ARGYLE — Coaches in the former Class 3A who now are in the new Class 4A knew Monday’s biennial UIL realignment would bring plenty of uncertainty.
After all, it marks the first time their class has been split into divisions prior to the playoffs based on enrollment figures, which is how the classes below them have been aligning for years.
But Argyle coach Todd Rodgers never saw what happened Monday morning coming.
Argyle is back in a district with Sanger after a two-year hiatus and is still aligned with Carrollton Ranchview, which they shared District 10-3A with for the past two years. None of that is too shocking.
But Argyle will be in the six-team district with three Dallas ISD schools — Wilmer-Hutchins, Dallas Carter and Dallas Pinkston, forcing Rodgers to deal with some unfamiliarity.
The Eagles have played Wilmer-Hutchins in nondistrict play the past two years, but now they must deal with Carter, a team that was a Class 5A powerhouse in the 1980s and went 8-2 in the regular season in Class 4A last year with the two losses coming by forfeit.
“They have great tradition and their expectations are high,” Rodgers said. “They’re coming from the top down, not the bottom up. They’re stepping down a classification, and that’s very concerning to me. They met their expectations in 4A and now they’re moving down, and that’s a big numbers jump. They’re going to be a force.”
Being aligned with the Dallas ISD schools in District 6-4A D-I is more of a headache for Rodgers and programs like Sanger at the middle school level moreso than the high school level. With Ranchview and the three Dallas ISD schools having middle school alignments, Argyle will be scrambling to fill its lower level schedules. It also decreases the familiarity built over years of playing one-school towns like Sanger, Celina, Bridgeport and Decatur.
“What I struggle with is not the high school level, but with the middle school level,” Rodgers said. “It’s very, very difficult because those teams are in middle school districts over there and the middle schools are not connected to their high schools, and they already have middle school games aligned. Realignment impacts me more in the middle schools than the high school.”
The conference split also has Rodgers scratching his head a bit, wondering what he’s going to think of the new format.
“I’ll let you know what I think in two years,” Rodgers said. “I like the concept and appreciate the concept of leveling the playing field, but administratively it’s shifting these paradigms. For 11 years here in Argyle, we’ve always had this concept of our town against their town, and as we grow and mature and move up in enrollment, it’s not like that.
“It’s our community versus their school. You don’t build a rivalry and look forward to tracking the football games on the middle school level. That’s odd.”
Ponder, Pilot Point split up
After two years in the same district, the area’s two Class 3A schools were pushed apart for the next two years.
Ponder and Pilot Point found themselves in different districts when Monday’s realignment was announced.
Pilot Point will be in District 5-3A D-I with Callisburg, Farmersville, Pilot Point, Pottsboro, Van Alstyne and Whitesboro.
Ponder will be in District 4-3A D-I with Bowie, Boyd, Breckenridge, Brock and Paradise.
Ponder coach Glen Schuelke said his program came up with a pretty good situation that allows his team a better chance to make the postseason after going 0-5 in district play last season.
“We really didn’t know what to expect with the realignment, but we came out well overall,” Schuelke said. “They put us in Region I, which was a shock. We will have to travel a little more, but I really think this will benefit us.”
Pilot Point finished second in 5-2A D-I last season after going 5-1 in district play. Pilot Point coach Rob Best said his squad faces a pretty good challenge, as every team in the Bearcats’ new district reached the playoffs the last two years.
“I was a little surprised with the district,” Best said. “You always hear rumors about who is going where, and getting Van Alstyne and Farmersville was kind of unexpected. This is going one of the stronger districts in the region.”
Krum, Aubrey together
Krum and Aubrey will be in the same football district for the next two years. The schools join Anna, Aubrey, Bonham, Bridgeport and Celina in District 3-4A D-II.
The new split in Class 4A puts the schools in Region I. Both area teams were previously in Region II.
Krum coach Gary Robinson said he thinks his squad can be competitive in the district and there won’t be as much travel as the Bobcats anticipated. Robinson said the alignment gives the Bobcats a shot at their first playoff victory.
“If we do get out of our district, we can be paired with an opponent we can actually compete with,” Robinson said. “We can actually win some playoff games. We’re fired up about that.”
Local 4A schools placed in same basketball district
While the football alignment spread the Class 4A schools across the region, the basketball alignment brought the Denton-area schools together.
Argyle, Aubrey, Krum and Sanger join Gainesville and Celina in District 9-4A.
“These are the same teams we’ve been playing in fall leagues and spring leagues, so you get to see the competition quite a bit,” Sanger boys basketball coach Rob Sikora said. “You know each other a little bit more. As far as the kids go, they love it. It’s the guys they were playing against since they were in pee wee, which is probably the more important part of it.”