Realignment mayhem: Coaches anxiously waiting to find out districts, finalize schedules
Feb. 1, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Will old rivalries renew or will new flames emerge?
Whatever the case may be, the wait for who area teams will meet in district action over the next two seasons is in the eleventh hour.
At 9 a.m. Monday, the UIL will release the realignment numbers for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, three months removed from releasing reclassification numbers ahead of time for the first time ever.
With the release came the addition of Class 6A, which is essentially what has been 5A in recent years. What was once called Six-man is now Class A, and so forth.
While most area schools simply saw a change in the name of their respective class, Longview and Tatum should see the biggest differences when the 2014 schedules are finalized.
The Lobos will remain in Class 5A, but should play in a district comprised of East Texas teams instead of having to play Dallas area schools.
Longview joins 13 other East Texas schools in the new 5A, which for head coach John King has produced an offseason of uncertainty in regards to filling out a non-district slate.
"There's so many unknowns heading into Monday," King said. "We do know that there's 13 teams in East Texas that are going to be in the same classification. We could be in a district with any number of combinations. It has made it a nightmare to try to schedule non-district games and get in the rivalry games that we've had in the past.
"Hopefully we will have some luck on Monday."
Tatum makes the jump from Class 2A to Class 4A. Since Class A through 4A will be broken into Division I and Division II, narrowing down the options for Tatum head coach Andy Evans and Spring Hill athletic director Mark Sartain.
Tatum and Spring Hill will be in Division II, along with Gilmer, which will be among the largest 4A Division II schools in the state with a snapshot count of 685.
"There are two districts, one north and one south," Tatum head football coach Andy Evans said. "We are right in the middle. We could go south with Center and Diboll, or we could go with Gilmer or Spring Hill.
"It makes it tough, because you can't schedule. We have three games set, but we could lose one of them."
Sartain added: "I've done this for a while and there's no way you can predict what the UIL is going to do, but it's been helpful with them releasing the cutoff numbers early and knowing the division cutoffs. We've all made out lists of what we think and you have to jump on the opportunities that come up Monday.
"Releasing the numbers allowed us to make a rough plan for Monday."
Waskom head coach Whitney Keeling said that during the last realignment, he saw several projections, and none included DeKalb. When the official districts came out, Waskom and Elysian Fields were both in a district with DeKalb.
"We prepare ourselves the best we can," Keeling said. "The release of the numbers helped some because we know who exactly is in our class, and we can try to schedule some teams that we feel won't be in our district."
Tyler Lee is East Texas' lone school in 6A.
Class 6A: 2,100 and above
Class 5A: 106-2,099
Class 4A: 465-1,059
Class 3A: 220-464
Class 2A: 105-219
Class A: 104 and below
4A Division I: 686-1,059
4A Division II: 465-685
3A Division I: 315-464
3A Division II: 220-314
2A Division I: 158-219
2A Division II: 105-157
A Division I: 55-104
A Division II: 54-below
(Staff writer Brandon Ogden contributed to this story)