SPIRIT LAKE - One year after their run to a runner-up finish in Class 2A, Spirit Lake Indians back in the playoffs and looking to take another run at the title.
Fifth-ranked Spirit Lake opens up play against MOC-Floyd Valley tonight, a team that is 5-4 overall, but each of those losses is to a playoff team.
The Dutch lost 13-6 to Class 3A LeMars (7-2), 34-0 to Central Lyon-George-Little Rock, 47-6 to Class 2A top-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (9-0) and 34-0 to Sheldon (7-2).
However with an 8-1 record overall, including a perfect 6-0 in district play, the Indians enter tonight's game as the favorites.
Except for a 25-10 loss to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, Spirit Lake has dominated its opponents. Forest City was the closest losing 17-0, but the Indians had three fumbles in that game. The Indians have scored at least 40 points in each of their other games.
Spirit Lake ended the season with a 52-21 victory over Estherville Lincoln Central. The Indians led 49-0 early in the second quarter when coach Josh Bolluyt then put in his reserves for the remainder of the contest.
Senior Cody Poock leads the team both offensively and defensively. On offense, he has carried the ball 89 times for 718 yards and 12 touchdowns including a 77-yard run against ELC on Friday. He also has nine catches for 215 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, he leads the team with 86 tackles, 25 of them solo tackles for a loss with six sacks.
But focusing on just one player against Spirit Lake is a recipe for disaster. Quarterback Paul Brown has thrown for 1,067 yards on 68-of-112 passing. He has 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
By comparison, the Dutch offense has only scored over 30 points twice this season including last week's 35-14 win over Sioux Center (3-6).
Quarterback Trey Achterhoff, who is 63-of-144 passing for 925 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions, leads MOC-Floyd Valley.
The winner of tonight's first-round game will play the winner of Sheldon (7-2) vs. Forest City (7-2). That game is at Sheldon.
On the top half of the bracket, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (9-0) takes on Clarion-Goldfield (6-3) at Hull; and Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (6-3) hosts Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (6-3).
Second-round games take place Monday, Oct. 29 with sites to be determined.