SIOUX CITY | Siouxland Christian made the decision last month that its football team would play just a junior varsity schedule in the 2017 season.
After going winless while co-opting with Whiting last season, the Eagles have decided to take a season or two to build the program up to varsity-level competition and will play junior varsity this year. It was a move that left the teams on their schedule one game short for this season.
“We heard from them sometime in July and we sent out letters to the teams telling them we would grant schools a 10th game (for Week 0) if they could find a team to play,” said Iowa High School Assistant Director Todd Tharp. “I am not aware of any team finding a game.
District opponents who will now play eight games this season are Clay Central-Every, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, Harris-Lake Park, Kingsley-Pierson, West Bend-Mallard, Remsen St. Mary's and Newell-Fonda.
Those teams will now receive an average of the scores in all of the eight-man games the week they were to play the Eagles. So it could have an impact on who makes the playoffs out of the district because they will not receive a full 17 points but will also not get a zero.
The Eagles are far from the only school that had to cancel its varsity season for the 2017 campaign. Tharp said two weeks after Siouxland Christian notified the state another school did the same. The number of drops has led to more Week 0 games this year, though none in Siouxland.
“We have more this year than the past few,” Tharp said. “When Ankeny Centennial joined 4A a few years ago all those 4A schools had an extra Week 0 game but we could plan for that.”
Tharp said having to change schedules late or lose a game completely is an issue.
“It is a tremendous concern for us,” he said. “If I am a school in a team’s district that because of numbers or injury may be close I am apprehensive about them. It is disappointing with the timing but sometimes that is what they have to do.”
This is the last year of the two-year scheduling cycle for football that the state released. Tharp said the process to put together the next two years begins after Labor Day and concludes with the schedule release about the time of the state wrestling tournament in February.