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Iowa shortens high school football season to seven weeks, includes optional game dates
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Iowa shortens high school football season to seven weeks, includes optional game dates

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Iowa’s high school football season plans have changed dramatically.

The state’s boys high school association shortened the regular season to seven weeks and will include every team in a one-time playoff expansion to six rounds.

“The revised plan considers flexibility for school return concerns, geography, postseason qualifying, transportation, and possible COVID-19 cases as rationale for changing previously announced varsity football schedules,” the Iowa High School Athletic Association said on its website. “The first practice (Aug. 10) and first competition (Aug. 27) dates are currently unchanged in this revision, as are the weeks for state semifinals (Nov. 13-15) and finals (Nov. 20-21).”

Teams playing 11-man football have the option of scheduling as few as five games. The first two weeks will be optional game dates. The next five are for the district schedules, with games played in order of the previous schedule. The exception is 4-A, the largest schools in the state, in which schools will create their own schedules for all seven weeks.

In eight-man, teams’ existing schedules will be moved up two weeks, so Week 3 games are now in Week 1. Teams may opt out of playing in Week 1 and Week 2, but may not change opponents or locations unless an agreement is reached with all participating teams and the IHSAA.

Teams will not be charged with a loss or forfeit because of state, county or local health department determinations. A missed game due to COVID-19 will be considered a “no contest” and will not be made up. Open dates can be filled.

For the playoffs, which are to begin Oct. 16, the IHSAA will make pairings with geography, quality and team availability as primary considerations. Schools must declare by Aug. 17 whether to field teams.

Nebraska schools have two games, both on Aug. 27, against Iowa opponents. South Sioux City is at Sioux City West and Omaha South is at Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson. The Iowa schools are allowed to keep those games since they are during the optional playing period.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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