Spencer, Waterloo East among Lynx 2018 football opponents

IF-A off WCHS?schedule for just third time in 89 years

Webster City all-state free safety Dylan Steen (16) bats the ball away from Boone wide receiver Jon Herrick (84) during Week 9 of the 2017 football season last October. The Lynx and Toreadors will meet for the 69th time in Week 9 of the 2018 season on Oct. 19. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Several surprises showed up on the Webster City football team’s schedule for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, which were released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association on Wednesday.

Well, surprises to everyone except Lynx head coach Bob Howard.

A member of Class 3A District 2 for the next two years, WCHS will face Carroll, Perry, Humboldt, Dallas Center-Grimes and Boone in district action. The Lynx non-district opponents will be Gilbert, Spencer, Waterloo East and Algona.

Under the new playoff format that will include a newly-formulated RPI, all nine games will count towards qualifying. In past years, only district games counted towards advancement into the postseason.

Only the district champion or teams tying for a district title will receive an automatic playoff berth. The remaining at-large qualifiers will be determined by the RPI.

The districts were released in January, which left the last two months for speculation about what the remainder of the schedule would look like. Schools returned cards with seven potential non-district opponents to the IHSAA, but the state’s governing body had the final say on the schedules.

Howard said all four of his team’s non-district opponents were on his card.

“It is what it is,” he said. “There are some new teams and I guess that will be exciting.”

One of the state’s most successful programs in recent years, Howard said it wasn’t particularly easy to get non-district teams to agree to put the Lynx on their cards. WCHS is 27-2 over its last 29 regular season games and has 10 straight trips to the playoffs, highlighted by a state runner-up finish in 2016.

Add in a quirky single-wing offense that is difficult to prepare for in just one week and it’s easy to see why WCHS wouldn’t be a preferred opponent.

“(The four non-district opponents) were all on our list because they were the ones that were willing to put us on their list,” Howard said. “We’re not too popular of a choice anymore.”

One glaring omission from the schedule is longtime rival Iowa Falls-Alden. It will be just the third time in 89 years that WCHS hasn’t faced Iowa Falls or Iowa Falls-Alden.

The Lynx have won eight straight games over the Cadets by an average of 36 points.

“I wish we were playing, but I have no animosity about it. I get it,” Howard said. “I respect (IF-A athletic director) Pat Norem and I respect (IF-A head coach) Don Anderson and they have to do what they feel is best for their program.”

WCHS, which will play four home games and five on the road in 2018, will open its season at Gilbert on Aug. 24. The two programs have met every season since 2010 and the Lynx hold a 6-2 edge.

Home games with Spencer and Waterloo East will follow in Weeks 2 and 3. WCHS has not faced Spencer since the first round of the state playoffs in 1994; the two programs played in the opening week of the regular season from 1965 to 1972. The Lynx have not faced Waterloo East since 1929.

Traditionally a 4A program, Waterloo East dropped down to 3A for the upcoming two-year cycle following the decision by the IHSAA to lower the number of 4A teams from 48 to 42.

A trip to Algona will round out the non-district slate.

The most difficult stretch of the schedule will come at the back end with back-to-back road trips to Dallas Center-Grimes and Boone during the final two weeks of the regular season. Considering the recent history of all three programs, district title implications could very well be on the line.

“We’re going back to two places we played last year,” Howard said. “But if home and away makes that big of a deal, then probably your program isn’t that strong anyway. This group of seniors we’re going to have, mentally they’re going to be one of the best groups we’ve had with dealing with different situations. I think I can relish getting them ready to play on the road.”

The schedule for 2019 will be identical with the location the only difference. WCHS will have five home games during the 2019 campaign.

South Hamilton

Coming off a trip to the 1A state playoffs, South Hamilton will face a schedule in 2018 that is filled with several familiar opponents as well as new challenges.

A member of District 7, the Hawks will be joined by Eagle Grove, Madrid, Ogden, Pocahontas Area and South Central Calhoun.

Non-district games in the opening four weeks will be against South Hardin, Grundy Center, Woodward-Granger and Manson-Northwest Webster.

“It’s kind of what we expected and I think it should be a good deal,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said. “There’s good and bad (to playing unfamiliar opponents). It does make it interesting to play some different teams and go some different directions.”

Roland-Story will be off South Hamilton’s schedule for the first time since 1970. The annual showdown between the Heart of Iowa Conference rivals began in 1971.

South Hamilton will open with back-to-back home games against South Hardin and Grundy Center.

Webster City 2018 Football Schedule

Aug. 24: at Gilbert

Aug. 31: Spencer

Sept. 7: Waterloo East

Sept. 14: at Algona

Sept. 21: at Carroll

Sept. 28: Perry

Oct. 5: Humboldt

Oct. 12: at Dallas Center-Grimes

Oct. 19: at Boone

South Hamilton 2018 Football Schedule

Aug. 24: South Hardin

Aug. 31: Grundy Center

Sept. 7: at Woodward-Granger

Sept. 14: at Manson-Northwest Webster

Sept. 21: Madrid

Sept. 28: South Central Calhoun

Oct. 5: at Pocahontas Area

Oct. 12: Ogden

Oct. 19: at Eagle Grove