A new era begins for the 331 Iowa high school football teams that will be playing the sport this fall. For the first time since the debut of district football, all nine games scheduled during the 2018 and 2019 seasons will count toward postseason qualification.

New district assignments that will be in place the next two years were released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) on Thursday (Jan. 25, 2018).

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Under classification and district format changes approved by the IHSAA's Board of Control this week, some area teams will be competing at a different level when the season begins in August. Most notably, Waterloo East moves down to Class 3A and Gladbrook-Reinbeck will compete as an 8-player varsity program for the first time in school history. East has played at the Class 4A level for many decades, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck has been a Class A program.

For the first time in six years, Iowa teams will be able to play opponents from neighboring states. Under a policy approved by the IHSAA's Board of Control, games against out-of-state opponents will take place in the first four weeks of the season.

The IHSAA schedules all games for each of its 331 football-playing schools. While the district assignments were released on Thursday, schedules won’t be released until early February.

This week, the Board of Control also approved changes to the playoff qualification system in Iowa.

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