Maple Grove, Prior Lake, Shakopee grouped with Lake Conference football teams in 2015

  • Updated: August 7, 2014 - 5:35 PM

Two divisions of West Metro teams will replace conferences to handle regular-season scheduling.

The five football teams that make up the potent Lake Conference will play games against Maple Grove, Prior Lake and Shakopee when Minnesota moves to district-based scheduling in 2015.

The Lake and all other conference names will disappear in the new plan, which establishes 18 districts across the state to manage the scheduling of regular season games. Four of those districts encompass most metro-area teams. Within those districts, it’s expected that sub-districts will be established to help with scheduling.

The West Metro district will have North and South divisions. The South division will include current Lake Conference members Eden Prairie — winners of the last three big-school state championships — Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Wayzata, along with Maple Grove, Prior Lake and Shakopee.

The West Metro North division includes Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Centennial, Champlin Park, Coon Rapids, Osseo and Totino-Grace.

Each team will play seven games within its division and one crossover game against a team from the other division.

The Minnesota State High School League announced the new groupings of teams in early June in response to growing concerns about longer travel needed to ensure a full slate of eight games. In recent years some teams, notably those in the Lake, have enlisted out-of-state teams to play games. Some have played only seven regular-season games.

Conferences remain in place for the upcoming 2014 football season, which begins with games on Aug. 22. Most teams will play their first game on Aug. 28 or Aug. 29.

The district scheduling plan does not affect conferences in other high school sports. It also has no bearing on the sections used for post-season football playoffs.

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