Several area high school football teams find themselves in new districts and even new Classes this fall.
Warsaw has moved up from Class 2 to Class 3 and Cole Camp has risen from 1 to 2.
In Class 5, the opening of Battle High School has altered the District landscape, knocking Smith-Cotton out of its spot in District 4 with Camdenton, Lebanon, Rolla, Waynesville and Washington. This season, the Tigers are in District 6 with Carthage, Belton, Ruskin, Neosho and Williard.
Carthage is also new to the district, moving up from Class 4 this fall. Neosho also moves into the district from Class 5, District 5 following an 0-10 2013 season.
Lee’s Summit West won the district last season, but they will not be around to defend the title as they have moved up to Class 6. Parkview and Central (Springfield) have moved to other districts as well.
Williard fell to Lee’s Summit West in the district title game last year after posting a 7-2 regular season record. They open the 2014 campaign against West Central Conference newcomer Nevada.
Ruskin went 1-9 last season and was shut out in its final three games.
Belton was 3-8 last year.
In Class 3, Versailles is no longer in the same district as Ava, Springfield Catholic, Salem and Buffalo. Instead those teams are now district rivals with Class 3 newcomer Warsaw, along with Osage, St. James and Mountain Grove.
Versailles’ new district alignment still includes Eldon, the team which knocked the Tigers out last season, but now also includes Boonville, Blair Oaks, Southern Boone, California, Fulton and Owensville. California reached the state semifinal a year ago.
In Class 2, Cole Camp finds itself in District 7 with Knob Noster. That district also includes St. Paul Lutheran, Father Tolton, Holden, Hallsville, South Callaway and Higginsville.
Higginsville won that district in 2013, beating Holden in the district final.
Cole Camp’s former Class 1 spot goes to Lincoln as the Cardinals return to 11-man football for the first time in two years. The Cardinals are in Class 1, District 4 with Kaysinger rivals Tipton, Sacred Heart and Windsor. Defending district champion Crest Ridge is still in the district while Skyline, Osceola and Appleton City move in.
Sweet Springs slides over to Class 1, District 6 along with Santa Fe where they have the tough task of trying to take down a Marceline team which reached the state final in 2013. Also in that district are Slater, Salisbury, Fayette, Westran and Harrisburg. Westran won a district title in 2013.
The 8-man districts look similar to the 2013 alignment except Lincoln’s move to 11-man football reduces District 4 to five teams. Northwest will still vie with Norborne, Southwest, Chilhowee and Hardin-Central for a district crown.
The other change implemented by MSHSAA this fall is one to the calendar. By starting practices on Aug. 4 this year, teams will be playing their first games Aug. 22 and concluding the regular season Oct. 17, one week earlier than in 2013. That will allow all classes to play six rounds of playoffs culminating in the Show-Me Bowl at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis Nov. 28-29 without the Friday-Wednesday-Monday-Friday schedule in use in years past.