SPORTS HEADLINES

UIL moves Bridgeport, Decatur east

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bridgeport and Decatur are moving east to renew old rivalries.

The two Wise County schools will join Gainesville, Sanger and Krum in District 9-3A in the biennial realignment released by the University Interscholastic League Thursday. The pair are also shifting from West Texas’ Region I to Region II.

”We never predicted that,” said Bridgeport Athletic Director Danny Henson. “In the late ’90s, twice we went into Region II. We always expect to be in Region I.

“But like every other alignment, there’s change, and we’re going somewhere new.”

The move east for Bridgeport and Decatur was one of several surprises for Wise County schools in the newest round of realignment for football and basketball. Schools will begin competing in their new leagues in August and remain in them through June 2014.

The UIL reclassifies its conferences and realigns district every two years. The agency’s member schools turn in enrollments in October. The UIL puts those numbers in order from the largest to smallest then counts down to find the cutoff for Conference 5A and then works down.

Once conferences are determined, schools are grouped geographically.

“We’re happy to get it out there for our members,” said UIL Athletic Director Mark Cousins. “We spent a lot of time on it.

“With 1,311 different schools, people are going to look at how it impacts them. We’re not going to make everyone happy.”

Schools can appeal their assignments. The UIL will hear those appeals Feb. 20.

Most Wise County schools will see their travel for district competition cut in the next two years. Decatur and Bridgeport will avoid trips to Mineral Wells and Burleson going instead to neighboring counties – Cooke and Denton.

“It’s a great district for travel,” said Decatur Athletic Director Kyle Story. “The longest trip is 40 miles to Gainesville. It’ll be nice to have district games that close and get home at a decent hour.”

Boyd and Paradise lost journeys to Howe and Pottsboro in football. The two will now head to Whitesboro, Pilot Point, Ponder and Bowie in District 5-2A Division I.

“It’s closer than what we had before,” said retiring Boyd Athletic Director J.G. Cartwright. “There was a chance we could have went with Godley, Grandview or Eastland.”

Cousins said limiting travel was a goal of the agency.

“With the state of school finance and the budget cuts everyone is facing, one of the primary concerns was travel,” Cousins said. “It’s fair to say we put more emphasis on it this time.”

The UIL could not avoid creating odd-number districts such as the five-team 9-3A. Alvord, Boyd and Paradise found themselves in the seven-team District 9-2A for basketball with Brock, Millsap, Peaster and Ponder.

It’s the second straight realignment Decatur and Bridgeport ended up in an odd-team district.

“It’s a reflection of there not being that many schools in 3A,” Henson said. “There’s a lot of schools bigger and a ton of schools smaller, but not many this size. It makes it harder to schedule.”

Class 3A classification is the second smallest 11-man football conference with 190 schools. Class A has 168 teams.

“Class 3A continues to be the toughest to balance, making sure there’s enough schools and trying to keep an equitable ratio,” Cousins said. “To make the ratio no more than 2 to 1 is difficult. With only 183 schools there’s a real delicate balance. We tried to minimize the number of five-team districts, but we didn’t want to get ratio balance to 2.5 or 2.6.”

He said the ratio was brought down from 2.3 to 2.2 in this round of realignment.

NEW BREAKDOWNS

The UIL realigned districts and conferences Thursday. Here are the new conference ranges and how they compare to 2010-12.

2012-14 … 2010-12
5A … 2090-plus … 2065-plus
4A … 1005-2089 … 990-2064
3A … 450-1004 … 430-989
2A … 200-449 … 200-429
1A … 199-below … 199-below

NEW LEAGUE TO CHALLENGE BULLS, EAGLES

It’s been 12 years since Decatur headed east to join Region II.

The school and its longtime Wise County rival, Bridgeport, will both be going east in the fall to join former league foes Gainesville and Sanger in District 9-3A. Class 3A newcomer, Krum, will round out the five-team district.

The move out of Region I to Region II was unexpected for the athletic directors of Bridgeport and Decatur.

“We never predicted that,” said Bridgeport’s Danny Henson. “In the late 90s, twice we went to Region II. We always expect to be in Region I.”

The move significantly cuts travel and renews old rivalries with Gainesville and Sanger for the Wise County schools.

“It’s nice to change it up and play different people in district,” said Decatur’s Kyle Story. “We still played Gainesville every year, and we’ve been with Sanger in years past. Krum will be a new opponent.”

Basketball powerhouse Krum will be playing varsity football in a district for the first time this fall. The program played a non-district varsity schedule last year.

Krum will be the smallest school in the new league with an enrollment of 460.5. It was 10.5 students above the Class 3A cutoff of 450.

Decatur will be the league’s largest school at 883 and would serve as the Class 3A Division I representative in football if it qualifies for the playoffs.

Sanger came in at 722, Gainesville 676 and Bridgeport 628.

Henson and Story expect a tough district in football.

“It’s going to be competitive,” Henson said.

The league should be competitive year-round. With Sanger and Decatur, it features two of the state’s top programs in cross country.

Decatur cross country coach David Park is looking forward to the rivalry with Sanger.

“I talked with the Sanger coach Clint Davidson, and told him, ‘let’s run each other to the top,'” Park said.

In girls basketball, the playoff-bound squads from Decatur and Bridgeport will be joined by three other teams currently in position to make the postseason. Krum is tied for the District 9-2A lead with Alvord and is ranked second in Class 2A statewide

“It’ll be very competitive,” said Decatur girls basketball coach Billy Garner.

Bridgeport girls hoops coach Dallas Taylor added: “You can’t pick ‘em. You just go play them.”

In boys basketball, the Eagles and Bulls will be joined by the tradition-rich programs at Gainesville and Krum.

“It’s going to be a tough district,” said Bridgeport coach Brian Miller. “Everyone is going to be competitive.”

If the league is the same for baseball and softball, competition is likely to be just as fierce in the spring. The University Interscholastic League will announce the alignments for those sports in March and April.

DISTRICT 9-3A

Decatur … 883
Sanger … 722
Gainesville … 676
Bridgeport … 628
Krum … 460.5

BOYD, PARADISE STAY CLOSE TO HOME

Boyd and Paradise avoided a move out west in the latest round of realignment released Thursday.

For football, the Yellowjackets and Panthers stayed in District 5-2A Division I with Callisburg and Ponder. But they will have new foes with Bowie, Pilot Point and Whitesboro joining the fray.

“It’ll be a good, competitive district,” said Boyd Athletic Director J.G. Cartwright.

Paradise Athletic Director Danny Neighbors added: “From top to bottom, it’ll be a very competitive district. But in our region, you have no choice but to be in a tough district.”

The league keeps the two Wise County schools from heading out west to Eastland or south to Godley and Grandview – rumored alternatives.

The two schools actually cut their travel from the previous league, losing trips to Pottsboro and Howe. The longest trips will now be to Callisburg and Whitesboro.

“Travelwise it’s really good,” Cartwright said.

The district will have three teams dropping down from 3A to 2A – Bowie, Pilot Point and Whitesboro. They will be league’s largest schools. Bowie’s enrollment is at 429, Pilot Point’s 428, and Whitesboro 394. Boyd is at 386, Ponder 370, Callisburg 347 and Paradise 344.

“It will be a challenge with three 3A schools dropping down,” Neighbors said.

Bowie and Whitesboro were both playoff teams last year in 3A.

It is a seven-team league, meaning there will be an open date during district play for all teams.

DISTRICT 5-2A DIV. I

Bowie … 429
Pilot Point … 428
Whitesboro … 394
Boyd … 386
Ponder … 370
Callisburg … 347
Paradise … 344

CHICO SENT IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS

Chico will be heading in two different directions for football and basketball next year.

In the latest realignment released Thursday by the University Interscholastic League, the Class A school was sent east for football and west to compete in basketball.

The Dragons will be in the Class A Division I football league, 7-A, with Lindsay, Collinsville, Valley View, Blue Ridge and Trenton. In basketball, Chico landed in District 11-A with Perrin-Whitt, Poolville, Ranger and Santo.

“It’s one way for football and the totally opposite way for basketball,” said Chico Athletic Director Stephen Carter.

With an enrollment of 160, Chico is the smallest school in the football district. It was 9.5 students above the cutoff for Division II (150.5).

Valley View is the largest at 188.5, followed by Blue Ridge (186), Trenton (176), Lindsay (171) and Collinsville (168).

“Lindsay will be tough, but second and third should be up for grabs,” Carter said about the new league. “We’ll have the opportunity to be a playoff team.”

Carter said there will be more travel in the new league, including an 86-mile journey to Blue Ridge.

But the travel will be even farther in the basketball league with trips to Ranger and Santo.

“We have two close ones [Poolville and Perrin-Whitt], one way out [Ranger] and one in between [Santo],” Carter said. “I told our superintendent that we better budget more for gas.”

DISTRICT 7-A DIV. I

Valley View … 188.5
Blue Ridge … 186
Trenton … 176
Lindsay … 171
Collinsville … 168
Chico … 160

DISTRICT 11-A

Chico … 160
Santo … 154
Poolville … 143
Perrin-Whitt … 123
Ranger … 116

WISE SCHOOLS JOIN ELITE BASKETBALL CONFERENCE

Alvord, Boyd and Paradise will be back in the same basketball league next year but will share it with three of the region’s top traditional powers.

The three Wise County rivals landed in the District 9-2A basketball league with Brock, Peaster, Ponder and Millsap.

Brock, Peaster and Ponder have all won state titles in basketball in the past decade.

“We couldn’t have thought of a worse scenario for basketball,” said Alvord Athletic Director and boys basketball coach Curtis Enis.

Alvord has shared a league with Ponder and Krum the past two years. Krum and Alvord in girls basketball are both ranked in the top four in Class 2A and tied for the league lead.

Boyd and Paradise are currently with Brock, Peaster and Millsap in 10-2A.

“It’s a tough district, but we’re used to playing those people,” said Boyd Athletic Director J.G. Cartwright.

Alvord girls coach Rob Schmucker, whose team is ranked No. 4 (a spot behind Brock), said he isn’t worrying about the new league.

“We’re coming from a tough district,” he said. “We’re losing Krum and gaining Brock.”

Enis said he would have liked to have seen Alvord stay with its members of their football league – Nocona, Holliday, Henrietta, Jacksboro and City View. Those schools have more similar enrollments with Alvord.

“Our football district stayed the same,” he said. “I don’t know why we changed for basketball.

“We’re barely over 200 kids, and we’ll be playing schools with 400-plus kids. They’ve got twice as many kids to choose from. But that’s what you’ve got to deal with when you’re at the bottom of the food chain.”

DISTRICT 9-2A

Ponder … 387
Boyd … 386
Paradise … 344
Peaster … 300
Brock … 267
Millsap … 256
Jacksboro … 255

BULLDOGS STAY WITH OLD FOES IN NEW DISTRICT

Alvord narrowly missed dropping from Class 2A to A in the latest round of realignment announced Thursday.

With an enrollment of 204, Alvord came in five students over the cutoff of 199 for Class A. The range for Class 2A Division II was 200 to 297.5.

Alvord landed in the football District 5-2A Division II with its foes unchanged from the previous alignment – Holliday, Nocona, City View, Henrietta and Jacksboro.

“The football district is staying the same,” said Alvord Athletic Director Curtis Enis. “We competed with everyone with the exception of Holliday this year. We’ve got good kids coming up.”

While remaining with the same schools, Alvord is changing regions, moving from I to II.

“We are with the same schools but went two districts over and changed regions,” Enis said.

DISTRICT 5-2A DIV. II

Henrietta … 284
Holliday … 271
Jacksboro … 255
Nocona … 249
City View … 239
Alvord … 204

TEXANS STAY WITH STATE CONTENDER

The Northwest Texans football team will once again be back in the biggest league with a state championship contender.

The Texans landed in District 4-5A in the latest round of realignment announced by the University Interscholastic League Thursday with defending Class 5A champion Southlake Carroll.

Northwest was in the league with Carroll the past two seasons. Previously, the Texans shared a district with Euless Trinity and Denton Guyer on the way to playing in title games.

Northwest moved up in Region I from 7-5A to 4-5A.

“It’s a little different who we will play in the playoffs,” said Northwest football coach and athletic coordinator Bill Patterson. “It’s a tough district, no question.”

The Texans will be back with Keller schools – Keller, Central and Fossil Ridge. They will be joined by Keller Timber Creek, Haltom and Richland.

“We figured we’d be with the Keller schools,” Patterson said. “Getting the Birdville schools (Haltom and Richland) was kind of a shock.”

DISTRICT 4-5A

Keller … 2647
Southlake Carroll … 2588
Keller Central … 2529
Haltom … 2522
Northwest … 2331
Richland … 2264
Timber Creek … 2199.5
Fossil Ridge … 2191

GREYHOUNDS KEEP RIVALS IN 21-A

The only change for the Slidell Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds in the latest round of realignment was their district number.

Slidell moved from 17-A to 21-A in Division II.

The school will make that move with its current district foes – Bellevue, Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley and Saint Jo.

“It’s what we thought it’d be,” said Slidell Athletic Director Todd McCormick. “It’s basically the same.”

DISTRICT 21-A

Saint Jo … 84
Slidell … 79
Bellevue … 53
Forestburg … 46
Prairie Valley … 38
Gold-Burg … 35
Midway … 34

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