Bulldogs move back up north

As it does biennially, the state’s University Interscholastic League, the body that controls extracurricular activities in state public schools, announced its district realignment at 9 a.m. Monday. The new assignments for football and basketball, kept secret until the precise moment, will take place at the start of school this fall and will run for the school years 2002-03 and 2003-04. And, as happens frequently, Brady has been moved’from its previous region in the south to the one in the north. The Bulldogs will compete in the newly established district of 6-3A which includes Abilene Wylie, Ballinger, Clyde, Comanche and Early. Comanche has been moved up from Class 2A. For the past two years, Brady has been in Region IV, District 26-3A with Burnet, Ingram Tom Moore, Liberty Hill, Llano and Wimberley. Under the new realignment that district will now be 25-3A, and Bandera will take Brady’s slot. Sweetwater and Merkel, who were former members of District 6-3A, have been moved to new districts. They are in District 3-3A with Denver City, Lamesa, Seminole, and Snyder. In the past 25 years, the centrally-located Brady Bulldogs have competed in the southernmost zone, Region IV, 10 years. They were in the northwesternmost area, Region I, 15 years. Thus is the disadvantage of being in the “Heart of Texas.” The exact center of the state also makes it isolated. The school vacillates with the wind or the UIL, it appears. Regardless, Brady athletic director/head football coach Davy DuBose said he felt the new assignment is a favorable one. “I think we feel a little bit more comfortable being in Region I. Brady is more of a West Texas town than it is a Central Texas one. We associate more with being West Texans,” he said. Bradyites marvel at how Abilene Wylie continues to be able to remain in Class 3A, but DuBose says it is because of “the numbers.” The UIL states, “The number of schools needed for 32 districts in Conferences 2A through 5A shall be determined. This figure shall be between 210 and 225.” In the new assignment the enrollment figures for the state’s classifications are: 5A’1910 and up (225 schools). 4A’900-1909 (224 schools). 3A’345-899 (211 schools). 2A’180-344 (222 schools). 1A’179 and below (102 schools in six-man football and 339 in basketball). “The UIL keeps moving up the maximum number for 3A. In 1998-99 it was 779 and in 2000-01 it was raised to 844. For 2002-03, it’s 899. That’s an increase of 120 students while the minimum has remained at 345 students,” DuBose said. He pointed out that Abilene Wylie has an enrollment that is more than 500 larger than most of the schools in the new district. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but Ballinger, Brady, Clyde, Comanche and Early all have enrollments within 50-75 students of each other, and most will be around 400. That’s a huge difference,” he said. “I think we can compete in this district better than we did in our present district. Wylie, of course, will always be stronger than the other members because of the numbers,” he added. DuBose said that Brady’s previous district with Burnet, Llano, Wimberley, Ingram and Liberty Hill is rapidly increasing in enrollment. “Liberty Hill has gained 200 students in the past two years,” he said. “I believe the towns in the new district, with the exception of Wylie, are about like us, staying about the same.” The UIL has stated that it places schools in districts with the following criteria kept in mind: (1) Group geographically contiguous schools in groups of no more than 10 and placed in districts with an even number of schools, except when that action causes an extreme travel hardship. Schools in a district in urban areas may not always be contiguous. (2) Except in Conference A, there are 32 districts to facilitate the playoff procedures (except in activities that do not have enough schools). (3) There shall be no attempt made to perpetuate or avoid “old rivalries.” Socioeconomic and ethnicity factors are not considered. (4) A school may be placed in different districts for different activities to alleviate extreme travel situations. Getting back to Brady’s new district, DuBose said he felt the Bulldogs could compete better with Ballinger and the other schools, many of which are old league foes. Early, however, will be new to the Bulldogs. The Longhorns moved to Class 3A a couple of years before and although Brady has never met Early on the football field, the Dogs have faced the ‘Horns in other sports. “Down deep, I think we can compete better in the north region,” he said. As of Wednesday morning, DuBose had all but completed the 2002 football schedule. He has filled all the slots except for one game for the date of either Sept. 27 or Oct. 4. “I would like to leave Oct. 4 as an open date since district play will commence the following Friday,” he said. The tentative preseason slate for the 2002 football season is: Two scrimmage session: Aug. 17 Sweetwater Aug. 22 Jim Ned Non-District Games: Aug. 30 Coleman Sept. 6 Ozona Sept. 13 Sonora Sept. 20 Comfort Sept. 27 TBA Oct. 4 open date H Rochelle and Lohn also are in a new district. The Hornets and Eagles will compete in Class 1A District 12 Six-Man with Brookesmith, Cherokee, Lometa and Richland Springs. They will be in District 11 in basketball with the same schools. Mason and San Saba are in new leagues with tough crowds: District 26-2A will consist of Blanco, Comfort, Johnson City, Junction, Lago Vista and Mason. District 9-2A will be Bangs, Coleman, Goldthwaite, San Saba, Jim Ned and Winters. Re-assignments may be appealed, but schools must get a unanimous acceptance from other districts before even being able to appear before the appeals committee.

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