Sports and Outdoors
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Mabank, Kemp back in 13-3A again; Eustace drops to 2A and new surroundings
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKEAs anticipated, both Mabank and Eustace dropped in classification in Mondays UIL biennual realignment.
Mabank dropped from Class 4A to Class 3A, while Eustace dropped from Class 3A to Class 2A.
Both Mabank and Eustace were at the bottom of their respective class enrollment cutoff numbers Mabank was four students over the 4A limit and Eustace just two students over the 3A limit and regularly competed against schools with twice their enrollment.
For Mabank, the realignment puts the Panthers back into very familiar surroundings a District 13-3A that looks almost exactly like the district the Panthers left on their move up to 4A two years ago.
Kaufman, Crandall, Ferris and Kemp are all back in place the only difference is that North Forney has moved in to take Eustaces place.
North Forney is a brand-new school, and next fall will mark the start of the Falcons first varsity season in football.
For Eustace, the drop to 2A means very different surroundings, playing teams they have not faced before, with a couple of exceptions.
I was surprised by the alignment, Eustace athletic director Doug Wendel said Monday.
Wendel had speculated the Bulldogs might be in a district with teams to the south and east. It never occurred to me that we would go out west, he said.
One of the new wrinkles in this years realignment is different districts for football and basketball for 2A and smaller schools.
In Eustaces case, the Bulldog football team will compete in District 6-2A, along with Dallas Life Oak Cliff (who the Bulldogs have played the last couple of years), Grandview, Maypearl, Palmer and Sunnyvale.
Life Oak knows us a little bit, Wendel said. Palmer has gone through at least two coaches since weve last played them. Sunnyvale (located just east of Mesquite) is playing their first UIL varsity schedule.
Wendel confessed he didnt know anything about Grandview and Maypearl not even where they are. (Maypearl is located in Ellis County, due south of Midlothian, and Grandview is a little farther west, in Johnson County, on I-35 West between Alvarado and Itasca.)
Dallas Life Oak Cliffs Lions, Palmers Bulldogs, Grandviews Zebras and Maypearls Panthers all come from the former District 15-2A, losing Godley and Rio Vista.
Now, thats just the football district.
For basketball, the Bulldogs will be in District 14-2A, which includes Blooming Grove, Buffalo, Corsicana Mildred, Jewett Leon, nearby Malakoff and Teague.
Outside of Malakoff, I dont know anything about any of them, Wendel said. Looking at baseball, I know a number of those teams are very good in baseball.
Were as pleased as we can be, he added. Well have about 65 kids out for football, and everybody else will have about 65 kids, as well.
Wendel and every other head coach spent most of Monday morning on the telephone, trying to work out football schedules for next fall.
Nobody can sign contracts, locking games in place, until Monday, Feb. 22, but both Wendel and Kemp athletic director Greg Anderson agreed earlier to play in the season opener Zero Week.
Our non-district is going to be tough, tough, to help us get ready for district, Wendel said. I think (the game with Kemp) will help both programs. Itll give the kids something to look forward to during the dog days of August, and I think that will help both teams.
At Kemp, Anderson said he anticipated being in a district very similar to the one broken up two years ago. With about 500 students, Kemp is on the low end of the 3A range (430 to 989) and wasnt expecting to move up or down in the realignment.
North Forney surprised me, Anderson said. I expected us to stay with Wills Point.
North Forney is a new program, but the coaching staffs at all four of the other schools (Mabank, Kaufman, Crandall and Ferris) are still in place from two years ago, Anderson noted.
We knew if Mabank came back down, we would stay with them, he added. As for Forney, I think next year will be their first year in varsity play, but theyll have some athletes. That school probably wont stay 3A after this first (alignment).
At Mabank, athletic director Jimmy Cantrell was relieved to be back playing similar-sized schools.
This gives us a chance, he said Monday. Anytime youre playing schools that have twice as many kids as you have, it presents problems.
Kaufman, Crandall and North Forney are all about the same size as we are about 800-900 students and Ferris, too, Cantrell noted. Kemp is around 500. It balances everything out. At least, its a lot more balanced than it was.
Almost all of Mabanks 4A opponents Forney, Lancaster, Mesquite Poteet, Red Oak, Terrell and West Mesquite will be joining Corsicana, Ennis and Waxahachie to form a new District 15-4A, which appears likely to be one of the toughest 4A loops in the state.
Cantrell said the new 13-3A also will be a tough district. One of the toughest games we played last year was the Kaufman game, he said.
Plus, the annual Kemp-Mabank grudge match will be a district contest again.
It wont be a rainout this year, Cantrell promised. Itll be played somehow, somewhere.
Canton keeps EHS winless
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