Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Go west, young man was advice given in the 1800s to head to the frontier.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association has Sigourney-Keota, Cardinal and Van Buren County headed west to play football in the next two seasons.
The three schools previously were in a district with Mediapolis, Pekin and Louisa-Muscatine but now will travel to three different schools in Pella Christian, Central Decatur and Pleasantville the next two years as part of Class 1A District 6.
Only the district champion was guaranteed a playoff berth before last season when every team was in the postseason. The top four of the six district teams in 1A are playoff bound the next two years.
“It’s a good mix of old and new teams,” Van Buren County head coach Brian Johnson said. “We are looking forward to the new challenge. It definitely didn’t get any easier.”
Central Decatur will have the most travel with 120 miles to Sigourney, more than 100 to both Cardinal and Van Buren, 90 to Pella and it’s shortest district game is Pleasantville at 80 miles.
“If you are a high school coach worried about travel, you are wasting energy worrying about the wrong things,” Cardinal coach Landon Miller said. “I have been one of the biggest critics of the association over the years, but I think on this one, they did a good job.”
Sigourney-Keota has two playoff losses to the Pella Christian Eagles in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Mediapolis had been the mongoose for the Cobras but “all indicators point to Pella Christian as that team now,” Cobras head coach Jared Jensen said. “I think it is a good change to see some new competition and see how we match up. We are excited and ready to get things rolling for the 2021 season.”
The Central Decatur Cardinals struggled last season, having moved up from Class A where it was a .500 team the previous two years.
Its enrollment is at 179 as is Pella Christian. Van Buren County is 174. Cardinal is the ninth largest 1A at 199. Carroll Kuemper is first at 215. Sigourney’s 134 combined with Keota’s 55 put the Cobras at 189.
Pleasantville is typically a solid football team that finishes in the top half of a district. The Trojans are the smallest 1A school at 169 students in grades 9-11.
No team in Class 1A and only three others in the state rushed for more yards than the Cobras last season. But 2,200 of those yards have graduated in Sam Sieren and Brady Duwa.
Cardinal was fifth in the class in passing yards and 100 percent of the passing (Maddux Jones and Blaine Bryant) and 91 percent of the receiving returns (Griffin Greiner, Landon Becker, Bryant, Ian Liles).
The Warriors were 25th in rushing and three sophomores (Sam Warth, Wyatt Mertens, Caden Summers) accounted for 68 percent of that total.
• Teams: 48
• Districts: 8
• Teams per district: 6
• Playoff qualifiers: 32
• Automatic qualifiers: 32, top four per district
• At-large berths: None.
• Regular-season games (per team): 8
• District games (per team): 5
• Non-district games (per team): 3
Union area Class 1A district teams:
Cardinal (2020 in 1A-6, 5-4; 2019 in A-6, 4-5)
Sigourney-Keota (2020 in 1A-6, 10-1; 2019 in 1A-5, 8-1)
Van Buren County (2020 in 1A-6, 1-6; 2019 in 1A-5, 1-8)
Central Decatur (2020 in 1A-7, 2-6; 2019 in A-8, 5-5)
Pella Christian (2020 in 1A-7, 6-4; 2019 in 1A-7, 5-5)
Pleasantville (2020 in 1A-7, 5-3; 2019 in 1A-7, 5-4)
TOTALS LAST SEASON AND CLASS RANK
TDs Total Yards Passing comp-att-yards td-int Rushes-Yards
Cardinal 39 13th 2,506 38th 108-159-1,759 (5th) 21-2 195-747 48th
Sigourney-Keota 65 2nd 5,268 2nd 38-63-785 (31st) 14-3 464-3,489 1st
Van Buren County 15 43rd 2,332 42nd 13-45-193 (54th) 1-3 253-1,572 25th
Central Decatur 17 39th 2,503 39th 66-183-1,225 (17th) 6-9 199-783 47th
Pella Christian 38 16th 3,685 11th 87-190-1,461 (10th) 14-6 316-1,571 25th
Pleasantville 39 13th 3,251 23rd 56-107-753 (32nd) 7-5 371-2,107 14th