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2012 REALIGNMENT: Teams happy to go small (Video)

By MIKE FORMAN
Feb. 2, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 2, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.

As the clock hits 9 a.m. Thursday, coaches reach for realignment packets to see against whom their school will be playing for the next two years.

The news of Goliad becoming a Class 2A school was well known before athletic director and head football coach John Mares returned to school after meeting with the coaches in the Tigers' new district.

"It's already out," Mares said. "The had it on a board. The kids like to tear the board down."

The excitement at Goliad was shared by athletes at El Campo, Palacios and Weimar after the University Interscholastic League released its biennial football and basketball reclassification and realignment Thursday.

El Campo went from Class 4A to 3A, Goliad and Palacios went from Class 3A to 2A and Weimar dropped from Class 2A to 1A.

In addition, Van Vleck went from Class 2A, Division I to Division II, and Louise went from Class 1A Division I to Division II for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

Goliad joined District 13-2A, Division I with George West, Jourdanton, Luling, Marion, San Antonio Brooks Academy and San Antonio Cole.

"Everybody is excited," said Mares, who was promoted to his current position earlier this month. "I don't remember the last time Goliad was 2A. You have to go way back to find that.

Goliad turned in an averaged daily attendance of 414, well below the cutoff of 450 for Class 3A.

Palacios dropped after turning in an ADA of 435.

"We didn't play in a competitive field in our five-team district because there were two schools that could fit two Palacios High Schools in them," said Palacios athletic director and head football coach Mike Treybig. "It becomes a numbers game and we were always out-manned in the numbers game."

Palacios will play in District 14-2A, Division I with Rice Consolidated, Edna, Hallettsville, Industrial and Hempstead.

El Campo has come close to dropping from Class 4A to 3A in previous realignments, but consistently remained in 4A competing against larger schools.

El Campo's enrollment continued to fall and after turning in an ADA of 975, the Ricebirds were well under the cutoff of 1,005 for Class 4A.

"El Campo's always been 4A as far as I know," said El Campo athletic director and head football coach Bob Gillis. "The last several years we've been the smallest school in our district. Now, that's not the case."

El Campo not only dropped from Class 4A to 3A, but moved from Region III to Region IV.

The Ricebirds will play in District 25-3A with Wharton, Bellville, Columbus, Needville, Brookshire Royal and Sealy.

Gillis was surprised to be placed into a seven-team district, while La Marque remained in Region III in a five-team District 24-3A with Sweeny, Stafford, Columbia and Houston Sunnyside.

"It's different than what I thought it would be," Gillis said. "It's weird having one five-team and one seven-team district right next to each other."

La Marque and El Campo were among 15 teams in the state dropping from Class 4A to 3A, including Stephenville and Kilgore.

"All of 3A got a heck of a lot stronger," said Cuero athletic director and head football coach Rick Owens.

The Gobblers remained in Class 3A with traditional rivals Yoakum and Gonzales, but were joined in District 26 by Giddings, La Grange, and Smithville.

"I've thought that maybe La Grange should be with us as close as they are and we've scrimmaged them every year," Owens said. "You get a little taste of more like Region III with some of those guys."

Defending Class 2A state champion Refugio turned in an ADA of 204, just above the Class 2A cutoff of 200.

The Bobcats remained in virtually the same district as last season.

Refugio will join last year's foes Banquete, Freer, Hebbronville, Riviera, Santa Gertrudis Academy and Skidmore-Tynan and add Taft in District 16-2A, Division II.

"What I resigned myself to is if we go 1A, we go 1A," said Refugio athletic director and head football coach Jason Herring. "If we go 2A, we go 2A. You really can't do anything about it. Wherever the good Lord wants us, he'll put us, and we're going to go with it. It is what it is."

While El Campo, Goliad and Palacios are looking forward to a more level playing field, the coaches understand there is no guarantee of success.

Mares will remind the Tigers they lost to George West and Cole in football last season.

"You can't go in thinking you're the big dog," he said. "There's still competition. But the numbers will not be there like we've been going against. The total athletic program just got a shot in the arm."

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