Postseason run provided refreshing drama
With the Iowa high school sporting year finally coming to close, summer grants us a miniscule increment of time to think about the year that was before another one begins.
The 2013-14 sports year on the football field in particular provided plenty of entertainment, but come playoff time, an alarming trend began which would continue throughout the school year in Iowa. The majority of postseason games were blowouts in Iowa sports. Fairfield baseball’s postseason run went against this trend, which made the Trojans’ state berth all the more intriguing.
The Trojans reached the Class 3A state football playoffs. In football, 32 teams make the postseason in each class. Of the 16 first round games in Class 3A, only five finished with a point differential of seven or less. The majority were blowouts. You might think there would be more competitive games as the postseason progressed and matchups got better, but that wasn’t the case. Out of the six state championship games, only two of the games were remotely close. Class 2A saw Kuemper Catholic, Carroll win by three points and Don Bosco, Gilbertville won the eight-man football title 18-14, which is almost an anomaly by itself because normally both teams get at least 25 points each in eight-man football games.
Where was the drama? Isn’t the state championship game supposed to be between the two best teams, therefore the games should be better? Even in basketball, each boy’s state title game finished with a score differential of 10 or more. Postseason games along the way turned out to more often than not be just as lopsided.
There obviously are exceptions to every rule. Pekin played Van Buren in the postseason in softball and boys’ basketball, and both of those games were unforgettable. However, Fairfield baseball did its best to rescue this trend before it was too late, and provided a trio of incredible baseball games to finish the season.
Fairfield captured dramatic wins over Oskaloosa (5-4) and Centerville (2-1) before falling to Dallas Center-Grimes (3-0) in the state quarterfinal round. The Trojans proved their No. 5 ranking was not a fluke, and had maybe the best season in Fairfield baseball history. The run ended the school year in style, gave many Fairfield athletes postseason experience and could provide a springboard for the Trojans entering the fall sports season.
As good as Fairfield’s game against Dallas Center-Grimes was, the 3-0 score actually was the largest point differential of any Class 3A state game in the first round. Maybe it’s the sport of baseball that provides drama, and it’s not that the quality of competition has improved. Either way, it was dejecting to see Fairfield’s run end and baseball come to a close.
I offer zero reasons for why so many games, especially during football season, aren’t close. Teams only play other teams comparable to themselves. It’s fascinating and disheartening at the same time.
I can’t wait for fall sports, in particular football, to resume once again, but as a writer and a fan, I’m hoping a little more drama comes with the changing of the seasons.
Allyus Fritz is the Fairfield Ledger sports editor.