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North Scott players listen to head coach Kevin Tippet after a game earlier this season. The Lancers will compete in Class 3A each of the next two seasons.

Andy Abeyta, QUAD-CITY TIMES

North Scott is moving into a new football classification. The Lancers, though, will butt heads with several familiar faces.

After establishing themselves as a playoff regular each of the past 10 years in Class 4A, the Lancers will compete in 3A for at least the next two seasons.

District assignments were released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association on Thursday. The Lancers are lumped into 3A District 5 with Davenport Assumption, Central DeWitt, Clear Creek Amana, Clinton and Iowa City Liberty.

"You look at our district, it is pretty solid," North Scott coach Kevin Tippet said. "Assumption has beaten us two years in a row. Everything I hear about Liberty and the kids they're getting out of Iowa City, they're going to be pretty solid.

"It helps a little that two of the five games you're going to play, you got a little familiarity and know the tendencies of those teams."

The IHSAA trimmed the 4A field from 48 schools to 42. Based on enrollment figures, North Scott and Clinton were among those that dropped down, along with Western Dubuque, Waterloo East, Newton and Council Bluffs Lewis Central.

"You look at 3A, it is very deep across the board," Tippet said.

Tippet said North Scott did consider petitioning to remain in 4A. It had conversations with the school's administration and officials at the IHSAA.

"If you don't look at all your options, you're not doing your program justice," Tippet said. "We had a lot of good conversation, and we decided in the end we'll play what the state gives us."

Besides Assumption, North Scott has faced Clinton on a yearly basis. The other three schools in the district will be fresh opponents.

The next step for the Lancers and all other schools is submitting their priority list of non-district opponents by Feb. 7. Each school's schedule should be finalized in early to mid-March.

Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, Davenport Central and Muscatine are among the schools Tippet would like to possibly see on North Scott's non-district schedule.

"I'd like to play some of the schools we've developed rivalries with," Tippet said. "It'll be interesting to see how it works with the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) and how some coaches approach it now.

"Some teams may not want to play us, but it is important to maintain some of those rivalries. Playing PV has been great for both schools."

The Quad-City metro schools were split into two Class 4A districts.

District 4 is comprised of Davenport North, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Linn-Mar, Muscatine and PV.

None of those schools were in PV's district the past two years, but the Spartans played all of those programs at some point in the past four seasons.

"You never know what you're going to get," PV coach Rusty VanWetzinga said. "There is some familiarity with Muscatine and the two Iowa City schools.

"I think our district is fair, pretty balanced."

It leaves Bettendorf, North Scott and possibly Assumption as viable non-district options for PV. There is a strong chance PV will face Moline as the IHSAA allowed teams to schedule games outside the state Wednesday.

"For an eastern school to travel to Des Moines, you're talking about taking almost a day off Friday," VanWetzinga said. "Plus, you've got to take gate (receipts) into consideration.

"With the state opening borders, there is some potential there."

Bettendorf, Davenport Central and Davenport West are in District 5 along with Burlington, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Washington.

It'll mark the first time Bettendorf and Kennedy have been in the same district. The Bulldogs have played Washington each of the past two years in non-district games.

In addition to North Scott and Clinton, several other Q-C programs adjusted classifications.

Louisa-Muscatine and Tipton moved up from 1A to 2A; Northeast dropped from 2A to 1A and Durant went down from 1A to A.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.