JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — While some high school football coaches still hadn’t finalized which weeks their teams would host and travel during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, they did know who they would play soon after the University Interscholastic League announced realignment Feb. 1.
Season openers are Aug. 26.
Marble Falls will face Bastrop Cedar Creek, Burnet and Austin Crockett in the pre-district schedule. Head coach Matt Green was still finalizing the sites of District 26-5A games with Boerne Champion, Castroville Medina Valle, Dripping Springs, Kerrville Tivy, Lockhart, San Antonio Alamo Heights and Seguin.
For the first time in several years, the Mustangs will not face an opponent from the Cedar Park area.
Green, who also serves as athletic director, said he believes the realigned district will give all of his student-athletes new energy.
“Anytime you play new opponents, you’re always going to have a different perspective,” he said. “I have to believe, when they saw (the new district), (they) were thrilled.”
Burnet will open the season against Austin Reagan followed by Marble Falls, Fredericksburg, Crockett and Llano. In District 13-4A Division I, the Bulldogs will play Liberty Hill, Waco La Vega, Gatesville, China Spring and Lampasas.
Head coach Kurt Jones noted his team will play all four historical rivals that are north, south, east and west of the city in the next two years.
“We’re back to having our four community rivalries,” he said. “That’s good for our community.”
Llano’s pre-district schedule includes Smithville, Sonora, Brady, Lago Vista, Burnet and Austin Eastside Memorial. The Yellow Jackets’ District 13-4A Division II schedule begins with a home game against Navarro, then a road contest at Wimberley, back in Llano for Hondo and a final road game at Bandera. Llano’s bye is during Week 11.
Head coach Craig Slaughter said he and the rest of the district coaches used their UIL packet to help them draw numbers to determine the order of the byes.
Originally, Slaughter had not considered scheduling Burnet, but “we had somebody fall through.”
“I have a lot of respect for coach Jones,” he said. “They’re 25 miles away. There are certain teams that sometimes circumstances bring you back. Our teams are excited to play.”