At the moment, the Guyer football team is focused on defending its Class 4A Division I state championship, but after what they hope is a Dec. 20 title game at AT&T Stadium, the Wildcats will shift their attention.
That is because Guyer is set to move up to the newly named Class 6A after the University Interscholastic League released its cutoff numbers for their new classifications on Monday. It’s the first time the cutoff numbers have been made public prior to the UIL realignment day when districts are announced, which is set for Feb. 3.
Class 6A will be comprised of mainly teams that are in the current Class 5A, which is now the state’s largest classification until the 6A class takes effect for the 2014-2015 school year.
The new conference cutoffs as follows: 6A, 2,100 student enrollment and above; 5A, 1,060-2,099; 4A, 465-1,059; 3A, 220-464; 2A, 105-219; 1A, 104 and below. For football only, Class 4A-1A will be split into two divisions for the entirety of the season, not just the playoffs. Class 2A and 1A have had that format in the previous alignment. The new twist will split up the area schools that were formerly 3A as Argyle and Sanger will be 4A Division I and Aubrey and Krum will be 4A Division II.
Guyer was in Class 5A for the 2010-2011 reclassification and played in the 2010 Class 5A Division II state championship game. Head coach John Walsh said his focus will be to have that same success in the coming years.
“It’s not unexpected,” Walsh said. “We knew what our enrollment was coming into the school year, so we felt like we’d be there [in 6A]. We set our minds toward it. We’ve been there before. We just plan to attack it like we’ve attacked 4A.”
The Wildcats won six playoff games in two seasons at the state’s largest classification, but Walsh said there is definitely a difference in competition between that and Class 4A. Guyer is undefeated against 4A opponents in the past two seasons and is three wins away from winning back-to-back 4A Division I championships.
“From the football end, the biggest difference is depth,” Walsh said. “The 5A or new 6A No. 2s are pretty dang good, too. That’s the biggest thing I saw is the depth in the trenches.”
One bonus for area fans will be the rekindling of the Guyer-Ryan rivalry on the gridiron. The teams last played in the 2009 4A Division I regional final, when Guyer beat Ryan in front of a packed house at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. Ryan holds a 3-2 series advantage, with Guyer winning the one postseason matchup. Guyer was in Class 5A in 2010 and 2011, while Ryan was in 4A. Ryan then moved to Class 5A, while Guyer dropped to 4A in the current alignment.
“We’re very excited about renewing our rivalry with Ryan,” Walsh said of the prospect of being district foes with the Raiders again.
This is the first time Class 4A will be split into divisions before the start of the season. Krum head coach Gary Robinson said splitting the class levels the playing ground between teams with varying enrollment numbers.
“I think it equals the playing field quite a bit,” Robinson said. “In our district, the past two years we’ve been in with schools that are quite a bit bigger than we are.”
In the first two years Krum played in a UIL district, the Bobcats reached the postseason but lost in the first round to Celina in 2012 and Argyle in this year’s playoffs.
Argyle and Sanger will be in 4A Division I, while Aubrey joins Krum in 4A’s smaller division.
Argyle will be one of the smallest schools in 4A Division I. The Eagles are 13 students over the cutoff number for 4A Division I.
Gilmer, the team the Eagles have played in the postseason for four straight seasons, went to 4A Division II, along with Celina.
Robinson said he likes the split of the division before the playoffs, as it decreases the margin between schools in 4A.
“To me, that just didn’t seem fair,” Robinson said of the wide disparity in the classification. “Now it’s a lot more fair for everyone.”
Ben Baby can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
Adam Boedeker can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
The following shows the new classifications set by the University Scholastic League for area schools, beginning in the 2014-15 school year:
School 2014-16 enrollment Current class Future class
Ryan 2,329 5A 6A
Guyer 2,285 4A 6A
Denton 2,087 4A 5A
Lake Dallas 1,292 4A 5A
Sanger 768 3A 4A-I
Argyle 698 3A 4A-I
Krum 550 3A 4A-II
Aubrey 535 3A 4A-II
Pilot Point 429 2A-I 3A-I
Ponder 369 2A-I 3A-I