Sports and Outdoors


Local Teams Form New District 13-3A
Monitor Staff Reports
AUSTIN-In a move that parents and fans in the Cedar Creek Lake area will appreciate, Thursday's biennial UIL realignment put Mabank, Kemp and Eustace all in the same district.
Added to that new District 13-3A are two very familiar faces - Kaufman and Crandall - along with Ferris, who has played non-district contests with Kemp for the last two years.
Athens joined Mabank in the drop from Class 4A to Class 3A (that sound you hear is the Hornets celebrating), and will be joining District 14-3A, playing teams to the north and east - Brownsboro, Canton, Van, Tyler Chapel Hill and Bullard.
Malakoff remained pretty much where they were, as the new District 20-2A will include returnees Kerens and Frankston.
Newcomers to the district will include Blooming Grove, Italy, Corsicana Mildred and Rice, who moved up from Class 1A to form the seven-team district.
The Cross Roads Bobcats, Grapeland Sandies and Alto Yellowjackets, who were in the same district with Malakoff, all dropped down to 1A.
They will join Cayuga, Cushing and Oakwood to form the new District 21-1A.
Trinidad's Trojans also stayed pretty much where they were, joining Coolidge (a familiar non-district opponent), Avalon, Dallas Gateway and Penelope to form District 11.
While coaches could (and did) meet and begin hammering out schedules Thursday, the UIL won't let any schools sign contracts until Tuesday, Feb. 21.
For Mabank and Athens, the move down to 3A came as the UIL changed the high school enrollment range to 415-949. In the last two realignments, the 3A enrollment cutoff was 899, bumping both schools to 4A.
Similarly, the 2A enrollment range is 195 to 414, compared to 190-389 in the last realignment.
The 1A enrollment limit is 194, compared to 189 in the last realignment and 179 in the 2002-04 realignment.


Lady Panthers Whip Lady Lions, 46-34
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK-Opening a 12-2 lead, the hosting Mabank Lady Panthers went on to defeat the Ennis Lady Lions 46-34 Tuesday.
Following a Friday night visit to Athens, the Lady Panthers will end their season at home Tuesday, Feb. 7, when they host the Corsicana Lady Tigers. A 5 p.m. freshman game will open the evening's slate.
Up by 12 points at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Panthers led by 14 at halftime, 25-11.
In the third quarter, the visiting Lady Lions cut the Mabank lead by three points, but the Lady Panthers outscored the Ennis girls 14-13 in the fourth quarter to push the final margin.
Hali Schultz led a very balanced Mabank scoring effort with nine points, as Emily Tucker had eight, Miranda Groom seven and Blaire Hyde five.
Also, Shadia Rueb, Shae Johnson and Sadie Guiter all scored four points each, while Kelsi Reynolds and Katie Cross had two points each, and Wendee Cross added a free throw.
Sabrina McAdams led Ennis with 10 points.


Ennis Edges Panthers
Monitor Staff Reports
ENNIS-The hosting Ennis Lions used a strong start to ease past the visiting Mabank Panthers Tuesday, 64-50.
The Panthers hosted Athens Friday night, and will visit Corsicana Tuesday, Feb. 7, with a 5 p.m. freshman contest opening a three-game slate.
Next Friday, Feb. 10, the Panthers will travel to Red Oak, before returning home to wrap up the season against Lancaster. Each evening opens with 5 p.m. freshman games.
Ennis' press gave the Panthers a tough time at the start of Tuesday's game, as the Lions opened a 14-5 lead in the first quarter.
The Panthers came back in the second quarter to cut the Lion lead down to five points by halftime, 34-29, but the Lions outscored the Panthers by five in the third quarter and by four in the fourth to forge the final 14-point margin.
Tyler Hamilton led the Panthers with 21 points, as Jason Burks added 13.
Cody Key and Mark Groom both scored four points, while Brian Hughes and Chris Johnson both scored three points each. Haydon Blair and Heath Browning both added free throws.
Blake Hart led Ennis with 22 points, and Reggie Curry added 12.


TUFL Now Based in Athens
Texas Xtreme Coaches Now League's Owners
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS-The Texas United Football League (TUFL) has officially moved its league headquarters to Athens.
Texas Xtreme coaches Gary Craig and Larry Anding formed the TUFL in 2002, along with Jim Mundy, who is no longer associated with the league, leaving Craig and Anding as sole owners.
The primary purpose of the TUFL is to promote players to a higher level of football. Past players from TUFL teams have moved up to the NFL, NFL Europe, the Canadian Football League, Arena 1 and Arena 2 leagues, as well as foreign professional football leagues.
The TUFL requires players be at least 18 years of age, with no maximum age. Many players have already played college and some professional football.
The TUFL is rated as a AAA league, the highest level of semi-professional football. Games follow NFL rules, with some exceptions adopted to protect players and improve the league.
Opening in 2003 with eight teams, the TUFL opened with 24 teams in 2004, and featured 32 teams in 2005.
This season, 52 teams applied for league membership from the five-state region. Craig and Anding formed six geographic divisions, totaling 31 teams, with the only out-of-Texas team being located in Shreveport.
"We wanted well-established teams to make the TUFL possibly the nation's most competitive league out of more than 600 semi-pro football teams and 60-plus leagues," the coaches said.
The TUFL placed six teams in the top 10 rankings last season.
Craig and Anding have retained a commissioner for the '06 season.
"We feel, as we have been friends with many team owners the past four seasons, and own a team ourselves within the league, we wanted someone making decisions after the season begins, so no one would feel we were biased on any issues," the coaches said.
During the past two years, many semi-pro football teams and entire leagues have folded.
Some of the teams rejected by the TUFL were referred to the Class AA Gulf Coast Football Association (GCFA), and recently, Craig traveled to San Antonio to meet with the GCFA owners and commissioner to discuss the possibility of merging with the TUFL.
Although the TUFL declined to accept the GCFA proposal, talks continue between the leagues about a possible merger for the 2007 season.
Currently, the TUFL is the nation's second-largest semi-pro football league, trailing only the North American Football League, which has 28 teams from 20 states in their NAFL 1 league, with an additional seven teams from two states making up the NAFL 3 league.
"We feel fortunate we could have been the nation's largest semi-pro football league, if all team applications had been accepted," the coaches stated.
Craig and Anding added they owe much of their success for the Xtreme and the TUFL to the continued support of their sponsors, fans, media and individual supporters Charles Hawn, Steve Barksdale, Randy Daniel, and Bill Frizzell of Frizzell Law Firm in Tyler, who serves as the TUFL and Xtreme's legal counsel.
The TUFL season will start Saturday, Feb. 25.

Upcoming Games
Varsity Boys

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

Varsity Girls

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

Varsity Soccer
Feb. 7
MHS boys vs Jacksonville
MHS girls @ Jacksonville

Feb. 10
MHS boys @ Palestine
MHS girls vs Palestine

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