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Davenport Central's Jatoviay Hill, left, celebrates a touchdown with J.J. Andrews earlier this season. The Blue Devils can celebrate a playoff berth with a win over Muscatine on Friday night. 

Jeff Cook, QUAD-CITY TIMES

Win ... and you're in

For three Iowa Quad-City metro programs, they can assure themselves a spot in the Class 4A playoffs with a victory Friday night. 

Bettendorf (6-1), North Scott (6-1) and Davenport Central (5-2) will be in the statewide field of 16 with victories. 

If Bettendorf beats Iowa City High and Central knocks off Muscatine, they'll clash for the district title and a home playoff game next Friday at Brady Street Stadium.

The Bulldogs are vying for a 20th straight playoff trip. Central hasn't been in postseason since 2014 (32-team field). 

"This is the next step for our program," Central coach Ben Sacco said. "We've been building each week, but we need to take care of business again this week."

If Muscatine were to clip Central, the Blue Devils would have to upset the Bulldogs in Week 9 to have any postseason chance.

North Scott, which travels to Dubuque Senior, is aiming for a 10th straight playoff appearance. The Lancers close with Davenport West in Week 9. 

Don't fall for the trap

Assumption and Pleasant Valley are still very much in the hunt for playoff berths. 

The Knights travel to Clear Creek Amana (2-5) this week before welcoming Marion (5-2) next Thursday, a game that could determine the second playoff team out of Class 3A District 4. 

Coach Wade King's club has had tunnel vision the past four weeks and will need to do so again Friday to avoid slipping against a CCA squad that has been outscored 70-6 the past two weeks.

PV, coming off a 23-14 loss at North Scott, faces Dubuque Hempstead (3-4) on Senior Night. The Spartans are heavy favorites given the Mustangs have lost their four games to teams with winning records by 14 or more points.

If the Spartans prevail, it could set up a Week 9 showdown at Dubuque Senior where the winner advances to the playoffs and the loser is out. 

"At this point, our margin for error is gone," PV coach Rusty VanWetzinga said. "No way around it, we need to win these next two ballgames."

Moline-Alleman to decide title

Alleman coach Todd Depoorter said his biggest concern about Friday's game against Moline is the Maroons' explosiveness. 

Moline knows it has to be concerned with Alleman’s explosiveness. After all, how many teams have a QB with 768 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns as Alleman does with Sam Mattecheck?

“We have to limit his rushing yards, him getting around to the outside,” said Maroon defensive tackle/end Tommy Parrish. “We just have to keep our positioning on defense. If the play looks like it’s going one way, you don’t want to follow it because he could be keeping it instead of handing it off. So we have to be where we are supposed to be.”

Moline coach Mike Morrissey wants to make sure his team takes care of the little things.

Depoorter is greatly concerned with Moline’s passing and running attack. QB Eric Maffie has thrown for six TDs. Running back Eddie Doran, like Mattecheck, averages more than 7 yards per carry. RB Aboubacar Barry returned a kickoff for a TD last week and has rushed for 588 yards himself.

“The biggest key of the game for us defensively is we limit those big plays,” he said, “and make them grind it out and use some clock and see what happens.”

Another play-in game for Rocks

Rock Island coach Ben Hammer is treating the last three games of the season, including Friday night’s game at Galesburg High School, like play-in games.

The Rocks (3-4, 1-3) beat United Township last week 44-14 to keep their playoff hopes alive. They must win out to finish 5-4 and have a chance at reaching the playoffs.

Galesburg (3-4, 1-3) is in the same dilemma.

Hammer, of course, is concerned with Galesburg's rushing attack. 

“They’ve been a little banged up,” Hammer said. “They got a great athlete in No. 2 (Ramirez). Defensively, they are extremely sound. They are always going to be lined up correctly, and they're physical, too.”

The Rocks got a huge lift from QB/kicker/punter Nickolas Roessler, who scored three touchdowns in last week's win.

“He came in and provided a spark for us,” Hammer said, refusing to reveal the starter against the Streaks.

Hammer said RB/LB DeAngelo Horne will return from injury this week. He hasn't played since Week 1.

Upset again?

West Liberty pulled off a huge upset last week, beating previous Class 2A No. 1 Williamsburg 14-9. Now, the Comets get another challenge with No. 2 Mount Vernon. A win, and the Comets would make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, but if they lose, they would need to beat Camanche next week and have Mount Vernon beat Williamsburg to get in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Illinois' Northwest Upstate Illini Northwest Conference, the West Carroll Thunder will try to clinch a playoff spot with a win over Class 1A No. 3 Forreston. The Thunder have played tight with some premier teams in the state, including a win over Eastland-Pearl City last week that head coach Matt Leitzen called one of the biggest in school history. The Thunder are likely in the playoffs with five wins but can secure themselves a berth with either a win this week or next week over 2-5 East Dubuque.

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.