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Football districts announced for 2015

The name may be different, but Red Wing football’s opponents will stay relatively the same. 

On Monday, the Minnesota State High School League unveiled the 18 regions of its new district football schedule, which will come into place in 2015. The goal of district football is to help all teams in the state fill out an eight-game schedule while eliminating the need for teams to look outside of state borders to find opponents

For football fans around Red Wing and the surrounding area, the Big Southeast District will have a familiar look to it. The 12-team Big Southeast will feature 11 of the 12 teams in next year’s Big Nine Conference (Red Wing, Austin, Faribault, Mankato East, Mankato West, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Mayo and Winona), and also will have New Prague. 

After years of trying to get Red Wing out of the Missota Conference in favor of the Big Nine, activities director Matt Schultz was pleased to see the Big Nine stay intact when district football begins.

“That’s what we’ve been pushing for for six years, to get to be in the (Big Nine) Conference,” Schultz said. “I was not necessarily worried about (going to another district), but with all the work we put into joining the conference that it would stay intact.”

When district football was approved by the MSHSL board in January, athletic directors were given a questionnaire asking about conference affiliations, their team’s records over the last three-to-four years as well as questions about rivalry games and where a team believes it fits. 

The respective districts also will have the option of setting up sub-districts, as well as any games against other districts. 

“Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools,” MSHSL Associate Director Kevin Merkle said at Monday’s meeting. “Some districts have a wide range in size and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved.”

Now that district scheduling was unanimously approved by the MSHSL board on Monday, Schultz is pleased that the Wingers still fit with their Big Nine opponents.

“I’ve been an AD for 10 years, and there have been discussions about either section football or district football every year,” Schultz said. “Hopefully people will be happy with a schedule from district football and hopefully, we won’t have to talk about the football schedule for a while.”

Elsewhere around the area, Cannon Falls, Lake City and Zumbrota-Mazeppa will be put in the 16-team Southeast District with most of the teams coming from the Southern Football Alliance Red and White divisions. The Southeast District includes: Byron, Caledonia, Cannon Falls, Chatfield, Winona Cotter, Dover-Eyota, Kasson-Mantorville, La Crescent, Lake City, Pine Island, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rochester Lourdes, St. Charles, Stewartville, Triton and Zumbrota-Mazeppa. 

Goodhue will be part of the 16-team Mid-Southeast District, along with Bethlehem Academy, Blooming Prairie, Fillmore Central, Hayfield, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Kingsland, Lewiston-Altura, Mankato Loyola, Medford, Rushford-Peterson, Southland, St. Clair, United South Central and Wabasha-Kellogg. The Mid-Southeast is composed of teams from the SFA Blue and White, as well as teams from the Gopher Conference.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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