Intead of having a larger district with more district games to determine post-season qualifiers, Union will have just five district games for the next two seasons.
Joined by former 3A neighbors Benton and Vinton-Shellsburg, Union will play in Class 2A, District 7 for the 2018 and 2o19 seasons.
Other teams in the new 6-member district include Roland-Story, West Marshall and Nevada.
“The majority of the coaches I spoke with wanted nine-team districts where you would only have one non-district game,” says Union Coach Joe Hadachek. “We ended up with six-team districts and four non-district games to open the season. It’s interesting to say the least.”
One similarity to last year, when Union played district foes Waukon (the 2017 State Champ), Western Dubuque and others, this year’s district will include some challenging opponents, said Hadachek.
“I believe our 2A district will be extremely challenging, but we are used to that,” he said. “Last year, there were three teams from our district in the final eight 2A quarterfinals. Seven teams dropped down from 3A to 2A status last year and our district has three of them:  VS, Benton, and Nevada. In addition, Roland-Story and West Marshall will be teams that are on the rise and will challenge for a top two spot.  We will need to be ready every week of district play.”
2018 schedule
08/24 Beckman Catholic, Dyersville
08/31 @North Fayette Valley
09/07 Charles City
09/14 @Dike-New Hartford
09/21 Benton Community
09/28 Roland-Story, Story City
10/05 @Vinton-Shellsburg
10/12 Nevada
10/19 @West Marshall, State Center
2019 schedule
08/30 @Beckman Catholic, Dyersville
09/06 North Fayette Valley
09/13 @Charles City
09/20 Dike-New Hartford
09/27 @Benton Community
10/04 @Roland-Story, Story City
10/11 Vinton-Shellsburg
10/18 @Nevada
10/25 West Marshall, State Center

Playoff changes 

Along with the  class re-alignments and the new districts, high school football teams will have a new system for choosing playoff qualifiers this season. While district champions will earn automatic play-off berths as before, a new system will determine the at-large qualifiers. The Iowa High School Athletic Association will end the 17-point tie-breaker system and begin using the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) system.

Similar to that used by NCAA to determine its playoff teams, the RPI uses a formula designed to evaluate a team’s victories and the strength of its opponents. And in another change from previous seasons, the results of all games, including non-district contests, will figure into playoff qualifying calculations.

The association chose to keep the current system of 16 teams in each class, with the last two rounds in each class taking place in the UNI-Dome.

See the Iowa High School Athletic Associations description of the playoff system HERE.