JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF REPORTS
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School athletic department is saying goodbye to District 25-5A in the 2016-17 school year with the University Interscholastic League’s realignment, which was announced Feb. 1.
The Mustangs’ new District 26-5A will be in place for two years.
Marble Falls High School (1,258.5 student enrollment) and Dripping Springs (1,669) will be in District 26-5A with Boerne Champion (1,533), Castro Medina Valley (1,227), Kerrville Tivy (1,461), Lockhart (1,520), San Antonio Alamo Heights and Seguin (2,028).
Mustangs athletic director and head football coach Matt Green stopped short of saying the new district called for a party. However, he acknowledged that playing in a district closer to San Antonio will infuse excitement and a new hope for the next two years.
“It’s not a night-and-day difference, but I will definitely say it’s a more favorable district for us,” he said. “We wanted to get away from the Leander schools based on their size. At the end of the day, our enrollment and (the District 26-5A) enrollment numbers, those are definitely more favorable.”
Green noted that, many times over the past several seasons, the old District 25-5A teams typically faced many opponents from the San Antonio district in the area round of the playoffs in several sports. And it wasn’t always the same district that won each of those postseason contests every year.
“You’re definitely in a better position, but you wouldn’t say it’s Christmas morning because that’s not the case,” he said. “Our kids will be happy playing new opponents.”
The UIL also announced realignment for Class 4A.
Burnet’s (939) football team is reunited with longtime rival Liberty Hill (1,090.5) in the new District 13-4A Division I. That district also includes China Spring (765), Gatesville (831), Lampasas (1,023.75) and Class 4A Division I state champion Waco La Vega (770).
“I think it’ll be like playing in the Southeastern Conference,” said Burnet athletic director and head football coach Kurt Jones. “We took comfort in the fact that (getting Liberty Hill back as a district opponent) could be the case. It’ll be a challenge for sure.”
Llano remains in District 13-4A Division II with Geronimo Navarro (574), Hondo (616) and Wimberley (684), but the UIL added Bandera (673).
Yellow Jackets head coach Craig Slaughter wasn’t surprised by the announcement of the football district, correctly predicating who Llano would face for the next two years. And though Bandera is new to them on the high school level, Slaughter said other Llano teams have been playing the Bulldogs for awhile.
“We’ve seen those guys over the years,” he said. “They’ve met up many times on the gridiron. We’ve continued to play them on the junior high level.”
Burnet, Llano and Liberty Hill will make up District 19-4A for the other sports and will face Lampasas, Salado (492), Taylor (1,007) and Leander Glenn (815.29), a new school that opens in the fall.
“I’m sure they’ll be competitive although they’ll be young,” Jones said about Glenn. “It’ll be competitive district for sure, but we’re used to it.”
Slaughter said he was hoping the Jackets could have gotten away from some members of this district, which they’ve faced for almost a decade now.
“It didn’t happen,” he said. “We’ll compete with those guys.”
Class 5A has 253 schools, the largest of the six classes, with cutoff numbers starting at 1,100 and ending with 2,149.
Class 4A has 191 members, the smallest of the six classes, with cutoff numbers starting at 480 and ending in 1,099.
Now that the Mustangs and Dripping Springs are in a different district from Cedar Park (1,949), Leander Vandegrift (2,255), Leander Vista Ridge (2,250), Leander (2,187), Georgetown (1,876.5) and Georgetown East View (1,527.5), the UIL essentially did what several members of Region IV wanted to do last summer: break up District 25-5A.
Since the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, District 25-5A won 12 regional championships. Cedar Park is the reigning Class 5A Division II state champion in football, while Dripping Springs won the 2015 state volleyball championship a year after finishing as the state runner-up.
When adding up the overall playoff results in every team sport, the district is 103-28; 11 losses were to other district foes. And that’s simply the past 18 months. The girls’ teams in this district have been dominant for years.
Boerne Champion (1,533)
Castroville Medina Valley (1,227)
Dripping Springs (1,669)
Kerrville Tivy (1,461)
Marble Falls (1,258.5)
San Antonio Alamo Heights
District 13-4A Div. I (football only)
China Spring (765)
Liberty Hill (1,090.5)
Waco La Vega (770)
District 13-4A Div. II (football only)
Geronimo Navarro (574)
District 19-4A (all other sports)
Leander Glenn (815.29)
Liberty Hill (1,090.5)