Iowa City Liberty’s varsity football existence will begin with a road contest against an intracity foe.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association released 2018 and 2019 football schedules Wednesday morning. Liberty’s first game is Aug. 24, at Iowa City High.
“I think it’s exciting,” Liberty Athletics Mike Morrison said. “Obviously, it will be a great environment for our first game against what will become one of our city rivals.”
City AD Terry Coleman said, “It will be a really interesting game. Hopefully this develops into a really nice rivalry.”
Liberty’s first home game is Week 2 (Aug. 31), against Waterloo East. Maybe.
“I’m a little concerned on whether our stadium will be ready for Week 2,” Morrison said. “If it’s not, we’ll have to move it to West or City.”
According to a release by the IHSAA, 68.8 percent of schools competing in 11-player football received all four schools they requested on their non-district priority list, and 93.6 percent received at least three.
The 4A non-district schedule features 12 “East-vs.-West” matchups, and a number of Metro/Iowa City teams are involved.
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In Week 3, Cedar Rapids Kennedy is at West Des Moines Valley, Cedar Rapids Prairie hosts Waukee, City High hosts Ames and Iowa City West entertains Southeast Polk. In Week 4, Linn-Mar hosts Urbandale.
“Our schedule is exactly what we expected, and very close to what we wanted,” Kennedy Coach Brian White said. “We started talking with Valley a long time ago, and we had them very high on our wish list. We really wanted to reach out and play somebody on the west side of the state.”
The IHSAA “opened the borders” for potential out-of-state games, but when schedules came out, there were only three, and none involved area teams.
In other news:
• The three-way Kingston Stadium rivalry of the three Cedar Rapids Community public schools is intact. Kennedy and Jefferson open the season at Kingston, then the J-Hawks face Washington in Week 4. Washington and Kennedy open district play against each other in Week 5.
• Defending 3A state champion Cedar Rapids Xavier doesn’t face any 4A teams, but the Saints’ non-district schedule is plenty formidable. Xavier is at perennial 1A power Iowa City Regina to kick off the season, then plays games against Decorah (home), Davenport Assumption (home) and West Delaware (away). The Saints’ four non-district opponents combined for a record of 32-12 last season.
• Speaking of Regina, the Regals also have an ambitious non-district schedule that includes Xavier, Williamsburg and Pella Christian. The Regals will not play Solon the next two years.
• Solon and Mount Vernon will continue their Week 1, Highway 1 rivalry. They’ll play at Solon this season.
• Defending 2A champion Waukon opens at Decorah.
• Iowa City West and Iowa City High are in the same district, and the Battle for the Boot is Week 9 at West.
The schedules for 2019 will be the same as 2018, with home-and-away flipped.
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