Forest City Esports gearing up for first-ever in-person state playoffs

In its debut season, Forest City Esports has its first-ever playoff team. The Rocket League team will compete for a state title Friday in Des Moines.


The Forest City Esports team is competing in just its second-ever title. They started this fall with Super Smash Bros and are now competing in Rocket League-best described as soccer with a car.

The state’s Rocket League teams were broken down into four districts, with roughly seven teams in each, by the state’s Esports governing body, the Iowa High School Esports Association (IHSEA). Each team played a best of five series against every other school in the district, with the top-2 teams making the eight-team playoff.

Forest City felt good in early December when the season started with a beatdown of Abraham Lincoln high school in Council Bluffs. Forest City won 3-0,  with game scores of 9-1, 17-0, and 7-1. Their success continued by sweeping their next three opponents and started the season 4-0. The team of Josh (JSH8402) Kawalek, Carter (Pokepig_) Stricker, Izaak (Preemo78) Olson, and Sam (SamGrave_) Giret ran into their first tough match in week five against Greene County. After winning the first game, Forest City fell in their first game of the year in the second, before coming back and winning the third and fourth game to move to 5-0 on the season, via a 3-1 win. Three of the four matches went into overtime, making the match feel closer than 3-1. From there, it was clear sailing. In weeks six and seven, Forest City dominated to end their first Rocket League season 7-0.

With their impressive season, Forest City earned the #1 seed in the upcoming Rocket League Playoffs, which for the first time, an Esports championship will be played in-person or on Local Area Networks (LAN). Forest City Esports coach Ryan Friederich says a member of the IHSEA asked the playoff coaches if they’d want to do the Esports championship during the upcoming National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors conference (NAECD):

The Indians didn’t just luck into a successful first season. The team put in extra work, including practices and studying films of the upcoming opponents.

With this, a first-time event, Friederich and everyone else is interested to see what things will look like and how it will run. Friederich assumes some of the matches will be played in Grand View University’s Esports space.

The university was one of the first in the US to add Esports and has built a state-of-the-art facility for its teams, including 1,800 sq ft, 36 fully furnished gaming stations, and a projector and video review area.

As the top overall seed, Forest City will match up with Hampton-Dumont-CAL in the opening round. The tournament will be double elimination, with the winners of opening round matches guaranteed top-4 and losers are playing for 5th-8th. The other matchup on the top side of the bracket is Des Moines East vs. Linn-Mar. The bottom of the bracket is Iowa Falls-Alden vs. Thomas Jefferson and Wapello vs. Osage.

The Forest City Esports Twitch channel,, will stream all Indians’ matches on Friday. The IHSEA will also be streaming some of the events’ matches on their channel, The Rocket League portion of the tournament is set to kickoff at 12:00 PM.

Esports in the state had a boom over the summer and into the fall as schools started adding teams at a rapid pace, and Friederich doesn’t feel it will slow down.




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