Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Are you ready for some football?

By Justin Webster | Mar 22, 2018

High School football districts, non-district opponents and season schedules were released Wednesday by the IHSAA and the four high schools in The Ledger’s coverage area found out their Friday night plans for the next two falls.

The Ledger caught up with Fairfield’s Matt Jones, Pekin’s Brent Blakely and Cardinal’s Landon Miller to see what they thought about their schedules and opponents.


Iowa high school football fun facts:

331 schools are currently scheduled to play varsity football in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.


266 schools are slated for 11-player football.


183 schools in 11-player football received all 4 schools requested on their non-district priority list.


93.6 percent of 11-player football schools received 3 or more schools requested on their non-district priority list.


12 matchups in Class 4A are considered “cross-over games” by the state’s traditional east/west split.


Class 3A district 6


Fort Madison


Mount Pleasant




Fairfield 2018:

08/24 Knoxville

08/31 @Clear Creek-Amana

09/07 @Oskaloosa

09/14 Grinnell

09/21 Mount Pleasant

09/28 @Fort Madison

10/05 Keokuk

10/12 @Washington

10/19 @Solon


Fairfield 2019:

08/30 @Knoxville

09/06 Clear Creek-Amana

09/13 Oskaloosa

09/20 @Grinnell

09/27 @Mt Pleasant

10/04 Fort Madison

10/11 @Keokuk

10/18 Washington

10/25 Solon


How do you like your familiar district? Wish it changed? Pros and cons to facing these teams again?

Matt Jones: I like the district in regard to competitive rivalry, as all district opponents except one are conference opponents as well.

That means the players will see each other year round in other sports which is fun for the kids. Travel is not bad at all, all things considered.


Thoughts on non-district teams and the way they are scheduled?

Jones: I’m excited about our non-district schedule. I’m glad we added Clear Creek-Amana and Grinnell. CC-A has some good young players and Grinnell has a very competitive tradition.

We have some familiarity with Knoxville, having played them last year along with Oskaloosa, who was a district opponent and a playoff qualifier last year.


When do you start studying for these opponents with your coaches/players?

Jones: Our focus right now is for our football players to compete with their respective teams as hard as they can. If they aren’t in a sport, we want them participating in our strength and conditioning program in our newly equipped weight room.

We have a lot of kids out for soccer, golf, and track and field, and I’m happy to see that.

It’s great that they are wearing the Fairfield jersey, keeping score, and competing. I also have a feeling we are going to get lots of kids in our weight room working if they’re not involved in a sport.

When we start preparing for the season this summer, the coaches will watch some film, but the players and coaches really all need to have a ‘take care of our house’ mentality and do all we can to control our attitude and effort on a daily basis. You play this game one play at a time, and if you let the future dominate your thoughts, then you don’t take care of the now. We have to stay in the moment and focus on one play at a time, and one opponent at a time.


Where is your confidence level with a schedule in front of you now?

Jones: I’m confident we will take it one play at a time, one week at a time, and improve throughout the season. We have some great players in our program, and many are hungry to be the best they can be as an individual, while helping our team come together and play at a high level.


Class A district 6

Belle Plaine

B-G-M, Brooklyn



Highland, Riverside



Cardinal 2018:

08/24 @Van Buren

08/31 Wayne, Corydon

09/07 Grand View Christian

09/14 @N. Mahaska

09/21 Pekin

09/28 @Durant

10/05 @Belle Plaine

10/12 Highland

10/19 @B-G-M


Cardinal 2019:

08/30 Van Buren

09/06 @Wayne

09/13 @Grand View Christian

09/20 N. Mahaska

09/27 @Pekin

10/04 Durant

10/11 Belle Plaine

10/18 @Highland

10/25 B-G-M, Brooklyn


How do you like your district? Pros and cons to facing these teams?

Landon Miller: We are happy with how our district shook out this year. We have a lot of fresh faces along with Pekin being a usual opponent. We are not a team, staff, or school that worries about travel at all, so the fact that we are farther away than our opponents last year does not bother us. For us, there really is no issue with how our district shaped out.


Thoughts on non-district teams and the way they are scheduled?

Miller: I think that the way the non-district scheduling worked this year was excellent. Each school has the opportunity to rank their “wish list” of opponents. I think that is how it should be.


When do you start studying for these opponents with your coaches/players?

Miller: We have already begun our preliminary scouting process for our opponents. Our players do not get much information at this time of year about our opponents besides the surface level information.


Where is your confidence level with a schedule in front of you now?

Miller: We do not get emotional about our schedule and the opponents.

We do a lot of work in scouting and preparing so that our kids have the best opportunity to play fast and free on Friday, but we do not put a confidence level or estimate of wins and losses on who we play.

We try to be the best prepared team, whether that is working on ourselves or the opponents, in the off season and pre-season leading up.

I can tell you that I am confident that our kids are working hard this off-season. They are putting in the work. What that means is yet to be seen, but I am proud of our team for maturing a lot in the last 10 months.


Pekin 2018:

08/24 @Sigourney-Keota

08/31 Mid-Prairie, Wellman

09/07 @Mediapolis

09/14 Davis County

09/21 @Cardinal

09/28 Highland

10/05 @B-G-M

10/12 @Belle Plaine

10/19 Durant


Pekin 2019:

08/30 Sigourney-Keota

09/06 @Mid-Prairie

09/13 Mediapolis

09/20 @Davis County

09/27 Cardinal, Eldon

10/04 @Highland

10/11 B-G-M, Brooklyn

10/18 Belle Plaine

10/25 @Durant


How do you like your district? Pros and cons to facing these teams?

Brent Blakely: I like our new district in the fact we see some familiar faces and some new. I like to have some balance in that area. There will be a few long trips in our district, but that’s part of the business.


Thoughts on non-district teams and the way they are scheduled?

Blakely: I feel like we have four really good non-district opponents that will test us in multiple facets early in the season. They’re all bigger than us being two 2A schools and two 1A schools.

We will have people that will test us in many ways and that should allow us to go into district play with alot of different experiences.

I’m not sure we have ever played Mid-Prairie, but they have had many successful years when you look at them historically.

We are pretty familiar with Sigourney-Keota and Davis County but Mediapolis is someone we haven’t seen for several years although we have a history of playing some great games with them. We will not be able to take a night off given the schedule we have and I think our kids are excited about their new schedule and the challenges it brings to the table.


When do you start studying for these opponents with your coaches/players?

Blakely: We as a staff will spend most of our off season and preseason focusing on us. We have a lot of things to consider and evaluate and from there we will look at putting a scheme together we feel gives our kids the best opportunity to compete.

We won’t focus on an opponent until we get to game week and non-district teams will be more important now since non-district games will count towards playoff qualification.


Where is your confidence level with a schedule in front of you now?

Blakely: I always feel confident with the kids we have. Our schedule is no doubt as challenging as they come and I’d like to think it ranks as one of the tougher schedules in the state given size and quality of teams we’re playing.

I know our kids will work hard in their off season sports and summer workouts. It’s our kids that make coaching at Pekin so fun and builds my confidence as a coach. It’s an exciting time for everyone as we go into a new system and districts. It’s nice to finally have the schedule in front of us.


Class 1A district 5

Columbus Junction



Van Buren




Van Buren 2018:

08/24 Cardinal, Eldon

08/31 Louisa-Muscatine

09/07 @Davis County

09/14 Wayne, Corydon

09/21 Columbus Junction

09/28 @Sigourney-Keota

10/05 @Wapello

10/12 Mediapolis

10/19 @Wilton


Van Buren 2019:

08/30 @Cardinal

09/06 @Louisa-Muscatine

09/13 Davis County

09/20 @Wayne

09/27 @Columbus Junction

10/04 Sigourney-Keota

10/11 Wapello

10/18 @Mediapolis

10/25 Wilton

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