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Iowa to add a 7th football class in 2021

Webster City likely moving to Class 4A?this fall

WEBSTER CITY — Iowa will add an additional classification for prep football beginning in the fall.

The Iowa High School Board of Control approved the addition of a seventh class on Thursday.

The new classification — Class 5A — will be comprised of the state’s largest 36 schools based on enrollment. Classes 4A and 3A will also be comprised of 36 schools, 2A and 1A will house 48 schools, and the remainder of the 11-man programs will be in A. Eight-player will remain one class.

According to a release from the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the decision to add a class was made in an effort to reduce the disparity in enrollment in the state’s largest class of football.

Classes 5A, 4A and 3A will play a nine-game regular season with 16 playoff qualifiers. The remaining classes — both 11-man and 8-man — will have an eight-game regular season schedule with 32 playoff qualifiers.

Teams playing eight regular season games but not involved in the playoffs will have the option of adding a ninth game at the end of the regular season.

The Iowa Football Coaches Association sent a recommendation to the IHSAA in December that called for eight classes of football — six 11-man and two 8-man. Webster City head coach Bob Howard said the IFCA asked for the top biggest classes to be comprised of 24 schools each, with 48 schools in 3A, 2A and 1A. The IHSAA opted to go a different route.

Based on current enrollment numbers, WCHS would jump up to 4A and be one of the smaller schools, in a classification with former big-class schools like Fort Dodge and Indianola. New enrollment figures that will be used to set the new classifications haven’t been released, but Howard says it’s likely his program is on the move.

“There’s a good chance we’re going to be 4A, but there’s also a chance that we might not be, we’ll just have to wait and see the (enrollment) numbers,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised they added a class, but I was surprised with the numbers they came up with.”

South Hamilton would remain in 1A based on current enrollment numbers. However, athletic director Todd Coy said he won’t be surprised to see the Hawks drop down to Class A when the official classifications are released.

No changes to state wrestling

Also yesterday, the IHSAA announced there will be no changes to the schedule for the upcoming state wrestling duals and traditional state tournament.

The state duals are set for Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Des Moines. The traditional tournament will run Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 18-20, and all three classes will compete on each of the three days.

An online rumor last week suggested that the state tournament could be changed to one class per day for each of the three days.

“The board feels strongly that the traditional schedule can be safely completed for the largest possible competition and audience at each day of the 2021 IHSAA State Wrestling Championships,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said.

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