BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Iowa high school football schedules go in two year rotations with four games at home one year and five the next. However, in 2017, the Hounds will get the benefit of another district’s improvements and will play one additional game at home this year.
The first home game of the year against Davis County was originally set to be played in Davis County, but will now be played at home.
FMHS Activities Director Andy Mitchell said Davis County is in the process of upgrading facilities and won’t be able to host the game.
“This past spring Richard Evans, activities director at Davis County, informed me that they could be redoing their football field and home bleachers. If that became a go, there could be a chance they would not be ready for game one,” Mitchell said Friday.
This is the first year for Fort Madison Head Football Coach Tony Shiffman who hopes it continues to fuel an already excited fan base.
“With everybody telling me how excited the community is, it’s even better opening at home on Aug. 25th,” Shiffman said. “We hope to fill the stadium and keep fans glued to the action as best as we can. Then we hope to see the same crowd the next week against Central Lee.”
Mitchell said he and Evans stayed in touch after the work at Davis County was approved to begin and discussed options of what to do if Davis County couldn’t host the game. He said different neutral sites were discussed. Then in the spring, Evans asked Mitchell if Fort Madison would be willing to host the game.
“I said that wouldn’t be a problem, even if we didn’t know until closer to the season. We decided at that point if Davis County couldn’t host, that Fort Madison would – instead of trying to find a neutral site. He asked me to contact him in late July or early August to see what their progress was,” Mitchell said.
“I contacted Rich on Monday. He said the project would not be completed on time and asked if we would host. I agreed. I then contacted the IHSAA to let them know of the situation. :
Mitchell said the IHSAA sets the football schedule in two-year cycles. This would be the second year of the current cycle. Each school gets nine home games in those two years.
“Last year we had four, this year we were scheduled for five. The change with Davis County gives us six this year. I can’t tell you the last time that happened,” he said. “It is nice to us on many fronts, but in particular, a chance for our kids to play another game on their own field.
In an unrelated matter, the Sept. 15th home game against West Burlington-Notre Dame will now be against WB-ND-Danville as West Burlington approved last week to allow Danville to share in that co-op football program.