Your Prep Sports
The opening week of the high school football season is just four short months away.
Teams across the state got their first glimpse of what 2021 will look like on Monday as the Iowa High School Athletic Union released complete schedules for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Even though the first few games won’t kick off until August 27 it is never too early to start talking football.
We take a look at what stood out or a key date or two on the schedules for all seven Your Prep Sports area teams.
Here is a few quick notes on area team’s schedules by class.
A new era of City High football kicks off this fall with first-year head coach Mitchell Moore taking over for long-time coach Dan Sabers.
City High closes the season with three road games in four weeks, all against Mississippi Athletic opponents, with a trio of trips to the Quad Cities to face Davenport North, 2020 semifinalist Pleasant Valley and Davenport Central surrounded by a home game with Davenport West.
Late games Davenport North (3-4), Davenport West (0-8), Davenport Central (2-7) offer the opportunity for a strong finish but the key for Moore and the Little Hawks this season likely lies in the opening five games – a stretch that includes rivalry games against Liberty High and West High and a visit from defending runner-up West Des Moines Dowling.
The week 6 game against Davenport North and the week 9 contest against Davenport Central are both Thursday evening games at Brady Street Stadium in Davenport.
West High continued to build upon its reputation as one of the premier programs in Eastern Iowa with a 6-1 season in 2020 that included a trip to the 4A quarterfinals.
With that status as a marquee program comes a schedule filled with perennial eastern Iowa powerhouses and the 2021-2022 slate is no different for West High.
West High has a pair of challenging opponents to start the hoasting Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-4) in the season opener and travelling to Dubuque Hempstead (7-2) in week three.
The end of the schedule is even more difficult as West High hosts Bettendorf (5-3) on October 8, travels to Cedar Rapids Prairie (5-3) in week eight and closes the regular season at home against defending 4A semifinalist Pleasant Valley (10-1).
James Harris takes over as head coach at Liberty High after the Lightning went 2-3 last fall in its third season as a varsity program.
Liberty High opens the season at home against City High and will be seeking a third consecutive win over the Little Hawks after thrilling wins in the series the past two seasons.
The opportunity is there for a solid start for Harris in year one with a road trip to Linn-Mar (1-5) in week and hosting Western Dubuque (5-4) before opening Class 4A, District 3 play.
The key stretch for the Lightning comes at the start of district play as Liberty High faces budding rival Clear Creek Amana (4-4), defending state champion North Scott (9-1), Mount Pleasant (4-4) and Fort Madison (7-2) in its first our district games.
Clear Creek Amana
Another area team that underwent a coaching change in the offseason as former Mount Vernon defensive coordinator Matt Haddy takes over for Gabe Bakker.
From week one to week nine the Clippers face one of the more challenging schedules in Class 3A.
Clear Creek Amana gets an opportunity for a measure of revenge in its opener, traveling to Marion after having its season end with a playoff loss to Marion last fall.
Home games against Independence (6-2) and Washington (8-1) and a trip to Liberty High round out non-district play before the Clippers faced a 4A, District 4 gauntlet that includes road trips to Cedar Rapids Washington (3-5) and Cedar Rapids Xavier (10-1) and a visit from Pella (6-3).
The Spartans rebounded from back-to-back losses to open the season by rattling off seven straight wins on their way to reaching the 2A quarterfinals last season where they lost to eventual 2A champ Waukon.
A 3A team in the new seven-class format for 2021, Solon faces a challenging schedule as it attempts to replicate its postseason success from a year ago.
Five of the nine teams on the Solon schedule advanced to the round of 16 or further last season with two 2021 opponents (West Liberty and Grinnell) reaching the quarterfinals.
Seven of the Spartans’ opponents were .500 or better a year ago, four teams won eight or more games (Williamsburg, Davenport Assumption, Washington and Grinnell) and three (Assumption, Williamsburg and Washington) were 8-1.
A week 4 trip to Davenport Assumption is a Thursday evening contest at Brady Street Stadium.
In perhaps the least surprising revelation from the release of the schedules Regina is once again set to face a formidable non-district slate.
During its more than decade-long string of success Regina has made it a habit of opening the season with games against opponents from larger classes including last season when it faced 4A Pleasant Valley and Class 2A Clear Lake.
That doesn’t change this season as the defending Class A champion Regals face a non-district slate comprised of a trio of 2A opponents that combined to go 18-8 last season.
Regina hosts Williamsburg (8-1) before road trips to West Liberty (6-3) and Mid-Prairie (4-4) and opens district play at home against Mediapolis (7-3).
The most highly anticipated date on the West Branch schedule was likely the Regina game, which is set for week seven at Regina.
However, the Bears have their own intriguing slate of non-district opponents beginning with a season-opener at Lisbon which is coming off a 7-3 season and a trip to the Class A Round of 16.
The Bears host a Waterloo Columbus team that went 8-2 and advanced to the 1A quarterfinals last season before closing non-district play against Maquoketa Valley.
West Branch faces 1A, District 5 contenders Mediapolis, Durant and Regina in succession starting with a week-five road trip to Mediapolis which downed the Bears in the postseason a year ago.