In a week that has seen sweeping changes for high school football — including a revamping of the playoff system — 4-A felt another shock wave Thursday.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced district assignments for all classes for the next two seasons.
In 4-A, that meant transitioning eastern Iowa schools from conference play to districts. New faces, new foes.
But instead of arranging the state’s 46 largest schools in a tidy 23-23 split down the middle, the Association placed 24 teams in western Iowa and 22 in eastern Iowa. Eight districts will send their top four teams to the playoffs.
While no system can be perfect, there seems to be more winners than losers.
Two five-team districts that extend from the Mississippi River to Iowa City will receive the biggest potential windfall.
Davenport’s schools have particular reason to celebrate. Davenport Central and West won four of the first six 4-A state championships. West hasn’t qualified since 1999 and Central’s made two appearances since 1992. Davenport North has never reached the postseason.
“It gives some teams more opportunities to have more success and build their programs,” Pleasant Valley coach Rusty Van Wetzinga said.
For years, programs like Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf locked in playoff spots while some Davenport schools were hanging up their jerseys.
“It was the same old teams over and over again,” Van Wetzinga said.
The decision to give eastern Iowa both five-team districts was based on proximity of schools, according to Todd Tharp, assistant executive director of the Association.
“We are very excited about how things worked out,” Tharp said.
The two five-team districts will play each other in crossover games, an easy fix to give those teams an extra regular-season game.
Ottumwa, which had faced western schools for several years, will head east. The Bulldogs were placed in a district with Burlington, Muscatine, Iowa City High and Cedar Rapids Prairie and Washington.
“I was expecting that to happen,” Ottumwa activities director Tom Kopatich said. “It’s really something that’s out of our control. If we go west, we’ve done that. If we go east, we’ve been there before.”
For the first time in decades, Burlington and Ottumwa will face each other. They were members of the Little Six Conference until 1969, facing each other in an annual rivalry.
The Association could have sent Marshalltown or Mason City east instead. But it made more sense to select Ottumwa for that mission.
Western Iowa schools who played district football for the last two seasons will find little change in the system. Programs viewed by the state as the some of the strongest — state champion West Des Moines Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines Valley, Waukee — were kept apart. Ames and Southeast Polk share District 1.
Dowling has been placed in a district with Johnston, Sioux City East, Des Moines Roosevelt and North and 4-A newcomer Council Bluffs Lewis Central, which was bumped up due to surpassing the 700 student enrollment threshold.
The next step for 4-A teams will be determining a “priority list” of up to six foes. That can be used to protect traditional rivalries or build new ones.
“I imagine Dowling and Valley will put each other on their lists,” Tharp said.
For teams like Pleasant Valley, who have been restricted to playing the same nine MAC opponents year after year, there’s anticipation.
“I’m kind of excited about this, it’s something different than our conference,” Van Wetzinga said. “It’s an opportunity to play new opponents.”
Football schedules are expected to be determined in late February.
The transition will be complete next fall when fans scramble for parking spots and the whistles blow.
“We’re happy,” Kopatich said. “We’re going to go play.”
Class 4-A district assignments
District 1 — Ames, Ankeny, Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, Des Moines East, Sioux City North, Southeast Polk
District 2 — Council Bluffs Lewis Central, Des Moines North, Des Moines Roosevelt, Dowling Catholic, Johnston, Sioux City East
District 3 — Ankeny Centennial, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, Des Moines Hoover, Des Moines Lincoln, Sioux City West, West Des Moines Valley
District 4 — Fort Dodge, Indianola, Marshalltown, Mason City, Urbandale, Waukee
District 5 — Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Waterloo East, Waterloo West
District 6 — Burlington, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Iowa City High, Muscatine, Ottumwa
District 7 — Davenport Central, Davenport North, Dubuque Hempstead, Iowa City West, Pleasant Valley
District 8 — Bettendorf, Clinton, Davenport West, Dubuque Senior, North Scott
Class 3-A district assignments
District 1 — Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, Denison-Schleswig, LeMars, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Sioux City Heelan, Spencer, Storm Lake
District 2 — Algona, Boone, Carroll, Greene County, Humboldt, Perry, Webster City
District 3 — Charles City, Crestwood (Cresco), Decorah, Independence, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware (Manchester)
District 4 — Cedar Rapids Xavier, DeWitt Central, Dubuque Wahlert, Maquoketa, Marion, Solon, Western Dubuque
District 5 — Clear Creek-Amana, Davenport Assumption, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, Washington
District 6 — Ballard, Benton (Van Horne), Bondurant-Farrar, Gilbert, Grinnell, Nevada, Newton
District 7 — Carlisle, Chariton, Knoxville, Norwalk, Oskaloosa, Pella, Pella, Saydel
District 8 — ADM (Adel), Atlantic, Creston, Dallas Center-Grimes, Glenwood, Harlan, Winterset
Class 2-A district assignments
District 1 — Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, Cherokee, MOC-Floyd Valley, Okoboji (Milford), Sheldon, Sioux Center, Spirit Lake
District 2 — Clarion-Goldfield, Clear Lake, Estherville Lincoln Central, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield/Ventura, Hampton-Dumont, Osage
District 3 — Center Point-Urbana, Dyersville-Beckman, New Hampton, North Fayette Valley, Oelwein, Waterloo Columbus, Waukon
District 4 — Anamosa, Camanche, Cascade, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Northeast (Goose Lake), Tipton
District 5 — Central Lee (Donnellson), Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Mid-Prairie (Wellman), West Burlington/Notre Dame, West Liberty, Williamsburg
District 6 — Aplington-Parkersburg, East Marshall (LeGrand), Iowa Falls-Alden, Roland-Story, South Hardin, South Tama, Union (LaPorte City)
District 7 — Albia, Centerville, Clarke (Osceola), Collins-Maxwell-Baxter, Davis County (Bloomfield), North Polk, PCM (Monroe)
District 8 — Carroll Kuemper, Clarina, East Sac County, Prairie Valley (Gowrie), Red Oak, Shenandoah, West Central Valley (Stuart)
Class 1-A district assignments
District 1–AHST (Avoca), IKM-Manning, Missouri Valley, OA-BCIG (Ida Grove), Treynor, Underwood, West Monona
District 2–Hinton, HMS (Hartley), Ridge View (Holstein), Sibley-Ocheyedan, Unity Christian (Orange City), Western Christian (Hull), West Lyon
District 3–Central Springs (Manly), Eagle Grove, Emmetsburg, Lake Mills, Pocahontas Area, Saint Ansgar, West Fork
District 4–Clayton Ridge (Guttenberg), Dike-New Hartford, Hudson, Jesup, MFL-MarMac, South Winneshiek, Sumner-Fredericksburg
District 5–Alburnett, Bellevue, Durant, North Cedar, Wapello, West Branch, Wilton
District 6–Columbus Junction, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Highland (Riverside), Iowa City Regina, Pella Christian, Sigourney-Keota, West Marshall
District 7–Fort Dodge St. Edmond, Madrid, Manson-Northwest Webster, Ogden, South Central Calhoun, South Hamilton, Woodward Academy
District 8–Central Decatur, Des Moines Christian, Interstate 35 (Truro), Panorama (Panora), Southwest Valley (Corning), Van Meter, Woodward-Granger.
Class A district assignments
District 1–Audubon, Council Bluffs St. Albert, Griswold, Logan-Magnolia, MVAO (Mapleton), Riverside (Oakland), Tri-Center (Neola), Westwood (Sloan)
District 2–Akron-Westfield, Alta-Aurelia, Lawton-Bronson, LeMars Gehlen, Sioux Central (Sioux Rapids), South O’Brien, West Sioux, Woodbury Central (Moville)
District 3–Algona Garrigan, Belmond-Klemme, Mason City Newman, Nashua-Plainfield, North Butler, North Union (Armstrong), West Hancock
District 4–AGWSR (Ackley), BCLUW (Conrad), Denver, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Grundy Center, North Tama, Wapsie Valley (Fairbank)
District 5–East Buchanan, Easton Valley, Edgewood-Colesburg, Lisbon, Maquoketa Valley (Delhi), North Linn, Postville, Starmont
District 6–Cardinal (Eldon), Danville, Lone Tree, New London, Pekin (Packwood), Van Buren (Keosauqua), WACO (Wayland), Winfield-Mount Union
District 7–Belle Plaine, BGM (Brooklyn), Colfax-Mingo, GMG (Garwin), Iowa Valley (Marengo), Lynnville-Sully, Montezuma, North Mahaska
District 8–Bedford, Clarinda Academy, Earlham, Martensdale-St. Marys, Mount Ayr, Nodaway Valley, Pleasantville, Southeast Warren
Eight-player district assignments
District 1 — ArWeVa (Westside), Boyer Valley (Dunlap), Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton, Kingsley-Pierson, Newell-Fonda, River Valley (Correctionville), West Harrison, Woodbine.
District 2 — Clay Central-Everly, GTRA (Graettinger), Harris-Lake Park, Laurens-Marathon, MMC (Marcu), Remsen St. Mary’s, Remsen-Union, West Bend-Mallard.
District 3 — CAL (Latimer), Clarksville, Janesville, North Iowa (Buffalo Center), Northwood-Kensett, Riceville, Rockford, Tripoli.
District 4 — Cedar Valley Christian, Central City, Central Elkader, Kee (Lansing), Midland (Wyoming), Springville, Turkey Valley (Jackson Junction), West Central (Maynard).
District 5 — Colo-Nesco, Don Bosco (Gilbertville), Dunkerton, English Valleys (North English), Grandview Park Baptist, HLV (Victor), Meskwaki Settlement, Tri-County (Thornburg).
District 6 — Harmony (Farmington), Lamoni, Melcher-Dallas, Moravia, Mormon Trail (Garden Grove), Seymour, Twin Cedars (Bussey), Wayne (Corydon).
District 7 — Adair-Casey, Ankeny Christian, Coon Rapids-Bayard, East Union, Glidden-Ralston, Guthrie Center, Murray, Northeast Hamitlon.
District 8 — CAM (Anita), East Mills, Essex, Fremont-Mills (Tabor), Lenox, Nishnabotna, Sidney, Stanton.
q: “document: 1008948 document: 1008947 document: 1008946 document: 1008945 document: 1008944 document: 1008943”,
title: “Iowa high school football 2014-15 district assignments”,