LEAKEY, Texas — On Oct. 11, Morton High School dropped to the 6-man classification with approval by the UIL as an “outlaw” program that will play exhibition games against opponents in the new classification for the remainder of the 2017 season.
As a part of the agreement, Morton forfeited all of its District 3-2A Division II games — primarily due to lack of health and difficulties associated with fielding an 11-man football team. Count Leakey High School as the newest team to join the ranks of the newly or expectedly designated.
The Eagles, currently 1-6 overall and 0-1 in District 14-2A Region IV, are reportedly on the move per Superintendent Barbara Skipper. A recent press release from Leakey ISD stated its intent to move the football program back to the 6-man/1A football classification after a unanimous school board decision Wednesday, citing a lack of size as a justification for the move.
“Serious injuries have plagued the Leakey Eagle Junior High and High School teams this year as they faced older and larger players on the other teams,” said board member and Athletic Director Donnie Dutton.
In the past 20 years, the Eagles have a record of 162-259, with one season over .500. This season, teams like Hubbard and Wortham, were playing 6-man games with their JV teams while others like Mount Enterprise were forced to cancel district games due to lack of numbers.
When football opens this Friday, only 16 Leakey players will be able to suit up and step onto Eagle Stadium.
Next week, Dutton and Skipper must file the district’s intent to not only play UIL Football next school year but also whether or not it would be a 6-Man or 11-Man Football program. In February, the UIL will release which teams Leakey will play next school year in six-man football.
They are in a similar situation that Nueces Canyon and Medina ISDs faced when they successfully transitioned to 6-Man football and its faster pace and 80-yard fields in 2016.
Leakey, though, has a history of success at the sub-11-man football classifications. In the 1970’s the program was a powerhouse in the state’s now-defunct 8-Man football league. Dutton, as well as Principal DeeAnna Blanton, too, have experience on the 6-man level.
Blanton’s previous school, Zephyr, finished 9-3 overall and reached the UIL 1A regional final in 2016. The Bulldogs are undefeated through six games in 2017.
*Additional reporting by Marcus Matthews-Marion
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