The Iowa Newspaper Association’s annual all-state football teams were released recently. And let’s just saw, things didn’t go well.
The INA Board of Directors changed the process this season. Instead of in-person meetings in Des Moines on the Sunday after the state title games were played, the INA went to an all-Internet ballot.
No discussion. No statistics. Just a bunch of a names and schools.
This format fell flat on its face. There were great selections, players that belonged on the team. No doubt about that.
There were also some head scratchers, mostly because we aren’t sitting in a meeting and discussing things like adults.
The INA felt like they needed more participation.
In past seasons, media members willing to drive to Des Moines converged to choose the teams.
Each writer can vote in one meeting but a lot of times if I am voting in Class 2A but have all-state players in my other classes, I would give the writers in those other meetings a sheet of paper with my information about other area athletes who should be considered.
Most of the meetings have at least five writers who are involved in the process. And most of the time, we have writers from several different parts of the state.
That wasn’t good enough for the INA. Besides overall participation, one of the publishers involved in this change told me personally that one of the reasons she wanted it changed was because we didn’t pick very good teams in the past.
I never got the feeling that we blew it that much in the past. We always had coaches in those meetings, and they helped us figure out the teams, too.
I wonder what that publisher is thinking now after what came out this past week. The teams are not very balanced, and those that couldn’t vote before because they didn’t want to drive three hours one way made their voting rights known this time around.
Writers from up in the Dubuque and Sioux City area had more kids than ever on all-state teams. I truly believe they stuffed the ballots this year.
I am happy for Baxter’s Travis Lindemoen and Braydon Aker and Colfax-Mingo’s Zarek Hill.
Lindemoen and Aker were both first-team selections at wide receiver and quarterback, respectively, in the 8-man class. Hill earned third-team honors as a defensive back in Class A.
It was pretty easy for those three. The statistics helped a lot, even though I thought Hill leading the class in interceptions should have meant more, at least he was honored.
Lindemoen and Aker lit up the scoreboard on the offensive side of the field. Lindemoen had a state-record 36 receiving touchdowns and 1,662 yards. Aker was tops in the class with 2,615 yard, 52 touchdowns and just four picks. He also rushed for 647 yards and 16 more TDs.
Those two were no-brainer first-team selections.
Hill probably should have been at least second team after leading Class A with a school-record eight interceptions. He also had two defensive touchdowns, three fumble recoveries and 46 tackles.
Unfortunately, I only had one vote.
That brings me to my next point. Baxter offensive lineman Will Clapper was a second team all-state pick on the offensive line in 2A. He was not selected anywhere in 8-man this season.
There were a lot of misses. That was certainly one of them. And because Clapper plays on the offensive line, it’s hard for writers to know his value unless we can talk about it in a meeting.
I will tell you about Clapper. He will play Division I football. That’s a lock. He’s already visited Iowa State several times. He made a visit to Northern Iowa and Illinois State recently, too.
Two of the three first team offensive linemen played for the state champion Don Bosco. The other was a linemen from Colo-NESCO. And the word I got was that Baxter dominated the Royals in a Week 0 scrimmage.
Another all state offensive lineman came from Midland, which Baxter defeated this year.
This just doesn’t make sense to me. But I knew this was going to happen before the voting began.
We can’t pick all-state teams online. We can’t just go by statistics with everyone. We have to have a place for discussion and the coaches have to have a voice.
The INA has until March to get things fixed before the all-state basketball meetings. I hope we get to at least have something where discussion is part of the process
Contact Troy Hyde at firstname.lastname@example.org