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UIL 11-man football title games to be played in Arlington

By Rick Kretzschmar rickk@news-journal.com
July 25, 2011 at 11 p.m.


FORT WORTH - The ultimate goal for some Texas high school football players last year was to play at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. In 2011, that applies for all players in 11-man football.

UIL athletic director Mark Cousins announced on Monday at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel that all 10 11-man state championship football games will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, starting with the Class 3A Division I game on Dec. 9, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The nine remaining games will be held Dec. 15-17. The game which will be played on Thursday, Dec. 15 will be the Class A Division I game at noon, the Class A Division II game at 4 p.m. and the Class 2A Division I game at 8 p.m.

The games scheduled to be played on Friday, Dec. 16 are the Class 3A Division II game at noon, the Class 4A Division I game at 4 p.m. and Class 4A Division II game at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 17, the Class 4A Division II game will be held at noon, followed by the Class 5A Division I game at 4 p.m. and the Class 5A Division II game at 8 p.m. In 2010, the Class 3A, 4A, 5A games were held at Cowboys Stadium while the Class A and 2A games were played in nearby Mansfield.

UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said having state championship games played on a Thursday could motivate Class A and 2A coaches to play state semifinal games the previous Thursday as well. Cousins said finances were a concern in moving the Class A and 2A games to Cowboys Stadium, but added feedback from schools from those classifications indicated athletic directors wanted the move. Cousins declined to say how much it costs to rent Cowboys Stadium for a day.

"Last year, we were getting 12,000 in Mansfield and the stadium in Mansfield was nearly full," Cousins said. "If we can get, eight, 10, 12 thousand to Cowboys Stadium, you would think they would do pretty well."

The six-man state championship games will remain at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. Those games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 10, with the Division I game at 2 p.m., followed by the Division II game at 7 p.m.

UIL deputy director Jamey Harrison said on Monday that UIL state championships will continue to be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest and will not be shown on the Longhorn Sports Network. Harrison said the UIL is in the second year of a five-year contract with Fox Sports Southwest.

Harrison said this agreement applies from the state-quarterfinal round forward for all sports regarding broadcasting rights. The Longhorn Sports Network, run by ESPN, is expected to debut on Aug. 26 and will focus on University of Texas athletics. Harrison said whether contests in rounds preceding the state-quarterfinal round or regular-season contests were shown on the Longhorn Sports Network or not were up to individual school districts.

Cousins said beginning with the 2012-13 school year, Class A will have two divisions in track and field and each division will determine their own champions. Because Class A will have a Division I and Division II in track and field, the number of state champions for each event will increase from five to six at the 2013 UIL State Championships.

Cousins announced that beginning with the 2012 realignment, any school can request to play up a classification, such as a Class 4A school playing at the 5A level. Previously schools wanting to move up either had to prove difficulties in travel or be part of a multi-school district.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HOUSTON

Tatum native Bryce Beall has put together solid credentials at running back at the University of Houston, but in order make him more impressive at the NFL level, his workload will increase this fall.

Houston assistant head coach Tony Levine said on Monday Beall will be on kickoff and punt coverage this fall, Beall's senior season. This will add on to his tailback duties, which have been so good he has been named to the watch list of the Doak Walker Award given annually to the nation's best running back.

In three seasons at Houston, Beall has rushed for 2,787 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. Beall was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2008 and earned all-conference honors in 2010.

"Bryce's work ethic is excellent and there's not much else we can do to improve his running, but they dress just 45 players in the NFL and a lot of them will play special teams," Levine said.

If all goes well, former Longview Lobos Bryce Redman and Aaron Johnson should have considerably more playing time on offense this season for Houston.

Levine said Redman, a redshirt freshman, is the projected starter at right guard. Johnson, a sophomore, is expected to be in the mix to be a starting receiver.

Redman and Johnson were key players for Longview's Class 4A Division I state runner-up teams in 2008 and 2009, with Johnson playing quarterback.

"Bryce really loves to come to practice and to play football," Levine said. "I bet as we speak right now, Aaron is working in the weight room."

Houston is coming off a 5-7 season, 4-4 in Conference USA.

SMU

SMU head coach June Jones said he is looking for a good season from Tatum native Larry Centers Jr., a redshirt freshman receiver, despite a setback in spring football.

Centers was unable to participate in the spring because of a thumb injury. Jones said Centers has evolved in several areas as a receiver. Centers is a son of Larry Centers, a 14-year fullback in the NFL who excelled in catching passes out of the backfield.

"He's fast and he runs good routes," said Jones, who coached in the NFL from 1987 to 1998. "The way he catches passes reminds me of his father."

Jones said he realizes that Centers Jr. may have been overshadowed at Tatum by other standouts such as running back B.J. Allen but added Centers' running back background has helped him at the collegiate level.

"A lot of successful receivers have been ex-running backs," Jones said. "Larry is just right for us."

SMU was 7-7 in 2010, 6-2 in Conference USA.

NORTH TEXAS

Daniel Prior, a Henderson product, has made a position change which has impressed the new regime at the University of North Texas, but he needed an adjustment in equipment.

Originally a linebacker, Prior - a junior - moved to tight end last season. First-year head coach Dan McCarney deferred questions about Prior to second-year offensive coordinator Mike Canales, who said he was impressed with Prior's toughness as well as special teams play.

This toughness continued into the spring, but the first day of practice caused a cut.

"He was wearing his old linebacker helmet, and he got bloody with all the hits he made," Canales said. "He said, 'I better get another helmet.' We told him he could have any helmet he wanted."

ALL-STAR LUNCHEON

A chance for a head-to-head hit between two area players in tonight's Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game could happen if Joe Brown tackled B.J. Allen. It wouldn't be the first time.

Brown, a Longview product, will play safety for the North squad while Allen, a Tatum product will play running back for the South. They will play each other in the all-star game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Brown will play college football for Northwestern State this fall while Allen will play for Baylor.

"We play streetball against each other," Brown said. "We would play each other on Sundays at Lobo Stadium."

Allen said he is disappointed he is not playing with five other area players, especially considering Tatum is north of Carthage and Carthage quarterback Anthony Morgan is on the North squad. Allen said he has enjoyed working with South running back Fred Ford, a Kirbyville product and Stephen F. Austin signee, because they have similar running styles.

Brown said he has enjoyed working with Daingerfield quarterback Tyler Boyd, even though they will be enemies soon because he will play for Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State's arch rival in football.

"Tyler Boyd has got a big heart," Brown said.

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Cord Fletcher and Tyler Boyd gave high marks to their East Texas peers. Boyd, who helped Daingerfield win three consecutive state titles, said he has been most impressed by Fletcher, Joe Brown and Carthage quarterback Anthony Morgan. Boyd said because Morgan and himself are both 5-9, undersized for quarterbacks, they are kindred spirits.

Tonight's game could be the last as a defensive tackle for Dillon Ivory, an Ore City product and Trinity Valley signee who will play for the North.

Ivory said he has enjoyed working with North offensive linemen Nathan Butler and Tyler Halerumal this week. Butler, a Southlake Carroll product will play for Abilene Christian University while Halerumal, a Sulphur Springs product who will play for Missouri Southern.

"They're both really good," Ivory said. "They taught me that blocking is more about working for leverage than just strength."

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