It was a tough draw for the Fort Worth ISD at Thursday’s UIL realignment.
Young Men’s Leadership Academy, fresh off a playoff appearance in 2017, was placed in Class 6A along with Trimble Tech, Paschal, five Arlington schools and North Crowley.
Initial reports from coaches and administrators gathered at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletic Complex are that YMLA and Trimble Tech will have to play football in District 4-6A for 2018 and 2019.
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Since Fort Worth Paschal is a 6A school, Trimble Tech and YMLA — schools without attendance zones —are placed in the largest classification of a school from the same school district.
The same thing happened to YMLA — which has fewer than 200 students — in the 2016 UIL realignment, but the Wildcats then were moved to all-FWISD District 7-5A.
Fort Worth ISD has six teams in the new 4-5A Division II, but Justin Northwest is also a member. UIL rules require unanimous approval from the receiving and sending districts, or an appeal must be filed.
Fort Worth ISD officials indicated that they will file the appeal. They have until Feb. 11.
“The wild card is the Fort Worth schools,” said Tommy Brakel, North Crowley boys basketball coach and and the school’s athletic coordinator. “Trimble Tech and YMLA tried to petition down to their enrollment size, but it wasn’t a unanimous vote from the receiving district.”
YMLA finished 4-7 last season. Trimble Tech went 4-6.
“I agree with the policy or rule the UIL has in place,” Northwest ISD athletic director Joel Johnson said. “As an athletic director or coach, I’m sure we’ve all felt like we were on the short end of the stick when it comes to realignment. At the same time, my first priority is to do what I believe is in the best interest for our coaches and kids.”
The UIL, which organizes extra-curricular activities for the state’s approximately 1,200 public and charter schools, conducts a biennial realignment of competitive districts to account for population shifts and the opening of new schools.
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Dunbar has a 4A enrollment, but has been playing up a class for over a decade. On Thursday, Fort Worth ISD allowed Dunbar to stay in 4A.
“It’s a great time for them to go to 4A,” said Fort Worth ISD athletic director Lisa Langston.
The Wildcats are in 6-4A Division I for football, along with Fort Worth ISD schools Western Hills, Benbrook and Diamond Hill-Jarvis. The rest of the district is Castleberry, Lake Worth and Kennedale.
“We have some other schools joining them and we’re looking at this as an opportunity for them to keep competing at a level that the school has been at the last couple years,” Langston said. “We’re looking forward to some exciting things from all the programs.”
Dunbar had moved up in previous realignments because of basketball. The Wildcats last won a UIL state title in 2005, but did reach the 5A state tournament in 2016. The football team finished 3-7 in 2017.
“The 4A schools will have a chance to make the playoffs that they may have missed out because of enrollment,” Langston said. “You look at the state championship trophies and they’re all the same from Class 1A to Class 6A, so we’re excited about the opportunity from the 4A level.”
South Hills and Arlington Heights will be in 3-5A Division I with the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw schools, Brewer, Azle, Crowley and Granbury. Carter-Riverside, Eastern Hills, Polytechnic, Southwest, Wyatt and North Side join Justin Northwest in 4-5A Division II.
District of Doom
What is now 10-5A has been known as the district of doom, but with 5A splitting into divisions, it’s unclear where that title may go.
District 3-5A Division I is a nine-team district with five schools going to the playoffs in 2017.
“Every team can play,” Saginaw Boswell coach John Abendschan said. “We add in South Hills and Heights — both playoff contenders — Crowley has been awesome and Granbury is getting better. Plus the teams we’ve seen every year. So it’s going to be great competition.”
Colleyville Heritage, which made it to the regional round in 2017 and state quarterfinals in 2016, will be in 4-5A Division I with Grapevine, Birdville, Denton, Ryan and Carrollton schools Creekview, Smith and Turner.
“It’s a good district. We stay with Grapevine and Birdville and [those have] been good rivalries the last couple years,” Heritage coach Joe Willis said. “It’s going to be fun and everyone is going to get better every week.”
Mansfield Lake Ridge, Summit and Waxahachie – all in 10-5A now, move to 7-6A with Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Grand Prairie, South Grand Prairie and Mansfield.
Haslet Eaton goes up to 6A and joins Trophy Club Nelson, Denton Guyer, Southlake Carroll and four Keller schools.