State football realignment puts area schools in four different districts

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) released its football reorganization play Monday that does away with the traditional football conference, and instead creates 18 “districts” throughout the state.

The reason for the change is that many schools were having difficulty scheduling an eight-game season before the playoffs.

The new districts are based on geography, enrollment and similarity in terms of the socioeconomics of a community and the success of the program.

In addition, each school was asked to list a traditional rival.

The new districts have, thus, resulted in having a number of familiar schools that have played each other for years within the same district.

The districts range in size from 12 to 28 teams, and some districts are expected to organize themselves into subdistricts..

The new plan takes effect in the fall of 2015, but schedules are to be completed by November of this year. Crossover games with schools in other districts could be played, but only with approval by the MSHSL.

The move away from football conferences to 18 statewide districts is designed to improve scheduling, starting in 2015. The changes will not effect the sectional playoff system; they are only for regular-season scheduling.

Among area schools:

• Albany will play in the 16-team East Central District.

• Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Browerville, Eden Valley-Watkins, Holdingford, Kimball, Melrose, Minnewaska, Paynesville, , Sauk Centre and Upsala/Swanville are included in the 24-team Mid-State District.

• Alexandria and Rocori of Cold Spring are in the 22-team North Central District.

• Osakis and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle are in the 22-team Midwest District.

The complete list of the schools in those districts is as follows:

EAST CENTRAL

Albany, Annandale, Becker, Dassel-Cokato, Delano, Foley, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Holy Family, Hutchinson, Litchfield, Little Falls, Milaca, New London-Spicer, St. Cloud Cathedral, Watertown-Mayer, Zimmerman

MID-STATE

Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, BOLD, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Benson, Browerville, Eden Valley-Watkins, Holdingford, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Kimball, Maple Lake, Melrose, Minnewaska, Montevideo, Morris/Chokio-Alberta, Paynesville, Pierz, Prairie Valley, Rockford, Royalton, Sauk Centre, Upsala/Swanville, West Central, Yellow Medicine East

NORTH CENTRAL

Alexandria, Bemidji, Big Lake, Brainerd, Buffalo, Cambridge-Isanti, Chisago Lakes, Duluth East, Elk River, Monticello, Moorhead, North Branch, Princeton, Rocori, Rogers, St. Cloud Tech, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice, St. Cloud Apollo, St. Francis, St. Michael-Albertville, Willmar

MIDWEST

Barnesville, Breckenridge, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, East Grand Forks, Fergus Falls, Frazee, Hawley, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Osakis, Ottertail Central, Park Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Pequot Lakes, Perham, Roseau, Staples-Motley, Thief River Falls, United North Central, Wadena-Deer Creek, Warroad.

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