The result of the Iowa High School Athletic Association's realignment of the high school Football Districts for the next two years means the Cherokee Braves, along with many other teams, have been uprooted from playing familiar foes and long-established rivals.
As shown in the past, new opponents and greater traveling distances between schools leads to far fewer people attending the games, as the fans have displayed less interest in their teams playing an unknown opponent, be it home or away.
However, the IHSAA also faces scheduling struggles as it attempts to create 8-team districts in five classes (A through 4A), plus eight-player districts, while shuffling school classifications precipitated by school mergers, dissolutions, and declining enrollments in most rural districts.
Cherokee's 2010 schedule includes non-district games at Storm Lake and at home against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, and District games at home against Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto, at Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove, at home against JSPC Jefferson, at home against Carroll Kuemper Catholic, at East Sac County, at Southern Cal/Rockwell City-Lytton, and at home against Missouri Valley.
The 2011 schedule is the same, with the home and away games switching places.
The only natural rivalry remaining for the Class 2A Braves is the annual season opener against long-time rival 3A Storm Lake, a Lakes Conference foe in all other sports. Spencer, also a 3A Lakes Conference rival, has been replaced by Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn on the Braves non-district schedule.
The IHSAA adjusts and realigns the prep football districts every two years.