Sports and Outdoors


Coaches Await UIL Realignment
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE-Coaches around the tri-county area will be scrambling to fill out 2006 football and volleyball schedules today and tomorrow, following the biennial UIL district realignments.
New district alignments in all five classifications was set to be announced at 9 a.m. Thursday (today) by the University Interscholastic League. A complete roundup of Cedar Creek Lake area school alignments will be presented in Sunday's issue.
For some, trying to figure out what the UIL will do is often as entertaining as anything coming out of Austin, although if anyone says they know what will happen prior to the 9 a.m. release, don't believe them.
Will Mabank and Athens stay in Class 4A's toughest district? Will Eustace stay in 3A or fall to 2A? Will Malakoff remain in 2A or fall to Class A?
Even if nobody changes classifications, who will be in the district?
Will Mabank continue to soldier on against the likes of Ennis, or will they be moved east to face Athens (again), Palestine and Jacksonville?
"I try not to guess," Mabank athletic director and head football coach Jimmy Cantrell said Tuesday.
"We've got to prepare to play somebody," he added. "I'm not going to change my workouts to reflect who we're going to play.
"It would be nice to go down (in classification) and be the big fish in the sea, but I can't depend on it," Cantrell said.
Mabank, with 915 students, and Athens, with 900, were the two smallest schools in District 14-4A going into the 2005 football season, compared to Red Oak, with 1,501 students, and Ennis, with 1,453 students.
If this year's realignment followed the 2004 numbers, 900 students would be the cutoff for Class 4A, although no one expects the UIL to use the same numbers.
This reporter remembers the consternation at Como-Pickton, when they found out the school was 0.3 students over the limit to remain in Class A, and at Fruitvale, where the Bobcats were moved up from six-man football to 11-man football at a time when there were only 39 boys enrolled in high school.
At one time, Venus (who played Kemp in non-district games the last two years) was in Fruitvale's six-man district. In one realignment, the Bulldogs went from six-man to Class 2A. Now, that's a jump.
Eustace and Kemp were among the smallest 3A schools last year.
It's possible Eustace might drop down to 2A. Eustace athletic director and head coach Brad Scoggin had surgery Monday, and was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Kemp AD and head football coach Walt Mangan doesn't expect the Yellowjackets to change classifications, as the 3A bottom line hasn't come nearly close enough for some time now.
The biggest disparity problem coaches face is the ratio of students from one school to the next in the same district, Mangan said.
"We turned in 470 (students), but we're playing Kaufman, who turned in 891," he said. "That ratio is one of the things they (the UIL) have to keep in mind."
However, the only way to avoid ratio problems is to create a new classification, 6A, for the very largest school districts. That's not going to happen this time.
One change this year is 5A districts will qualify four teams, not three, for the playoffs. Also, 1A districts will begin taking three teams to the playoffs this year.
"But, you have to remember 20 percent or 30 percent of the 1A teams don't play football, so you have to keep in mind those basketball districts, to keep people from having to travel a long way," Mangan said.
"You also have to figure on the number of teams in the district," Mangan added. "For the last couple of years, we've had a five-team district."
The best a coach can do is have a number of teams lined up before the realignment is announced, he said. However, he can't nail down his non-district games yet.
"Mabank and Athens are both scheduled as non-district games, but they may be district games (if both drop in classification)," Mangan said. "I'm not expecting us to change. I'm just waiting to see who we're going to play."


Pirates Hijack Bulldogs
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE-The visiting Crandall Pirates used a strong first-half push to get past the hosting Eustace Bulldogs 54-35 Friday.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to visit Wills Point Tuesday. Friday, Feb. 3, the Bulldogs will fill a bye date in their schedule with a visit to Emory to face the Rains Wildcats. A 5 p.m. freshman contest will open a three-game slate.
Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Bulldogs will resume District 12-3A play at home against the Kaufman Lions, again opening with a 5 p.m. freshman game.
Friday, the visiting Pirates took advantage of cold shooting by the hosting Bulldogs to open an 11-4 first-quarter lead, and then outscored Eustace 19-14 in the second quarter to take a 12-point halftime lead, 30-18.
Crandall managed to hold off the Bulldogs in the second half, padding their lead by two points in the third quarter and five points in the fourth period.
Miles Lytle led the Bulldogs with 10 points, as Colton Walsh scored eight, Jordan Nixon had six, Robert Bonner five, Jacob Skoda four and David Graves two points.
Kyle Root led Crandall with 11 points.
Crandall's teams swept the evening's contests, taking the junior varsity game 56-35, and the freshman game 48-27.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace Bulldogs Jordan Nixon (at left) and Jacob Skoda (3) trap a Crandall Pirate following a missed Eustace shot during the first half of Crandall's 54-35 victory Friday.


Kaufman Hands Kemp First Loss
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN-The hosting Lions took advantage of a depleted Kemp lineup to edge the visiting Yellowjackets 49-47 Friday, handing the defending district champions their first loop loss.
Now 3-1 in District 12-3A play, Kemp had a scheduled bye Tuesday, and will open the second round of district play at home Friday, Feb. 3, against Crandall.
Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, the 'Jackets will visit Wills Point, opening with a 6 p.m. girls varsity contest. 
Kemp lost starting point guard Joseph Simmons to illness (breathing complications) in the second half, but the 'Jackets controlled the tempo for most of the contest, leading by as much as nine points, 42-33, with 4:38 to play.
The 'Jackets opened the bruising, physically demanding contest with a 13-2 run, helped by back-to-back 3-point baskets from Simmons.
Kaufman got back into the game with a 12-2 run, taking the lead, 45-44, with 1:45 to play.
The Lions' 6-7 junior post, James Valledares, scored six of his team-high 16 points during the Lions' run.
"We didn't keep him off the boards, or secure the ball well enough," Kemp coach Tracy Carter reported. "Their defensive pressure caused too many unforced turnovers."
Senior Bryan Svoboda's half-court desperation heave at the buzzer was just short.
The 'Jackets loss overshadowed an outstanding effort by junior post Jacarri Culberson, who scored 28 points on 9-of-10 shooting (including three treys), along with 12 rebounds and two steals.
Simmons finished with nine points on three treys, along with two steals.
Steve McKinney added four points, five assists and two steals, while Svoboda finished with two points and eight rebounds. Kevin Freeman and J.D. Cook added two points each.


Lancaster Rips Mabank
Monitor Staff Reports
LANCASTER-The hosting Lancaster Tigers handed the Mabank Panthers a 64-45 setback Friday.
Now 10-12 on the year and 1-4 in District 14-4A play, the Panthers were scheduled to open the second round of district play at Ennis Tuesday.
Friday, Feb. 3, the Panthers will host the Athens Hornets, with a 5 p.m. freshman contest opening a three-game slate. Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Panthers will visit Corsicana, again opening with a 5 p.m. freshman game.
At Lancaster, the hosting Tigers opened a three-point lead in the first quarter, but the Panthers came back to cut the lead to a single point, 26-25, at halftime.
The Tigers took control in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 15-8 in the third quarter and pulling away in the fourth quarter, 23-12.
Tyler Hamilton led the Panthers with 19 points, with Chris Johnson, Jason Burks and Heath Browning all scoring five points.
Also, Mark Groom and Haydon Blair scored four points each, while Chris Purdue added three points.


Closing The Trap

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank Lady Panthers Miranda Groom (30) and Emily Tucker trap Lancaster Lady Tiger Jerick Jenkins in front of the Mabank bench during Lancaster's 53-42 win over Mabank Friday. Details of the game were not available at press time Tuesday.


Upcoming Games
Varsity Boys

Feb. 3
*Mabank vs. Athens
*Kemp vs Crandall
Eustace @ Rains

Feb. 7
*Mabank @ Corsicana
*Kemp @ Wills Point
*Eustace vs Kaufman
*denotes district games

Varsity Girls

Feb. 3
*Mabank @ Athens
*Kemp vs Crandall
Eustace idle

Feb. 7
*Mabank vs Corsicana
*Kemp @ Wills Point
*Eustace vs Kaufman
(end regular season)
*denotes district games

Varsity Soccer
Feb. 3
MHS boys @ Athens
MHS girls vs Athens

Feb. 7
MHS boys vs Jacksonville
MHS girls @ Jacksonville

Feb. 10
MHS boys @ Palestine
MHS girls vs Palestine

Feb. 3
MHS vs Terrell, FW (scr)
Kemp vs Athens (scr)

Feb. 10
MHS vs Kemp, Ferris (scr)

Feb. 11
Mabank @ Terrell (scr)

Feb. 13
Mabank @ Mildred

Feb. 14
Kemp vs Athens

Feb. 6
MHS vs Kemp

Feb. 10
Mabank @ Crandall

Feb. 11
Kemp @ Royse City