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Changes come to 2018 football season

By Staff | Aug 12, 2018

The 2018 Iowa Football Coaches 2018 Yearbook landed on the sports desk this week.

The annual publication provides key information about the upcoming football season.

The yearbook shows all the teams from 8-player to Class 4A with each district receiving its own page.

For those unaware of the re-district completed earlier this year, Estherville Lincoln Central landed in Class 2A District 2.

Other teams in the district are Algona, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Southeast Valley, Garner-Hayfield/Ventura and rival Spirit Lake.

Non-district games include Forest City, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Unity Christian and Sheldon.

Of the nine games on ELC’s schedule, the Midgets played just Sheldon and Spirit Lake, losing 47-13 to the Orabs and 29-12 to the Indians.

While more about ELC’s team will be revealed in the upcoming Fall Sports Preview, fans should know that the Midgets are under new management as Ryan Rezac takes over after the one-year stint with Mark Atwater. Rezac has been a long-time assistant coach for ELC.

Back to the yearbook, it shows only two teams in 2A District 2 had winning records last season-Spirit Lake and GHV both went 5-4. Southeast Valley and Algona finished 4-5 while ELC was 3-6 and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows was 2-7.

ELC opens the season at Forest City on Aug. 24 before returning home on Aug. 31 to host Hartley-Melvin Sanborn. Road games are Sept. 7 at Unity Christian in Orange City, Sept. 21 at Spirit Lake, Sept. 28 at Garner-Hayfield/Ventura and Oct. 12 at Southeast Valley. Other home games are Sept. 14 against Sheldon (homecoming), Oct. 5 against Algona and Oct. 19 against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows.

North Union and GT/RA

in same 11-man district

Both North Union and Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire are playing in Class A District 3 this season. Athletes from GT/RA will be playing 11-man football for the first time, as their enrollment is high enough that the Titans don’t meet the requirements to play 8-man football.

Other teams in the district (and their 2017 records) are Bishop Garrigan (9-1), West Hancock (7-4), Belmond-Klemme (7-3) and West Fork (3-6).

GT/RA finished 6-2 in 8-Player last season while the Warriors finished 1-8.

North Union’s non-district schedule includes Central Springs, St. Edmond-Fort Dodge, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn/Remsen Union and Lake Mills. The Warriors play just two opponents from last year’s schedule-St Edmond and Bishop Garrigan. The Warriors lost 12-0 to the Gaels and 22-6 tot he Golden Bears.

GT/RA’s non-district schedule includes South O’Brien, Sioux Central, Okoboji and Sibley-Ocheyedan.

North Union and GT/RA meet Sept. 21 in Armstrong.

2018 football changes

Earlier this year, the Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted to keep 16 playoff qualifiers for each class-a format instituted in 2016. Previously, 32 teams qualified for the playoffs from 2008-15.

“Player safety is the number one priority,” IHSAA executive director Alan Beste said in a release, “and we are also committed to playing early round postseason games on Friday nights. Keeping 16 qualifiers per class allows for maximum recovery time between games and maintains high school’s Friday night tradition.”

The Board of Control approved new football district formats. Class 4A will have seven districts with six teams per district (42 teams); 3A, 2A and 1A will have nine districts with six teams per district (54); Class A will have eight districts with six teams per district and two districts with seven teams (62)land 8-Player will have seven districts with eight teams per district and an eighth district with nine teams (65).

As for how teams qualify for the postseason, only district champions and teams that tied for district titles will earn automatic playoff bids. All nine games will count toward the postseason for the first time since the beginning of district football. Also, the 17-point district tiebreaker rule was eliminated complete.

After the district champions are crowned, the rest of the at-large qualifiers will be decided by a Ratings Percentage Index formula, which will use three criteria to determine postseason qualification.

Overall win-loss percentage (which accounts for 37.5 percent of the index)

Team’s opponents’ win-loss percentage (37.5 percent)

And team’s opponents’ opponents’ win-loss percentage (25 percent).

The model is similar to what the NCAA uses for several men’s and women’s sports.

“Our goal is to have the best 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs,” Beste said. “We believe we get closer to that goal by having only district champions as automatic qualifiers, and the remainder of qualifiers determined by their success and the success of their opponents and other successful teams.”