The IHSAA has released their newest realignment for classes and districts in football. Several area teams find themselves in a different class and district than before. While that may bring some new opponents it also will keep some familiar ones for some schools. The moves are part of the “domino effect” in many cases, as the IHSAA announced a new 5A class earlier this year for Iowa’s largest schools. While the new district opponents and classes have been announced, the non-district opponents have not been. Each individual school gets to choose and schedule its non-district opponents.
Fort Dodge is staying in 4A and last season was one of the smaller enrollment schools in 4A. Now they will be the largest enrollment school in their 4A District. As everyone of Fort Dodge’s 2020 opponents have moved up to 5A. The new district opponents for the Dodgers will be Denison-Schleswig, Spencer, Storm Lake, Le Mars and Webster City. The Dodgers and the Lynx being in the same district should make for an interesting local rivalry game between two teams only about 30 minutes apart.
St. Edmond has made the move from Class A to the 8 player class. The school has cited enrollment and participation numbers as reasons for the move. The Gaels will make the move under the direction of Head Coach Matt Dillon, a veteran with 2 Iowa State Titles from his time at the helm for Dowling Catholic. The Gaels district will feature longtime rival Bishop Garrigan, who also is making the move from Class A to 8 player. Their other district opponents will include GTRA, Harris-Lake Park, North Iowa- Buffalo Center, Northwood-Kensett and West Bend-Mallard. The non-district schedule will be interesting for St. Edmond as many of their traditional non-district opponents remain in the 11 man division. Thus, the Gaels will have to find some new opponents in the 8 player division to fill out the schedule.
Manson- NW Webster will be moving up from Class A to 1A. Head Coach Marty Hart will be in his second year at the helm in 2021. The Cougars will be in the same district as perennial power South Central Calhoun, who is fresh a run to the State Semifinals. MNW will also face new district opponents such as Belmond-Klemme, Eagle Grove, Woodward-Granger and South Hamilton. While the non-district opponents have not been announced, their traditional rivalry with St. Edmond will not be renewed in 2021 since St. Edmond moved to 8 player.
Southeast Valley, Pocahontas Area and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows are all moving up to 2A and will be in the same district. Southeast Valley is coming off a tremendous year at the 1A level. They went unbeaten in the regular season and won the district title. The Jags fell just one win short of the 1A State Semifinals, falling to South Central Calhoun in the playoffs after beating the Titans in the regular season. SE Valley returns most of last year’s squad, that group is headlined by All-American OL/DL Aaron Graves. 2021 is a year of high expectations for Southeast Valley. Their other 2A district opponents include Spirit Lake and Estherville Lincoln-Central. Rounding out that district will be two-time defending State Champs OABCIG who moved back to 2A after spending 2020 in 1A. The Falcons will navigate the new district without two time All State QB Cooper Dejean, who will be playing on Saturdays in Iowa City.
The new opponents and new alignments should make for some interesting match ups this coming fall.