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Looking Ahead

By Staff | Jan 26, 2012

The wait is over now the pre-season wondering can begin in earnest. The new football districts for the 2012 and 2013 football seasons in Iowa High School Athletics have been released, and there should be changes enough for every football fanatic.

Under the system set up by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, district football request a realignment of each district in each of the six classes every two years. The alignments are based on the BEDS document, or student enrollment, in grades 9-11, of each high school in the state, reported in October of each school year.

Over time, there have been lots of changes to districts, as schools have closed, merged or gone into sharing programs. This year is no exception to the rule. Many smaller schools in Class A this past season lost student enrollment and ended up moving into the Eight-Man Class. In some cases, through sharing arrangements, schools that played the Eight-man game are finding themselves in a whole new class.

Such is the case for Armstrong-Ringsted, as they move into whole-grade sharing with North Sentral Kossuth to become NSKAR. Combining the programs vaulted the two former eight-man squads into the realm of Class 1A, and now, for the next two years, NSKAR will become a foe of the Emmetsburg E-Hawks.

The E-Hawks will remain one of the stalwarts in Class 1A District One, along with old nemesis Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn. Also coming into the 1A District One mix this season will be Okoboji of Milford, after foregoing a varsity season in 2011 due to a lack of numbers. A playoff opponent, South O’Brien, joins the district this year along with a pair of newcomers, Gehlen Catholic of LeMars and Western Christian of Hull.

In Class 1A, a lack of schools at that enrollment level prompted the IHSAA to develop seven-team districts, rather than the traditional eight team districts. The same plan was also used in Classes 2A and 3A as well. With a seven-team district, each team would have a bye week in an eight-week season, so the IHSAA has assigned Bye-week opponents. For its Bye-week opponent, Emmetsburg will play the Cougars of Manson Northwest Webster out of Class 1A District Two.

For the record, District Two will be comprised of IKM-Manning, Manson Northwest Webster, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer, Ridge View, Sioux Central and St. Edmonds of Fort Dodge. For the playoff series, District One will play against teams from District Two in the first two rounds of post-season play.

Looking at the Eight-Man game, our local schools will remain fixtures in District Two. West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate will be joined by the new joint team of Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, as well as Laurens-Marathon, Newell-Fonda, North Iowa-Buffalo Center, Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne, CAL-Latimer and Northeast Hamilton-Blairsburg.

Eight-Man District One teams will include Clay Central-Everly, Harris-Lake Park, Kingsley-Pierson, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, Remsen-Union, Remsen-St. Mary’s, River Valley-Correctionville and Whiting. Just like in the larger classes, playoff games for the first two contests will be played with adjoining districts, i.e. District One vs District Two.

Looking at Emmetsburg’s district, the travel looks to be about the same instead of trips to West Lyon and Sibley-Ocheyedan, the long trips are to LeMars Gehlen and Western Christian in Hull.

For WBM/GCB and GT/RA, it’s a little different this year there will be a couple of long hauls, to Northeast Hamilton-Blairsburg and CAL-Latimer will stretch the fuel mileage, but things could be worse.

A fellow writer in southeastern Iowa has determined his closest road game will entail travel of 90 miles one way.

With eight or so inches of snow on the ground, it’s a little tough to think about football, but then again, it isn’t too early to start thinking about those Fall evenings under the lights on Friday night. by Dan Voigt