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The Gazette KCRG
Posted December 17, 2013
Future football: A model for 3A, 4A

So, it’s all but over.

Cedar Rapids Xavier, Davenport Assumption and Dubuque Wahlert will be playing Class 3A district football next fall. The Mississippi Valley Conference and the Mississippi Athletic Conferences will not exist in football.

That much is 99-percent certain.

What’s next?

It’s the drawing up of districts (or divisions, if the IHSAA wants to give that term to Class 4A, as it did in the West the past two years).

Here’s a plea: When it comes to the 4A East, go geographically. Please don’t shuffle the deck and put six here, five there, five over there and five down there. Keep the Iowa City schools together. Keep the Waterloo/Cedar Falls schools together. Same with the Dubuque schools and Quad City rivals Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley.

There’s a way, even, to keep all five remaining Metro schools together. It does involve splitting up the Davenport schools, but the Davenport schools aren’t football world-beaters right now, and there will be a way they can all play in non-district play.

So here’s what we’ll call The Gazette Model for 4A East:

Highway 20 District (5 teams): Cedar Falls, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, Waterloo East, Waterloo West.

Cedar Rapids/Marion Metro District (5 teams): Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Linn-Mar.

Iowa City/Lower MAC District (6 teams): Burlington, Davenport Central, Davenport West, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Muscatine.

Upper MAC District (5 teams): Bettendorf, Clinton, Davenport North, North Scott, Pleasant Valley.

4A East, done. Now, 32 qualifiers are too many in a class that has 45 schools. Carve it to 24 — 12 in the East, 12 in the West. The top two teams in each district are automatic playoff qualifiers. The others (four East, four West) are at-large, based on OVERALL record, with the tie-breaker the number of opponents’ victories. If still tied, go to the 13-point rule that works all right in the other classes.

Then, seed the East and West separately, both 1 through 12. District champions are guaranteed top-four seeds and get first-round byes.

Allow 4A schools one (and no more than one) non-district game against a school from a smaller class. Let Waterloo East or West play somebody like Waverly-Shell Rock or Waterloo Columbus. Bring back the Linn-Mar-vs.-Marion series. Give some of the MAC schools a shot at DeWitt Central or Maquoketa. City High or Iowa City West vs. Regina? Why not?

Now that Class 4A districts and playoff qualifiers have been determined, let’s move to 3A. Reclassification will cause some changes here, but here’s a rough draft on how it might look, in an effort to split up Xavier, Wahlert and Assumption (really, it wasn’t that difficult).

3A District 1: Algona, LeMars, MOC-Floyd Valley, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Sioux City Heelan, Spencer, Storm Lake.

3A District 2: Ballard, Boone, Charles City, Clear Lake, Humboldt, Waverly-Shell Rock, Webster City.

3A District 3: Crestwood, Decorah, Dubuque Wahlert, Independence, Vinton-Shellsburg, West Delaware, Western Dubuque.

3A District 4: Benton Community, Cedar Rapids Xavier, DeWitt Central, Maquoketa, Marion, Solon, Williamsburg.

3A District 5:  Clear Creek Amana, Davenport Assumption, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, Washington.

3A District 6: Carlisle, Chariton, Grinnell, Knoxville, Newton, Oskaloosa, Pella.

3A District 7: Adel ADM, Bondurant-Farrar, Dallas Center-Grimes, Norwalk, Perry, Saydel, Winterset.

3A District 8: Atlantic, Carroll, Creston, Denison-Schleswig, Glenwood, Harlan, Lewis Central.

Non-district opponents for Xavier: Assumption, Wahlert, Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

Non-district opponents for Assumption: Xavier, two 4A MAC schools.

Non-district opponents for Wahlert: Xavier, Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Hempstead.

Again, those 3A districts are rough, based on the current BEDS Documents. Those will change slightly, moving some teams down to 2A and some other ones in. But it’s a good starting point.

6 Responses to Future football: A model for 3A, 4A

  1. Interesting take. As for 3A, I might make some minor adjustments – maybe swap Williamsburg and CCA, for example – but you’ve got a reasonable framework there.

    Now, what’s with restricting 4A teams to only one lower-class non-division game? They won’t count for playoff purposes, so why make a restriction? Also, I see what you did with giving Xavier non-division games against Wahlert and Assumption. Got to keep those parochial schools separate, don’t you know. Why not let Xavier get at least a couple of metro non-division games instead of just one? You’ve got Wahlert keeping their games vs Hempstead and Senior, why treat the Saints differently?

    As far as 4A goes, it’s tough to make things work with 45. Personally I think Lewis Central should be moved up (they qualify by state rules, I don’t know why they’re not 4A) which makes 46. Then maybe move Ottumwa to the east, make it a 24/22 split. I hate the idea of five-team districts, where only 4 games decide your playoff teams. Those need to be kept to a minimum (although you’d probably have two such districts with 22 teams).

  2. What’s really interesting is that I brought up the idea of a 3A exemption for 4A schools on the iowapreps.com website about a month ago, then Jeff Linder uses that idea like it was his own.

    Plagiarism at its finest.

    • Seriously, Jason? 2 people can’t have the same thoughts?

    • “Plagiarism” is a pretty serious charge, Jason.

      Consider this an invitation to stop by the sports department to discuss this matter. I think a face-to-face meeting would be more healthy than tossing around blind accusations.

      Make an appointment, and I’ll be happy to set aside some time for you. Fair enough?

  3. They can. But it’s not the first time something I posted on that other site ended up over here.

  4. You’re right, might have been a little harsh. I just find some irony in the fact things that get discussed there end up here. I apologize for going overboard.

    Waverly is a little too far outta my way to just have a meeting, but thanks for the invite.

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