Entering Week 4 of the regular season, high school football teams throughout the state will continue to see their margin for error dwindle each Friday night.
With the opener of district action now in the rear-view mirror, the playoff picture is quickly beginning to take shape.
Webster City travels to Iowa Falls-Alden this evening in a Class 3A, District 3 matchup.
Riding a two-game win streak, Manson Northwest Webster welcomes 10th-ranked (Class 1A) IKM-Manning.
Upstart Southeast Webster-Grand hits the road to face Prairie Valley.
Aiming to stay unbeaten, Laurens-Marathon visits Corwith-CWL.
Here's a closer look at tonight's pivotal contests from around the area:
WEBSTER CITY (2-1, 1-0) at IOWA FALLS-ALDEN (2-1, 1-0)
After narrowly escaping with a 28-21 comeback victory at Charles City in their district opener, the Lynx appear to have plenty of momentum on their side.
Juniors Connor Larson and Alex Oswald are the top threats in the Webster City offensive charge, which averages 27.6 points and 322.3 yards per game. Larson has accounted for 297 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries, while Oswald has registered 215 yards and reached paydirt three times on 40 attempts.
Oswald has also thrown for 188 yards, including four scores and one interception. Ben Mossman (5 catches, 88 yards, 2 TD) and Boone Myers (5-71-1) are the leading receivers for the Lynx.
Defensively, Webster City has forced six turnovers - four fumble recoveries and two picks.
Last Friday, the Cadets prevailed against Humboldt by a 26-7 count.
Nate Bahr (27 totes, 221 yards, 3 TD) and Brandon Norman (36-173-1) form a dynamic 1-2 backfield punch for Iowa Falls-Alden, which compiles 31.3 points and 385.7 yards a night.
Norman has gone 29-for-41 through the air as well for 435 yards and three scores. PJ Norem has been his favorite target with five grabs for 125 yards.
In their meeting a year ago, the Lynx hammered the Cadets by a 69-28 final.
IKM-MANNING (3-0, 0-0) at MANSON NORTHWEST WEBSTER (2-1, 1-0)
Fresh off a tight 34-28 triumph over 1A, District 2 foe Ridge View, the Cougars will be hard-pressed to pull off the upset bid.
MNW Signal-caller Alex Bush, a 185-pound sophomore, has completed 30 of 52 passing attempts for 452 yards with five endzone strikes and three interceptions. Brody Eischeid has been the go-to receiver for the Cougars with 15 grabs for 211 yards and a score.
Brennan Thompson, a senior, anchors the MNW ground attack with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries.
Thompson (32) and classmate Drake Harman (30) spearhead the Cougar defensive unit in tackles. MNW has forced 10 takeaways - six picks and four fumble recoveries.
The Wolves, who produce 33 points and over 383 yards of offense per game, drubbed Tri-Center a week ago, 49-27.
Sam Wegner (36-198-1), Devontay Hocken (40-193-2) and Cody Eischeid (25-184-4) have all shined at different points out of the reliable IKM-Manning backfield.
Quarterback Scott Opperman is 13-for-20 through the air for 284 yards and four scores.
Last fall, Manson Northwest Webster knocked off the Wolves, 21-14.
SOUTHEAST WEBSTER-GRAND (2-1, 0-1) at PRAIRIE VALLEY (2-1, 1-0)
On the heels of a 34-7 setback to Lake Mills in their Class A, District 2 opener, the Eagles will have their resiliency put to the test.
Tyson Comstock, a 180-pound senior, has been the offensive workhorse for Southeast Webster-Grand with 353 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 63 attempts.
Senior Austin Glaspey has also contributed 189 yards and a score on 36 carries, while classmate Lucas Burns has netted 156 yards and found paydirt once on 32 totes.
Defensively, the Eagles - who snapped the state's longest active losing streak at 53 straight games in Week 0 - are paced by Trey Kahl-Long (30 tackles).
The Warriors downed Bishop Garrigan last Friday, 17-6. Senior Mason Gordon (59-267-3) and junior Austin Promes (36-208-2) have been consistent performers in the Warrior ground barrage.
Matt Streit (29) and Clayton Taylor (28) lead Prairie Valley in stops.
LAURENS-MARATHON (3-0, 1-0) at CORWITH-CWL (2-2, 1-0)
In Week 3, the Chargers crushed 8-Man, District 2 counterpart Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, 36-8. Seniors Collin Lind (63-256-7) and Matt Cleveland (56-245-4) have been the backfield stars for L-M, which is generating 36.7 points and 291 yards per game.
Cleveland has also passed for 238 yards and four touchdowns.
Lind has accumulated a team-high 27 tackles and a pick.
Preston Jensen, a Panther senior, ranks ninth among all 8-Man rushers in the state, notching 554 yards and seven scores on 78 totes.
Corwith-CWL quarterback Sam Ludwig is 18-for-28 passing for 208 yards and a pair of paydirt strikes. Josh Hilbert is the top receiver for the Panthers with seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Hilbert anchors the Corwith-CWL defensive unit as well with 38 tackles, including nine for loss.
Last Friday, the Panthers whipped CAL, 54-0. Corwith-CWL has already doubled last season's win total and matched its 2010 victory mark.
Other area games tonight: Humboldt (0-3, 0-1) at Algona (2-1, 1-0); Clarion-Goldfield (3-0, 1-0) at Estherville-Lincoln Central (1-2, 1-0); Forest City (2-1, 0-1) at East Sac County (0-3, 0-1); No. 5 (2A) Carroll Kuemper (3-0) at South Central Calhoun (2-1); Red Oak (0-3, 0-1) at Greene County (0-3, 0-1); North Union (1-2, 0-1) at Western Christian (0-3, 0-0); Okoboji (0-3, 0-1) at No. 6 (1A) Emmetsburg (2-1, 1-0); Eagle Grove (0-3, 0-1) at No. 5 (1A) Dike-New Hartford (3-0, 1-0); Bishop Garrigan (1-2, 0-1) at AGWSR (3-1, 0-1); Northeast Hamilton (1-2, 0-1) at No. 2 (8-Man) Newell-Fonda (3-0, 1-0); West Bend-Mallard (2-2, 1-0) at Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (0-3, 0-1).