STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — With an eye toward February’s University Interscholastic League realignment, Highland Lakes area schools turned in their “snapshot” numbers to the organization and Texas Education Agency.
Even if Marble Falls High School stays in the Class 5A division, a change by the UIL could still shake things up a little for the Mustangs.
Marble Falls High School submitted an enrollment number of 1,240, while Burnet turned in 899 and Llano 539.
The UIL, which governs Texas public school extracurricular sports and competitions, will use those numbers as the basis of athletic district classifications. The UIL will announce realignment in February, and those districts and classifications will stand for the next two years.
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Class 5A football will be divided into separate divisions before the start of district play, as Conferences 1A-4A do now.
Mustangs interim head coach Mike Birdwell said he believes the bottom cutoff number for Class 5A Division II football will be 1,150, which would put the Mustang program in that category.
“Our school has always been in the bottom of Class 5A (this century),” he said. “We’re super excited the UIL has decided to split up Class 5A into Division I and Division II. We’re looking for an opportunity to put our kids on an even playing field.”
Under this concept, Marble Falls football would play against schools in district play more similar to its school size.
While athletics directors at all three high schools knew the snapshot number, all were reluctant to predict where the UIL would place them. Most believe Leander Glenn and Liberty Hill will move up to Class 5A.
“That’s the million dollar question right there,” Birdwell said. “Most people think it’s us, Liberty Hill, Glenn, Georgetown East View, both Bastrop schools, and Pflugerville Weiss.”
“Everyone wants to predict and get numbers out there,” Burnet athletics director Kurt Jones said. “Rarely is anyone spot-on.”
Both Jones and Llano athletics director Matt Green stated they are bracing to remain in the same non-football district with Lampasas.
“I don’t see Taylor and Salado going back with us, and Glenn and Liberty Hill moving up, there’s a million ways (the UIL) could send us,” Green said. “Fredericksburg is a real possibility with Bandera and Hondo.
Our district is definitely going to take a new shape.”
“You always hear Liberty Hill is going up, and two years later they’re not going up,” Jones said. “I think we’ll either stay in this district or stay in with Taylor and Fredericksburg.”
Green summed up the feelings of all three.
“There’s no telling what the UIL could do,” he said. “There’s no telling where we’re going to end up. We’ll see how it shakes up.”