• September 19, 2014

New region won’t make path to playoffs any easier

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Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014 4:30 am

Realignment day was conspicuously quiet for Killeen Independent School District teams this past Monday.

When the UIL announced the new districts for the next two years at 9 a.m. sharp, District 8-5A teams like Harker Heights learned that the UIL had, for the most part, simply rewrapped the same gift.

In terms of the teams that comprise it, District 8-5A will remain exactly the same minus Temple, which dropped a class to 5A — well, Temple is currently Class 5A, but in the new realignment, 4A will be 5A.

In fact the new name, District 12-6A, and Region — II as opposed to I — are the biggest differences for the current teams.

Many coaches harped on the fact that changing regions — and avoiding Metroplex powers like DeSoto and Cedar Hill, which 8-5A teams currently face in the first round of the playoffs — was a significant change.

And it is.

But will it significantly alter the landscape of the district in the next two years? That remains to be seen.

While it helps to not have to face a state championship contender in the first round of the playoffs in many sports, the fact remains that getting to the postseason in this district isn’t any easier, and as already mentioned that hasn’t changed.

Take football for example, where Copperas Cove claimed the last playoff spot on the final game of the regular season — yet was only two games back of first-place Temple and Shoemaker. That’d be the same Shoemaker team Cove beat by 22 earlier in the season.

Or take girls basketball, in which every playoff team behind district-champion Ellison — Heights, Killeen and Temple — finished tied for second.

Or take boys basketball, where defending district champion Ellison is one of two teams to have defeated first-place Heights yet may find itself out of playoff contention if Cove defeats Killeen at home tonight.

And it isn’t just these sports.

Belton is perennially strong in boys and girls soccer and returns a district champion in baseball as well.

Waco Midway boasts similar consistency on the gridirion, and its boys soccer team split a district title with Belton while the Pantherettes won district in softball.

Not that the teams I haven’t mentioned are doomed.

What makes this district competitive is the abundance of quality teams from top to bottom in numerous sports.

But that is also the point.

With the same teams in the new District 12-6A, getting to the playoffs will remain as big of a hurdle as getting out of Region I is now.

Yet it certainly doesn’t hurt to avoid perennial powers like DeSoto and Cedar Hill in football and boys basketball and Duncanville in girls basketball when the playoffs begin.

But the teams District 8-5A didn’t get rid of were each other. And they have proven to be just as stiff competition of late.

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