner in Pod 12.
In Volleyball, the 6th-ranked (Class 1A) Holy Trinity Catholic Crusaders got the only bye in the Region 8 play. They will host the winner of the Oct. 19, match between Highland and Lone Tree at Shottenkirk Gym on Oct 21 at 7 p.m.
That Region is loaded with the likes of No. 13 WACO and Burlington Notre Dame. No. 10 New London (14-6) was moved to Region 5 for 2020.
The top side semifinal will also be hosted at Holy Trinity on Oct. 26. Other teams in the top half include Winfield Mt. Union/Hillcrest Academy, and Burlington Notre Dame/Wapello.
On the bottom side of the bracket is Lisbon/Keota, English Valleys/Tri-County, WACO/Sigourney, and Twin Cedars/North Mahaska. All regional games are at 7 p.m. with the regional championship set for Oct. 28.
In Class 4A, first round play opens on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. Fort Madison will tangle with Mt. Pleasant at the Hound Dome with the winner facing Burlington, who got a bye, at Burlington on Oct. 22.
The top side of that bracket includes Fairfield and Keokuk at Fairfield, with the winner taking on North Scott at North Scott. That regions substate match will be played at site to be determined on Oct. 27.