NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Lake Dallas and Denton will have to adjust to life without each other for the next two years.
The two schools were separated when the University Interscholastic League released its 2014-16 biennial realignment and reclassification Monday morning.
Denton football coach Kevin Atkinson and Lake Dallas football coach Michael Young were two of the many head coaches crammed into one large room at Birdville Fine Arts and Athletics Complex, most of them scrambling to complete their football schedules.
Those two area schools won’t face each other this fall.
“I kind of anticipated it to shake out like this, but I really thought we’d have Lake Dallas in there,” Atkinson said. “Lake Dallas and Grapevine is who I kind of pictured in my mind. I really like playing those guys because they’re so close and we have a good relationship with Coach Young over there. I think it’s going to be a very competitive district.”
Denton will be in District 5-5A with Azle, Fort Worth Chisholm Trail, Saginaw Boswell, Saginaw, Fort Worth Brewer, Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider.
Class 5A previously was the state’s largest classification, but the state’s classes were renamed for the 2014-15 school year. The six-man classification was renamed 1A, and each class above it was renamed as well, with the state’s largest class now 6A.
Denton’s enrollment number was 2,087, which was 13 students under the cutoff for 6A.
Lake Dallas will have some unfamiliar district opponents for the next couple of years. The Falcons will be in 6-5A with Grapevine, Birdville and four Fort Worth schools — Carter-Riverside, Dunbar, Eastern Hills and Polytechnic.
Of Lake Dallas’ district opponents, only Dunbar and Birdville reached the postseason in 2013.
Young said he figured that if Lake Dallas was not going to be in the same district as Denton, the Falcons were headed east to be with schools like Sherman and Denison. Going southwest to Fort Worth was something he did not imagine.
“It’s a total surprise,” Young said. “It’s nothing like we expected, but it’s good for us. We got beat by four [district] teams last year and we’re not going to play any of them next year.”
Grapevine was in the state’s largest classification but will drop down to 5A this year. Young said that probably played a huge role in dragging Lake Dallas into a district with Fort Worth-area schools.
“With Grapevine being 5A, I think that’s what pulled us that way,” Young said. “If Grapevine’s not 5A, we’re probably not in that district. We’re probably with Denton, the Wichita Falls and the Saginaw [schools].”
Denton will play Wilmer-Hutchins, Granbury and Carrollton Creekview in nondistrict action. Lake Dallas will face Frisco Wakeland, Frisco Centennial, Lucas Lovejoy and Dallas Kimball.
Fort Worth school district athletic director Kevin Greene said the day’s events were typical for realignment day.
“When you come to realignment, you never know what you’re going to get,” Greene said. “We’re satisfied with the alignment, and we’re looking forward to the next two years.”
Atkinson said he was happy the Broncos stayed in Region I. As for the rest of the district schedule, he said he’s looking forward to the challenges the new district will bring.
“I think we can compete with everybody,” Atkinson said. “It’s really going to be a dogfight. I mean, Rider is probably the only one that can be considered the top dog, and everybody else is going to be fighting for those other spots, just off paper. It’s going to be very interesting.”