Pleasant Valley quarterback Terry Saul follows his blockers on a keeper against Bettendorf earlier this season. Saul did not play last week versus Davenport West, but is expected to go this Friday against North Scott.

It might only be Week 7 on the calendar for the high school football season, but it is make-or-break time for several Iowa Quad-City metro schools when it comes to their playoff aspirations.

In particular, Muscatine faces a critical test Friday night at fifth-ranked Iowa City High. Already saddled with a district loss to Bettendorf, the Muskies virtually need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Also at Spartan Stadium, North Scott and Pleasant Valley, both 1-1 in district play, need a victory to stay among the top two in Class 4A District 6.

Assumption, meanwhile, makes its longest trip of the season to Center Point-Urbana. While many point to next week's game against Clear Creek Amana as deciding Assumption's playoff fate, the Knights need to win Friday for that game to have significant meaning.

Here is a deeper look at the Week 7 games ...

Thursday’s game

Clinton (3-3, 0-2) at Davenport Central (3-3, 1-1)

When: Approx. 7:15 p.m. kickoff

Where: Brady Street Stadium, Davenport

Twitter: @mattcoss78

BCMoore’s take: Clinton by 32

Last season: Clinton 44, Central 28

Thoughts: This will be the first and only time the River Kings play on Thursday night this season. After back-to-back district losses to fifth-ranked Iowa City High and sixth-ranked Bettendorf, Clinton has to win its remaining three games and get considerable help to have any shot at qualifying for the playoffs. Quarterback Johnny Sullivan passed for 283 yards in last week’s 36-16 setback to Bettendorf, meaning he’s less than 170 yards from 2,000 for the second consecutive season. He’s thrown 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. The 16 points were a season low last week for the River Kings, who average 37.5 points per contest. Brady Brunson and Trevor Barry lead the defense with more than 50 tackles each. … Central fell to City High at home last Friday, 49-20. The Blue Devils still control their playoff destiny, but will need to beat Clinton, Muscatine and Bettendorf in the final three weeks. Kobe Williams has rushed for a team-high 555 yards while Nate Tyson has hauled in 11 passes for 247 yards. Miles Stoakes and Isaiah Litt pace Central with 33 and 29 tackles, respectively. In each of its three losses, Central has given up at least 150 yards passing.

Friday’s games

North Scott (2-4, 1-1) at Pleasant Valley (2-4, 1-1)

When: Approx. 7:15 p.m. kickoff

Where: Spartan Stadium, Bettendorf

Twitter: @mattcoss78

BCMoore’s take: PV by 17

Last season: PV 14, North Scott 7

Thoughts: Class 4A District 6 has turned into a free-for-all. Dubuque Senior leads at 2-0 and four other teams are 1-1, including these two old MAC rivals. Even though both schools still have Dubuque Senior to play, the loser of this game ls in a precarious position to make the postseason with only the top two in the district advancing. North Scott and PV both have made eight consecutive playoff appearances. The Lancers are coming off a 20-17 home win against Western Dubuque, a team PV lost to on the road 22-18 the week before. North Scott coach Kevin Tippet called last week’s game the best four-quarter performance from his team this season. Junior tailback Jared Rus surpassed 100 yards for the fourth consecutive game. Since taking over as North Scott’s full-time QB in Week 3, Sam Stonskas has thrown six touchdowns versus one pick and passed for 679 yards. He’s also had two 100-yard plus rushing games. PV snapped a four-game losing streak last Friday with a 48-14 rout over Davenport West. CJ Carter had 179 yards rushing and five scores. It was more points than PV had scored in the previous three games combined. Terry Saul did not play last week because of injury, but coach Rusty VanWetzinga said afterward it was out of precaution and expects him to play Friday.

Muscatine (4-2, 1-1) at No. 5 Iowa City High (5-1, 2-0)

When: Approx. 7:15 p.m. kickoff

Where: Bates Field, Iowa City

Twitter: @akwyder

BCMoore’s take: City High by 3

Last season: City High 42, Muscatine 41

Thoughts: The last two meetings between these teams have been high-scoring affairs — Muscatine won 49-42 in 2014 and City High prevailed 42-41 last year. Muskie all-state tailback Alphonso Soko had 237 yards rushing and four scores in last year’s meeting. City High back Bryce Frantz countered with 186 yards on the ground. This is a make-or-break game for Muscatine’s playoff hopes. The Muskies are coming off a 52-7 rout against Davenport North, a game in which they had two interceptions returned for scores and a Soko punt return for a touchdown. Muscatine hasn’t had more than 315 yards of offense in a game since the 27-13 win against PV in Week 3. Soko has rushed for 823 yards and 10 scores while Drew Greenhaw has 36 grabs for 537 yards and six scores. Greenhaw and David Summers are the team’s top tacklers while Nate Holliday has six tackles for loss. City High lost to Ames in overtime in Week 3, but has responded with three double-digit wins against Iowa City West, Clinton and Central. QB Nate Wieland, a Northern Illinois recruit, has passed for 945 yards and rushed for 456. Frantz has a dozen rushing scores on the season, and the defense has picked off nine passes. Zach Jones, Vance Dillon and Naeem Smith are three receivers Muscatine’s defense will need be wary of. They all have above average speed.

Davenport North (1-5, 0-2) at No. 6 Bettendorf (4-2, 2-0)

When: Approx. 7:15 pm. kickoff

Where: TouVelle Stadium, Bettendorf

Twitter: @QCVarsity

BCMoore’s take: Bettendorf by 67

Last season: Bettendorf 42, North 13 (first round of playoffs)

Thoughts: The Bulldogs have won three in a row and are expected to make it four before a showdown at Iowa City High next week, a game that could determine the district champion. Bettendorf has found traction in the running game the past three weeks, rushing for 290 yards versus PV, 424 against Muscatine and 344 last week at Clinton. The Bulldogs have had a 200-yard plus rusher in each of those games — Keegan Glaus (twice) and JMichael Young. Even though Bettendorf gave up 16 points last week, it yielded only one defensive touchdown. The Bulldogs gave up a 97-yard kickoff return for a score and one field goal. Senior Tucker Schoenfelder had three tackles for loss last week. … North has been held to seven points the past two games after recording a 21-13 win against Davenport West. Junior quarterback Rudy Juarez has thrown for 717 yards and six scores, but is completing just more than 41 percent of his throws. Zeke Hayslett paces the ground game with 577 yards. Robert Bladel leads North in receptions (25) and interceptions (2). This is North’s final road game before closing at home against Clinton and Iowa City High.

Dubuque Hempstead (3-3, 1-1) at Davenport West (0-6, 0-2)

When: Approx. 7:15 p.m. kickoff

Where: Brady Street Stadium, Davenport

Twitter: @dox5

BCMoore’s take: Hempstead by 24

Last season: Hempstead 27, West 14

Thoughts: The Mustangs staved off North Scott in the district opener 27-24, but lost to city-rival Dubuque Senior 21-0 last Friday. Hempstead mustered only 133 total yards in that contest. Besides North Scott, Hempstead has wins over Davenport North (42-20) and Waterloo East (39-19). Quarterback Marshon Crowder and back Jonny Miller lead Hempstead in rushing with 457 and 325 yards, respectively. The Mustangs, under first-year head coach Mike Hoskins, have thrown only 44 passes in six games (7.2 per outing). A win here keeps Hempstead in the hunt for one of the top two spots in the district, with games looming against Pleasant Valley and Western Dubuque. … West has scored between 13 and 19 points in five of its six games. Dot Combs had 30 carries for 203 yards and a score last week. The senior is the Iowa metro’s leading rusher with 972 yards and 10 scores for the season. Jacob Milem has passed for 954 yards to complement Combs. After holding Central, Burlington and North under 30 points, West has surrendered 104 points the past two games. The Falcons are trying to snap a 12-game losing streak, longest in the Iowa metro.

Assumption (4-2, 3-1) at Center Point-Urbana (2-4, 1-3)

When: Approx. 7:15 p.m. kickoff

Where: Rogers Field, Center Point, Iowa

BCMoore’s take: Assumption by 28

Last season: Did not play

Thoughts: The Knights have been impressive since the loss to West Delaware in Week 3. They've beat Central DeWitt, Dubuque Wahlert and Maquoketa by a 138-24 margin. Tailback Justus Burke has 787 yards rushing for the year and Jayce Levy has completed 61 percent of his passes for 529 yards passing and another 518 on the ground. Levy had 180 of his 190 rushing yards in the first half of last week's game against Maquoketa. Donaven Juarez and Pete Laubenthal have been big components of Assumption's defense. They are the team's top two tacklers and have accounted for 17 tackles for loss (8 sacks) and three of the Knights' five fumble recoveries. Center Point-Urbana has dropped three straight -- West Delaware (48-15), Clear Creek Amana (26-0) and Marion (28-26). Quarterback Zach Thurm has yet to throw an interception and passed for 571 yards. JoJo Frost, a Class 3A state hurdles champion, has caught 16 passes for 225 yards and has two interceptions on defense.


BCMoore’s record: Week 6 (5-1); Overall (30-8)


Peeking ahead

Week 8

Clear Creek Amana at Assumption (Thursday)

Bettendorf at Iowa City High

Clinton at Davenport North

Davenport Central at Muscatine

Davenport West at Western Dubuque

Dubuque Senior at North Scott

Pleasant Valley at Dubuque Hempstead


Sports Editor

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.