The countdown is on in the race for berths in the high school football playoffs.
With three weeks left in the regular season - only two for eight-man teams - dozen of schools still have hopes of advancing to postseason play. Many will be eliminated from playoff contention after Friday night's games and a handful might clinch berths.
Sixteen teams make the playoffs in each of the five classes, with four advancing in the eight-man competition.
The eight-man pairings will be released Oct. 19, the others on Oct. 26.
In Class 4A, any team with a 7-2 record can expect to get in. Seven teams could earn that seventh victory this week: West Des Moines Dowling, Newton, Iowa City High, Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Falls and Ottumwa.
Bettendorf and Newton had the biggest challenges on Friday, Bettendorf took on Davenport Assumption and Newton faced West Des Moines Valley. Assumption and Valley both are 5-1.
Emmetsburg, the defending 2A champion, is on the verge of making the playoffs for the 27th time. The E-Hawks will get the berth from District 2 if they beat Prairie Valley and Battle Creek-Ida Grove loses to West Hancock.
Defending champions Hubbard-Radcliffe in A and Clear Lake in 3A also are in good shape for playoff berths. Both teams are presently unbeaten.
Southern Calhoun, last year's 1A champion, probably has to win out to stay in contention for an at-large berth after losing to Algona Garrigan last week.
Dowling is the defending Class 4A champion. The Maroons and Clear Lake share the state's longest winning streak at 19. Dowling would match Emmetsburg with a 27th playoff appearance.