JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — With realignment in the fall, the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team’s closest opponent will now be 75 minutes away. Their farthest foe will be almost three hours away.
As Faith Academy moves up to Class 4A from 3A in football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball, its biggest challenge next school year will be travel as it competes in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
Football and baseball now will be in District 4, Division III; basketball and volleyball move to District 4-4A; and softball will compete in District 2, Division III. The next realignment is in 2018.
Besides student population at the high school level and geography, TAPPS used a realignment formula that involved last year’s high school enrollment.
While Faith currently has 130 students in grades 9-12, last year, it had 160.
“That put us over the 141 (Class 3A cutoff),” athletic director Jesse Crow said. “With us being at 130 in the high school, the upper break (before Class 5A) is at 230. We’re in that class because of how that formula did us.”
That means the Flames will play opponents that could have 100 more students in high school than Faith.
Why did TAPPS use the formula?
“Because there’s so much change in private schools,” Crow said. “(The thinking is) you may be back to 160. They want to take some of the numbers to try to keep some of the consistency in enrollment.”
In addition, Class 4A has a smaller number of schools than the other conferences, he said.
The new district for Flames football includes two current foes: Austin Texas School for the Deaf and Temple Central Texas Christian. Other district members will be Bryan Brazos Christian, Bryan St. Joseph Catholic School and Waco Reicher Catholic.
The football team’s shortest drive will be to Texas School for the Deaf in Austin at 75 minutes, while its longest is to Bryan (Brazos Christian and St. Joseph) at two hours and 45 minutes.
Volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball play double-round-robin district schedules.
In volleyball, the Lady Flames will continue to face Austin Brentwood Christian, Austin San Juan Diego, Texas School for the Deaf and Round Rock Concordia Academy. Other district members will be Boerne Geneva School, San Marcos Academy and Schertz John Paul II.
The longest drive for the Lady Flames will be 75 minutes to Schertz.
The basketball teams will face familiar district foes Brentwood Christian, San Juan Diego, Concordia Academy and Texas School for the Deaf. New opponents will be Boerne Geneva, Giddings State School, San Marcos Academy and John Paul II.
The longest drive will be to Giddings at two hours.
The baseball squad will continue to play Geneva, John Paul II and San Juan Diego. Other opponents will be Brentwood Christian, Texas School for the Deaf, Giddings State School, Concordia Academy and San Marcos Academy.
The shortest drive will be to Austin in 75 minutes, while Giddings is the longest drive at two hours.
The softball team will play Brentwood Christian, Concordia Academy, Waco Reicher Catholic and Waco Vanguard. Drive time is between 75 and 135 minutes.
“Life is tough, and we have to accept the challenge,” Crow said about the distance to contests.
Football coaches have already begun the task of finalizing schedules for the next two years. Crow said he believes the coaches of the other sports will start the process soon and could finish up by Spring Break, which is in mid-March.