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MHS football team gets what it wants with non-district games

March 8, 2014 - Andy Heintz
The Iowa High School Athletic Association released statewide high school football schedules for the 2014 and 2015 seasons Friday morning and the Marshalltown gridders got what they wanted for non-district games.

Marshalltown coach Aaron Shipley and MHS Activities Director Craig Huegel, like all other schools, gave the state a list of six teams they wanted to play in the non-district portion of the season and the top four requested teams were awarded to the Bobcats.

“We felt like if the top four teams we put down lined up with the other four schools, then we should be able to play them,” Shipley said. “I was definitely nervous about it, but we got what we wanted.”

The Bobcats will open the regular season on August 29 at Leonard Cole Field against former Big Eight rival Waterloo East (0-9 in 2013) and then will host former CIML rival Newton (4-5 in 3A) on Sept. 5. The other two non-district games will be on the road as the Bobcats head to Ottumwa (3-6) on Sept. 12 and to long-time rival Ames (11-1) on Sept. 19.

The main two objectives in finding the right fit for non-district foes was competitive games and travel that was within an hour and a half of Marshalltown. And because the state gave each school some latitude on who they wanted to play, that helped the Bobcats in finding a way to bring back some old rivalries.

“We weren’t interested in making our fans drive halfway across the state,” said Shipley. “And we wanted to play 4A games – for the most part – that we know will be competitive. “We thought it would be good to rekindle some of our old rivalries,” said Shipley, who will begin his second season as Bobcat head coach this fall. “We are hoping the fan base is excited to be a part of those games.”

The furthest the Bobcats will travel in 2014 will be the 92-mile trek to Ottumwa and the 93-mile bus ride to Mason City during the district season. In 2015 the schedule remains the same but the teams switch locations and the furthest trip that year is the 96-mile trip to Fort Dodge.

Marshalltown, which went 1-8 last year, will open district play at home on Sept. 26 against the expected favorite in Waukee (10-2) and also will have home dates with Fort Dodge (Oct. 10) and Urbandale (Oct. 17). The Dodgers went 3-6 last year, while the J-Hawks finished 8-3.

The two district road games will be played at Mason City (2-8) on Oct. 3 and at Indianola (6-4) on Oct. 24.

It is not ideal for the Bobcats to open with the Warriors, who gave state champion Dowling Catholic its toughest game in last year’s playoffs. But Shipley won’t worry about where the games fall.

“Every schedule has its challenges,” he said. “We have quality opponents on our schedule and we can’t get worked up about when we play each team.”


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