Mar. 13—When the high school football districts were released on Friday morning, programs in Jasper County saw plenty of familiar faces but will meet up with some new squads, too.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association made a few changes to football's format recently. They added a Class 5A, which will consist of the state's largest programs.
Newton will be 4A moving forward, while PCM stays in 2A, Lynnville-Sully remains in Class A and Baxter is sticking with 8-man. Colfax-Mingo also makes the drop from 1A to Class A.
The Cardinals' district consists of three schools they faced last year, another they are used to seeing and a fifth program that dropped down from the biggest class.
"We are excited about it," Newton football coach Andy Swedenhjelm said. "Our kids aren't too worried about who we play. They have focused and worked extremely hard to improve themselves. We know that's all we can control."
Newton (0-8 last year) will be in 4A District 4 along with Cedar Rapids Xavier (10-1), Pella (6-3), Clear Creek-Amana (4-4), Oskaloosa (2-6) and Cedar Rapids Washington, which was 3-5 in last year's big school Class 4A.
"It's pretty much the teams we expected to be with," Swedenhjelm said. "When you look at the teams in 4A, the only real options were to send us to the Cedar Rapids area or send us Southeast. It's a great opportunity to see how much we have improved."
PCM will compete in 2A District 7. Joining the Mustangs, who were a state semifinalist last season, will be West Marshall (8-2), Iowa Falls-Alden (4-5), Albia (3-5), Roland-Story (0-7) and Chariton (0-8).
Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully reunite as district foes as both will be in Class A District 6.
The Tigerhawks were 0-8 in 1A last year and the Hawks went 1-5 in Class A. They will be joined by Belle Plaine (6-3), Ogden (4-3), Madrid (3-4), North Mahaska (3-5) and Wayne of Corydon (0-5).
"It should be a competitive district," L-S football coach Mike Parkinson said. "It's an interesting mix with lots of travel."
Colfax-Mingo coach Jeff Lietz likes what he sees in the new district alignment.
"I always enjoy seeing some new teams," Lietz said. "Plus, we get to play some conference guys. I think they went about it in a weird way, but I am good with it."
The Bolts went 4-5 in 8-man last season. They will be in Class 8-man District 7 the next two seasons. Also in that district will be 2020 state semifinalist Montezuma (10-1), BGM (8-2), Melcher-Dallas (3-5), Grand View Christian (1-7), Twin Cedars (0-6) and Woodward Academy (0-0).
"I am surprised they divided it right between us and Collins-Maxwell," Baxter coach Rob Luther said. "There's a mix of new teams and some teams we have played. I am just happy to have it out so we know where we are going."