UIL Realignment Day

Harker Heights head football coach Jerry Edwards, center, and Ellison’s Trent Gregory, far right, speak with other football coaches during Monday’s realignment announcement.

AUSTIN — The four Killeen Independent School District teams still have an entire offseason, month of fall practice and 10-game regular season to play, but on Monday, one step was taken in helping them make a playoff run. 

All four KISD head football coaches found out Monday where they stack up when the University Interscholastic League released its latest realigned districts and regions at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.

Although there was no surprise when it came to the district the Killeen schools would be in, the new District 12-6A will be in Region II.

“It definitely fits our style of play a little bit better,” Shoemaker head coach Channon Hall said. “You’ve just got to get in and then go from there and see what happens.”

The UIL put all six-man football teams into Class 1A with the current 1A enrollment numbers being bumped up to 2A, and the current 2A classification would be called 3A, etc.

Class 6A is for schools with an enrollment of 2,100 and above, Class 5A has schools with enrollments between 1,060 and 2,099, Class 4A is for schools with 465 to 1,059 students, Class 3A has schools between 220 and 464, Class 2A contains schools between 105 and 219 and Class 1A has schools with 104.9 and below.

Killeen, Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker will be grouped with Belton, Copperas Cove and Waco Midway for the next two football seasons.

The new district keeps the former District 8-5A schools intact, except for Temple, which moves to 17-5A.

“That will be different since Temple is so close to Killeen, but you still have Belton, you still have Cove and the Killeen schools, so you still have some great teams in our district,” Killeen head coach Sam Jones said.

The new District 12-6A will match up against Garland, Garland Lakeview Centennial, Garland Naaman Forest, Rowlett, Sachse, North Garland, Rockwall and Tyler Lee out of District 11-6A.

For the last two seasons, District 8-5A was matched up with 7-5A and faced state powerhouses like DeSoto and Class 5A, Division II state champion Cedar Hill in the bi-district playoffs.

“It’s a little bit better suited for us, and we’re excited to be there,” Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards said.

During the last two seasons, 7-5A won six of eight bi-district playoff matchups against 8-5A, including Mansfield Timberview’s 28-14 win over Shoemaker and DeSoto’s 67-21 win over Copperas Cove this past season.

The new 12-6A teams will draw 11-6A teams that were a combined 2-6 in bi-district playoffs over the last two seasons.

But for Copperas Cove athletic director and head football coach Jack Welch, the new matchups don’t necessarily guarantee an opening-round win.

“The first round has been extremely tough going up against DeSoto, Cedar Hill and people like that, but Garland and them are tough, too,” Welch said. “You never know which is going to be tougher one year to the next, although I’m glad to have a change.”

The head coaches and athletic directors met at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex visitor locker room after the district packets were released to draw up a district schedule and draw for byes.

“It’s a day where you can’t wait to be out here and find out where everyone’s going to be lined up and headed for the next couple of years,” Ellison head coach Trent Gregory said.

The schedules cannot be finalized until Feb. 21, but all of the head coaches at the complex took part in the in-person and phone conversations to put together the nondistrict portion of their schedules.

Shoemaker’s tentative nondistrict schedule includes Bryan Rudder, New Braunfels Canyon and Round Rock Cedar Ridge, while Ellison set up games against Eagle Pass, Rudder, Round Rock McNeil and Pflugerville Connally.

Killeen has nondistrict games tentatively scheduled against Leander, Austin Vandegrift and Manor, while Heights is looking at facing Temple and Round Rock Stony Point.

Killeen ISD athletic director Tom Rogers said the realignment would have an effect on sports team sports with sports such as cross-country, golf and wrestling.

During the schools’ time in Region I, KISD had to travel to Lubbock for regional meets. Rogers said when the KISD schools were in Region II, many of the district meets were centrally located in Waco.

“We can drive there early, compete for the day and come home,” Rogers said. “If it was in Lubbock, then we’d have to go the night before, normally, spend the night, compete, come home really late or spend the night. If were going to Waco, we wouldn’t need to spend the night at all, plus the mileage cost would go way down.”

Contact Albert Alvarado at alvarado@kdhnews.com

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