Pella-Asmpt Photo 1

Pella's Nick Finney (4) pushes Davenport Assumption's Elijah Williams out of bounds during last year's Class 3A state quarterfinal. Pella, which has won back-to-back state titles, starts the year No. 1 by Quad-City Times prep sports editor Matt Coss.

Brian D. Wallace, for the Times

OK, it is almost here. We're less than a week from the start of the 2016 Iowa high school football season.

The big change this year is the playoff field being condensed from 32 to 16 teams in each class. For 4A and 8-player schools, the top two in each district advance. For 3A, 2A, 1A and A the top two in each district plus two wildcard teams across the state move on.

Here is a look at Quad-City Times prep sports editor Matt Coss' preseason rankings for each of the six classes -- the top 10 and those next in line. As always, the first one is always the toughest to construct. There will be plenty of fluidity throughout the season. 

The first Associated Press state poll of the season will be released the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 29. 

Class 4A

1. Dowling Catholic (2015: 14-0, state champion)

2. West Des Moines Valley (10-3, state semifinalist)

3. Bettendorf (12-1, state semifinalist)

4. Cedar Rapids Washington (10-2, state quarterfinalist)

5. Ankeny (9-2, second round)

6. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-1, state runner-up)

7. Johnston (9-3, state quarterfinalist)

8. Waukee (8-3, second round)

9. Iowa City High (8-4, state quarterfinalist)

10. Pleasant Valley (8-3, second round)

Next five (in order):

Muscatine (6-4, first round)

Ankeny Centennial (8-3, second round)

Urbandale (6-4, first round)

Southeast Polk (6-5, second round)

Iowa City West (4-7, second round)

Class 3A

1. Pella (2015: 14-0, state champion)

2. Norwalk (12-2, state runner-up)

3. Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-1, second round)

4. Washington (7-3, first round)

5. Creston/Orient-Macksburg (6-5, second round)

6. Harlan (8-2, first round)

7. Sioux City Heelan (8-2, first round)

8. Spirit Lake (14-0, state champion in 2A)

9. West Delaware (12-1, state semifinalist)

10. Gilbert (9-2, second round)

Next five (in order):

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (11-2, state semifinalist)

Davenport Assumption (9-3, state quarterfinalist)

Dallas Center-Grimes (9-3, state quarterfinalist)

Glenwood (8-2, first round)

Carroll (7-4, second round)

Class 2A

1. Mount Vernon (2015: 11-3, state runner-up)

2. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (8-3, second round)

3. North Fayette Valley (10-3, state semifinalist)

4. Dike-New Hartford (11-2, 1A state semifinalist)

5. Albia (12-1, state semifinalist) 

6. Central Lee (9-2, second round)

7. Aplington-Parkersburg (8-3, second round)

8. Waukon (10-2, state quarterfinalist)

9. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (7-5, state quarterfinalist)

10. Anamosa (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

Next five (in order):

Hampton-Dumont (8-3, second round)

Union, LaPorte City (4-6, first round)

Williamsburg (7-4, second round)

Underwood (10-1, 1A second round)

PCM, Monroe (7-3, first round)

Class 1A

1. Iowa City Regina (2015: 13-1, state champion)

2. Western Christian (11-3, state runner-up)

3. West Branch (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

4. Hinton (10-2, state quarterfinalist)

5. Denver (11-2, Class A state semifinalist)

6. Pella Christian (7-4, second round)

7. West Lyon (6-4, first round)

8. Van Meter (11-2, state semifinalist)

9. Logan-Magnolia (9-2, Class A second round)

10. Jesup (6-4, first round)

Next five (in order):

Maquoketa Valley (7-3, first round)

South Winneshiek (8-3, second round)

Madrid (8-3, second round)

Wilton (5-5, first round)

Sigourney-Keota (6-4, first round)

Class A

1. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (12-2, state champion)

2. Akron-Westfield (11-3, state runner-up)

3. Saint Ansgar (10-2, state quarterfinalist)

4. Algona Garrigan (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

5. West Sioux (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

6. Lawton-Bronson (7-4, second round)

7. Ridge View (8-3, second round)

8. Hudson (8-3, 1A second round)

9. West Hancock (7-3, first round)

10. BGM, Brooklyn (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

Next five (in order):

Montezuma (7-4, second round)

Council Bluffs St. Albert (6-4, first round)

Lisbon (8-3, second round)

Alburnett (7-3, first round)

Grundy Center (6-5, second round)

8-player

1. Don Bosco (11-1, state runner-up)

2. Fremont-Mills (9-2, second round)

3. Audubon (8-2, Class A first round)

4. Central Elkader (11-1, state quarterfinalist)

5. Glidden-Ralston (11-1, state semifinalist)

6. Newell-Fonda (12-1, state semifinalist)

7. Lone Tree (6-4, Class A first round)

8. Ar-We-Va, Westside (8-3, second round)

9. Lenox (10-1, second round)

10. Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton (8-2, first round)

Next five (in order):

Midland (6-4, first round)

Janesville (9-1, second round)

Coon Rapids-Bayard (6-4, first round)

AGWSR (4-6, Class A first round)

East Mills (9-3, state quarterfinalist)

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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.