On the docket
It might be March, but high school football coaches in Iowa are definitely thinking about the fall after 2018 and 2019 schedules were released on Wednesday.
The official Week 1 first Friday night to the upcoming season will take place on Aug. 24, with a handful of teams opting to play Week 0 games the Friday before that.
Fort Dodge will open with long-time rival Mason City on the road, with St. Edmond facing a new foe in Panorama inside Dodger Stadium.
A total of 331 schools are set to play varsity football, with 266 of those slated for 11-player. The Iowa High School Athletic Association was able to honor 183 of those 266 requests for the four non-district games schools asked for, with almost 94 percent getting at least three.
No team plays three consecutive home or away games this year.
The Dodgers face Ames, Indianola and Carroll before heading into Class 4A, District 2 play with Southeast Polk. Fort Dodge closes out with Des Moines Roosevelt, Ankeny Centennial, Sioux City West and Marshalltown.
Last year, Fort Dodge went 4-5 with wins over Sioux City North, Mason City, Ames and Marshalltown. Drake Miller, a returning all-state selection at quarterback, threw for 2,340 yards and 31 touchdowns.
After facing Panorama, the Gaels will travel to North Union for a second straight season. They follow that up by hosting Eagle Grove and heading to Bishop Garrigan again.
St. Edmond opens A, District 2 play with IKM-Manning followed by Sioux Central, Ridge View, Alta/Aurelia and rival Manson Northwest Webster to close out the year.
The Gaels posted a 3-6 record overall under first-year head coach Jon Borer last fall. St. Edmond bested MMCRU, South O’Brien and North Union.
The playoffs will be different this season, as a new Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is used to determine wild-card berths. All nine games played, not just the district schedule, will factor in.
Sixteen teams from each class qualify for the postseason.
The 2019 schedules will remain in the same order, with home and away flipped.
PREP FOOTBALL SCHEDULES
Aug. 24 — at Mason City
Aug. 31 — Ames
Sept. 7 — at Indianola
Sept. 14 — Carroll
Sept. 21 — at Southeast Polk
Sept. 28 — Des Moines Roosevelt
Oct. 5 — Ankeny Centennial
Oct. 12 — at Sioux City West
Oct. 19 — at Marshalltown
Aug. 30 — Mason City
Sept. 6 — at Ames
Sept. 13 — Indianola
Sept. 20 — at Carroll
Sept. 27 — Southeast Polk
Oct. 4 — at Des Moines Roosevelt
Oct. 11 — at Ankeny Centennial
Oct. 18 — Sioux City West
Oct. 25 — Marshalltown
Aug. 24 — Panorama
Aug. 31 — at North Union
Sept. 7 — Eagle Grove
Sept. 14 — at Bishop Garrigan
Sept. 21 — IKM-Manning
Sept. 28 — at Sioux Central
Oct. 5 — at Ridge View
Oct. 12 — Alta/Aurelia
Oct. 19 — Manson Northwest Webster
Aug. 30 — at Panorama
Sept. 6 — North Union
Sept. 13 — at Eagle Grove
Sept. 20 — Bishop Garrigan
Sept. 27 — at IKM-Manning
Oct. 4 — Sioux Central
Oct. 11 — Ridge View
Oct. 18 — at Alta/Aurelia
Oct. 25 — at Manson Northwest Webster