With the first step of the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment coming this next Friday with the snapshot day, some schools are beginning to get some idea of where they may end up for the next two seasons, with others taking action.
Here’s the latest from small schools across Texas:
As previously reported by TexasHSFootball.com’s Garrett Ross, the Leakey school board voted Wednesday to field a six-man program beginning in the 2018 season. The school is the smallest in 11-man enrollment numbers, but would still be larger than several six-man schools according to head coach Josh Stacey.
“Some of the kids are a little disappointed, since they wanted the opportunity to play 11-man,” the coach continued. “But others are excited. Overall it’s been a positive reaction.”
It is believed that Leakey, located approximately 90 miles northwest of San Antonio, may join Medina and Nueces Canyon in district. The two currently share district space with Eden and Lometa in 9-1A DI, but the former may also be on the move to DII.
The Eagles have recorded only two winning seasons since 1985 at the 11-man level, but won a state title in 1975 at the former eight-man level. Leakey currently stands at a 1-7 record with an 0-2 district mark.
Also last week, the Perrin-Whitt CISD school board voted to drop down to six-man for 2018.
“We have yet to discuss it,” said Pirates head coach Ben Staggs. “We’re just focused on finishing the season.”
Most in the Perrin-Whitt community however appear supportive of the decision. A survey was sent out to the community before the vote Tuesday night, with around 90% of respondents in support of the decision, according to the coach. “A lot of the parents who come to our games are supportive of it,” he continued.
Staggs feels the drop down would be beneficial as far as travel is concerned. Perrin, located north of Mineral Wells in southeastern Jack County, is surrounded by a handful of six-man programs in north central Texas. The coach feels the team may slide into a district with fellow county program Bryson, as well as the three six-man programs in neighboring Montague County (Forestburg, Gold-Burg, Saint Jo), though there’s a possibility Forestburg and Gold-Burg may drop down to DII.
The Pirates have been an 11-man program since football was first introduced to the school in 1961. Perrin is currently 1-6 on the 2017 season, with a 1-1 record in 8-2A DII.
Bluff Dale has fielded junior high teams for the past decade, and this season fielded a junior varsity team, but will jump into UIL district play for the 2018 season, according to head coach and athletic director Scott Wells.Wells enters his 12th year at Bluff Dale in 2018, moving from Morgan Mill to start a football program.
As of publishing time, “there’s no telling” where the Bobcats may end up for district play, according to Wells. “We looked to go south, which may be more beneficial for us.” Located roughly between Stephenville and Granbury on US-377, Bluff Dale could be positioned with nearby programs such as Iredell, Morgan and Walnut Springs.
“The kids are excited,” said Wells. “They don’t care who they’re playing, they just want to play.”
Not too far away, Three Way will enter UIL district play, as a DII school, the district announced last week. The district, located 12 miles southeast of Stephenville, had previously served students only up to junior high. The new high school will field a football program in their first year, along with a brand new high school campus, new weight rooms, and the addition of a press box and concession stand to their home field.
Athletic director Troy Sparks embarks on quite the task in his first year at Three Way. The former Lingleville coach’s first task it appears was to convince the students.
“They’d tell me they’ll move out to Stephenville or Hico or places like that when they’re done with eighth grade,” said Sparks. “But once I started talking with them, and we started getting our equipment in, they became so excited about the opportunity.”
With a decent population of six-man programs in the Stephenville area, there’s much opportunity for the Braves to learn and grow. The coach believes they’ll be paired with Iredell, Walnut Springs and Morgan as far as district competition is concerned.
For the historians, Three Way is not to be confused with the former Three Way school district located in the community of Maple in Bailey County. This school was formed in 1945 with the consolidation of three area schools, and fielded a six-man football program through most of its history. The school closed in 2002 after consolidating with the Sudan ISD.
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