IHSAA releases football districts
Football district assignments were released yesterday by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and much of the schedule will look the same for Henry County teams.
Mt. Pleasant, part of Class 3A District 5, will again be playing against Washington, Fairfield, Keokuk and Ft. Madison.
The five Southeast Conference teams were in Class 3A District 7 for the last two years after being split up the two years before that — which prevented Mt. Pleasant from playing its biggest rivalry game, against Washington.
This past season, Mt. Pleasant’s game against Washington wasn’t much of a contest, as the Demons — who finished the season as the runners up in Class 3A — routed the winless Panthers, 51-7.
But a lopsided score can’t erase years of fierce rivalry, and the game is certainly one the Panthers want to see on their schedule.
“What it comes down to is that the Washington game is one that the kids want to play and the fans want to see — it’s a rivalry that needs to be in place,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Shawn Striegel said. “It’s good to see that all the conference schools are together.”
The district also includes Davenport Assumption and Clear Creek-Amana for the next two seasons.
“It’s pretty much what we expected it to be,” Striegel said. “Assumption coming down adds a lot of talent to the district.”
Assumption went 9-2 in Class 4A last year, but drops down to 3A this season.
“We thought we might get both former 4A schools,” Striegel said, referring to Assumption and to Cedar Rapids Xavier, which went 12-2 in 4A and will be playing in Class 3A District 4 this season.
Centerville and Williamsburg, which were in Mt. Pleasant’s district the last two years, dropped down to Class 2A.
In Class A, New London, WACO and Winfield-Mt. Union will play in District 6, against most of the same teams from the last two years: Danville, Lone Tree and Van Buren.
New teams in the district are Pekin and Cardinal.
“I’m not surprised by it,” W-MU Coach Scott McCarty said. “As far as travel, I’m extremely pleased. And I’m excited that we’ve got new teams — it’s been at least seven years since we’ve played Pekin, and a couple years since we’ve played Cardinal, too.
“I think (the district) will be just as competitive as last year,” he said. “We lose Lisbon (the Lions went 8-3 last year), but get Pekin (9-3). We lose Highland (4-5), but we’ll see what Cardinal brings to the table.”
Cardinal went 1-8 in Class 1A last year.
“All the teams in the district are improving,” McCarty said.
The next step is for schools to request the teams they’d like to play in their non-district games; those lists are due by Feb. 2.
“We’re communicating with several schools at this point, to get them on the list and make sure we’re on their list,” Striegel said. “(Mt. Pleasant Athletic Director Scot) Lamm is in contact with quite a few people.”
Schools look to play teams that are close, are a good matchup, and will make for a game that a crowd wants to see.
“We’re trying to keep Wapello on our schedule — they’re just a 10-15 minutes away,” McCarty said. “Also Iowa Valley; I like the way we match up with them.”
He also mentioned that Columbus and Central Lee were possibilities.
Schedules will be released after the non district games have been decided.