CEDAR RAPIDS — The east is the best. Wait a minute, that doesn’t rhyme.
The east is a beast. There you go.
However it’s phrased and analyzed, the power in boys’ soccer this season seems to begin and end on this side of the state. More specifically, with the Mississippi Valley Conference.
“Nope, never seen it like this, and this is my 12th year,” said Cedar Rapids Washington Coach J.P. Graham.
“This” is six of the top seven ranked teams in Class 3A coming from the MVC, including Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Iowa City High and Iowa City West (numbers one through three). Washington checks in at fifth, followed by Cedar Rapids Prairie and Linn-Mar.
Cedar Rapids Xavier is the top-ranked 2A team, with Dubuque Wahlert No. 3.
“I’m sure Des Moines has had something like that in previous rankings over the years,” said Kennedy co-coach Steve Robertson. “As coaches, we know our conference is always very strong. We just haven’t been able to play the headline teams from Des Moines. This year, we have, and we’ve beaten them.”
Kennedy, Washington and West all have beaten perennial power West Des Moines Valley. Kennedy also has a win over Norwalk, Prairie over Urbandale and Johnston.
MVC clubs have regularly beaten their eastern counterparts from the Mississippi Athletic Conference, too.
“I think you’ve seen the power in club soccer coming from this side of the state as well,” said Robertson, whose team is 10-0 and allowed just four goals. “That obviously carries over to high school. The bottom line is you have to play your best game in this conference, or you’re going to take a loss.”
West always is a state championship contender and has a 9-1 record. The lone loss came in the season opener to Washington (9-2), which has lost to Prairie, 3-2, and Kennedy, 1-0.
Prairie won its first seven games for its first-ever No. 1 ranking a couple of weeks ago. The Hawks are now 9-3, the same record as Linn-Mar.
Wahlert is ranked third in 2A despite a 3-6 record, Xavier first despite being 6-3. All three Saints losses have come by a goal: to City High, West and Washington.
City High’s lone stumble was 2-1 to Kennedy. Did you get all that?
Substate pairings will be released next week by the IHSAA, and it will be real interesting to see who is matched with whom.
“I don’t know,” Graham said. “This has just been pretty crazy.”