Football: A big change for Hayfield and SouthlandPublished 9:35pm Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Hayfield and Southland football teams will see some big changes when they take the field this fall.
The two squads will see some different opponents and they’ll also see a different schedule as both teams have already started practice due to the zero week, which means they will open their seasons Aug. 23 and have a bye week later in the season.
Hayfield, which is an HVL team, and Southland, which is Three Rivers team, will also play in the same Division this year as they are part of the newly formed Southern Football Alliance.
The three-division conference combined the Three Rivers and HVL and divided the schools based on their enrollments. Hayfield and Southland will play in the Blue Division, which features the nine smallest schools in the conference.
“It’s always good to be playing schools around your same size,” Hayfield head coach Andrew Weiers said. “That helps our mentality going into the season and building on year two with a new coaching staff helps as well.”
The Vikings have won just one game since 2009, so they’ll be glad to be get powerhouses like Kasson-Mantorville and Rochester Lourdes off their schedule. Hayfield already has more players out this season than it did last year at this time.
The division includes Goodhue from the HVL, but the rest of the division is Three Rivers teams, including Caledonia, Chatifeld, Fillmore Central, Kingsland, Rushford-Peterson and Wabasha-Kellogg.
Southland’s numbers are down this year and head coach Shawn Kennedy is expecting the division to be a tough one for his team to play in.
“I think it gets more difficult,” he said. “We’re playing great teams. Goodhue is a class program, I think Hayfield will be extremely tough this year and Fillmore Central is a well coached team.”
The Rebels and Vikings could now develop a rivalry with each other as the schools are just a 28-mile stretch of Highway 56 apart.
The two teams will meet in Hayfield Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
“We’re really happy about the new league change,” Hayfield linebacker Merrick Ducharme said. “We’re definitely looking towards the Southland game. We’re looking for them to be our new rival since they’re close to us.”
Since the Blue Division has nine teams, the zero week had to be used so everyone can play each other once, with one team having a week off every week.
The early start to practice didn’t seem to have a damper on any of the Hayfield players on Thursday as they were pumped up to be in pads for the first time.
“We love coming out here,” Hayfield tight end Carter Pesch said. “It’s good for us to get here a week early for practice and have more fun.”
Kennedy said there are some problems that come with starting the season in early August, but he said it will pay off when the Rebels have a week off in October.
“It’s kind of a blessing that we won’t have a game that week,” he said. “By that time of the season, you’re pretty banged up and you can rest and go scout some other teams.”
Southland will open its season against Rushford-Peterson in Adams Aug. 23 at 7p.m. and Hayfield will open its season at Goodhue Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
Southern Football Alliance
Blue Division: Caledonia, Chatfield, Fillmore Central, Goodhue, Hayfield, Kingsland, Rushford-Peterson, Southland and Wabasha-Kellogg
White Division: Winona Cotter, Dover-Eyota, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Lewiston-Altura, Pine Island, St. Charles, Triton and Zumbrota-Mazeppa
Red Division: Byron, Cannon Falls, Kason-Mantorville, La Crescent, Lake City, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rochester Lourdes and Stewartville
Divisions are based on school enrollment sizes.