Newton’s football schedule for 2020 looks a lot different than the past two seasons.
Only three teams from the recent two-year cycle made it onto Newton’s latest slate as the Iowa High School Athletic Association released schedules for every prep football team in the state on Thursday.
“I like our non-district matchups. I believe all four are winnable games for us if we work hard to do so,” Newton first-year head coach Andy Swedenhjelm said of the Cardinals’ nine-game football schedule. “Three of the four non-district teams are from our request list we submitted to the state so we’re excited about that.”
The Cardinals (3-6 in 2019) open the season against Class 2A Prairie City-Monroe for the third straight year. Newton also plays Grinnell and Oskaloosa inside Class 3A District 6 action.
Newton will play five home games in 2020, hosting PCM (8-3) on Aug. 28 and 4A Marshalltown (5-4) on Sept. 4 during non-district play and Grinnell (6-3), Clear Creek Amana (5-4) and Benton (8-2 in 2A) during the district slate on Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, respectively.
Road games in 2020 will be played against 3A Carlisle (7-3) on Sept. 11 and 3A Ballard (3-6) on Sept. 18 in non-district action and Cedar Rapids Xavier (8-2) and Oskaloosa (6-4) in district play on Oct. 2 and Oct. 23, respectively.
“Carlisle is a nice, tough and physical team. I think they’ll mirror the type of style (Cedar Rapids) Xavier will play,” Swedenhjelm said. “It’s a good matchup for us to get used to playing physical teams in our district. Xavier is a top-tier team in the state and to get to that level we have to take on teams like Carlisle.”
PCM and Benton were both playoff teams in 2A last year, while Carlisle, Oskaloosa and Cedar Rapids Xavier advanced to the 3A postseason.
It will be the first meeting against Marshalltown since 2017, first games against Ballard and Benton since 2015 and the first contest with Carlisle since 2011. The Cardinals defeated Clear Creek Amana in the 2014 playoffs in their only meeting.
PCM plays four games at home in 2020, hosting 1A Pella Christian (5-5) on Sept. 11 and 3A Knoxville (6-3) on Sept. 18 in non-district action and Centerville (5-4) and Albia (1-8) in 2A District 8 play on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, respectively.
After playing at Newton, PCM goes to West Marshall (6-4) on Sept. 4 and plays at Chariton (5-4) and at Saydel (0-9) on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, respectively, in district play before closing out the year at Clarke (3-6) on Oct. 23.
PCM head coach Greg Bonnett got what he wanted in a challenging non-district schedule.
“I think it’s going to be very important for us to play all of the competition we can get early and often during the season,” Bonnett said. “When you open the season at Newton it’s no secret that you are going to be in a great game in an awesome environment.”
West Marshall was a 2A playoff team in 2019 and Pella Christian made the playoffs in 1A.
“The No. 1 team I requested for non-district was West Marshall,” Bonnett said. “We had spoke to each other and agreed to do that. I feel like they are going to be a very good team and a great way to measure where we are at.”
Knoxville and Albia are the only new opponents on the schedule. Knoxville replaces Roland-Story in non-district play and Albia takes the place of Des Moines Christian in the district.
“I think it makes sense for us to play Knoxville because of the proximity,” Bonnett said. “I really believe by adding them we created another great night of football and in another very exciting environment, which is what I want because I know how fun it is for the players.”
The Mustangs have played Pella Christian every year since 2008 and have faced Clarke every year since 2010. They have played West Marshall nine times since 2008. Knoxville is back on the schedule after playing PCM every year from 2007 to 2013.
Colfax-Mingo (3-6) is one of four 1A schools to open the season with two straight road games. The Tigerhawks get Class A Lynnville-Sully (1-8) on Aug. 28 and then play at Woodward Academy (0-9) on Sept. 4.
“I hate having two straight road games to start the season,” Colfax-Mingo head coach Jeff Lietz said. “It is what it is, but kids like playing at home and teams typically play better at home. If we scrimmage on the road, it will be a long time before we play in front of our fans.”
The other three road games come in 1A District 7 play against Interstate 35 (5-4), Mount Ayr (7-3) and Pella Christian (5-5) on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 23, respectively. The four home games are against Class A Wayne (6-3) on Sept. 11 and Class A North Mahaska (0-8) on Sept. 18 in non-district action and Pleasantville (5-4) and Central Decatur (5-5) inside the district on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, respectively.
Lietz said Lynnville-Sully, North Mahaska and Woodward Academy were the Tigerhawks’ top three non-district choices. They also had Wayne on their list.
The Tigerhawks haven’t played Central Decatur since 2013 and haven’t faced Mount Ayr since the 2015 playoffs. Colfax-Mingo will play L-S for the seventh straight year and North Mahaska is back on the schedule after a two- year hiatus.
“We wanted to keep the rivalry with Lynnville-Sully going,” Lietz said. “We also were happy that North Mahaska reached out to us. They are a conference school that’s a short drive away.
“It’s nice to see some new teams. Those trips in back-to-back weeks to I-35 and Mount Ayr will be hauls though.”
Mount Ayr and Pella Christian were both playoff teams last season.
Lynnville-Sully will see several new teams in 2020. The Hawks (1-8) open at home against Colfax-Mingo and then host Pleasantville on Sept. 4 in non-district action and also host BCLUW (1-8), Grundy Center (11-2) and North Mahaska (0-8) in Class A District 7 action on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 23, respectively.
The other road games are against Lisbon (4-5) on Sept. 11 and 1A East Marshall (1-8) on Sept. 18 in non-district play and against North Tama (10-1) and Belle Plaine (7-3) inside the district on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, respectively.
“I’m excited about how our schedule is set up with opportunities to play some old rivals from the former Des Moines Rivers Conference and several new opponent opportunities,” Lynnville-Sully head coach Mike Parkinson said. “We’re excited about the opponents we have, and it’s certainly a challenging schedule.”
The Hawks have not played East Marshall, BCLUW, Grundy Center or North Tama in at least the past 10 years and last faced Lisbon in 2011. Grundy Center was the Class A state runner-up in 2019 and North Tama also won a playoff game.
Lynnville-Sully has played North Mahaska in each of the last 10 seasons.
Parkinson said he liked seeing Colfax-Mingo and North Mahaska still on the schedule. He wanted to maintain a tradition with those schools.
“Lisbon surprised me a little bit, but it’s good to go back there. We played there in the 2011 playoffs,” Parkinson said. “We start district play at home against BCLUW and we should be battle tested by then and be ready physically for a good game. We’ll see how the rest of the district schedule shakes out, and we end the season at home against North Mahaska. That’s a great way to end the season — against a rival.”
Baxter (5-5) only has one non-district game and it will be played at home against Moravia (3-6) on Sept. 25.
The Bolts, who will play in Class 8-man District 5, open the season at home against Meskwaki Settlement School (3-6) on Aug. 28 and the rest of the home slate includes BGM (8-2), Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-3) and Colo-NESCO (3-7) on Sept. 11, Oct. 9 and Oct. 23, respectively.
The road games for Baxter includes Iowa Valley (5-4) on Sept. 4, Collins-Maxwell (6-4) on Sept. 18, HLV (8-3) on Oct. 2 and GMG (1-8) on Oct. 16.
BGM was a playoff team in Class A last year and GMG also dropped down from 11-man. HLV and Gladbrook-Reinbeck were 8-man playoff team in 2019.
The Bolts have never played Iowa Valley, BGM, Moravia, HLV or GMG. They played the other four schools each of the past two seasons.
“We are excited about playing some new teams,” Baxter head coach Rob Luther said. “We will be young so we are more focused on us than the schedule right now. It should be a very competitive district.”
Newton High School
2020 Football Schedule
Aug. 28 — vs. PCM
Sept. 4 — vs. Marshalltown
Sept. 11 — at Carlisle
Sept. 18 — at Ballard
Sept. 25 — vs. Grinnell
Oct. 2 — at Xavier, Cedar Rapids
Oct. 9 — vs. Clear Creek Amana
Oct. 16 — vs. Benton Community
Oct. 23 — at Oskaloosa
Aug. 28 — vs. Colfax-Mingo
Sept. 4 — vs. Pleasantville
Sept. 11 — at Lisbon
Sept. 18 — at East Marshall
Sept. 25 — vs. BCLUW
Oct. 2 — vs. Grundy Center
Oct. 9 — at North Tama
Oct. 16 — at Belle Plaine
Oct. 23 — vs. North Mahaska
Aug. 28 — at Newton
Sept. 4 — at West Marshall
Sept. 11 — vs. Pella Christian
Sept. 18 — vs. Knoxville
Sept. 25 — at Chariton
Oct. 2 — at Saydel
Oct. 9 — vs. Centerville
Oct. 16 — vs. Albia
Oct. 23 — at Clarke, Osceola
2020 Football Schedule
Aug. 28 — at Lynnville-Sully
Sept. 4 — at Woodward Academy
Sept. 11 — vs. Wayne, Corydon
Sept. 18 — vs. North Mahaska
Sept. 25 — at Interstate 35
Oct. 2 — at Mount Ayr
Oct. 9 — vs. Pleasantville
Oct. 16 — vs. Central Decatur
Oct. 23 — at Pella Christian
Aug. 28 — vs. Meskwaki Settlement
Sept. 4 — at Iowa Valley
Sept. 11 — vs. BGM
Sept. 18 — at Collins-Maxwell
Sept. 25 — vs. Moravia
Oct. 2 — at HLV
Oct. 9 — vs. Gladbrook-Reinbeck
Oct. 16 — at GMG
Oct. 23 — vs. Colo-Nesco