Six fewer students may not seem like a lot, but that handful of students could be the difference between Florence remaining in its current District 10-3A, Division I alignment with state football powerhouses to the lower Class 3A, Division II classification.
Florence turned in a UIL snapshot enrollment number of 309 on Friday, down from the 315 that landed it in the same district as three-time defending champion Cameron Yoe, consistent Central Texas powers Rockdale and Lago Vista along with Little River-Academy and Troy.
“It makes a huge difference,” Florence head football coach Zane Bode said. “On Friday we played Cameron Yoe which had a starting offense and a starting defense and we had several kids that had to play both ways. It’s tough, it puts you in a bind and we’re going to play tough kids if we drop down, but at least we play kids that are able to play both ways.”
Florence is the most likely school to be redistricted. The KISD schools, Copperas Cove, Belton, Gatesville, Lampasas, Lometa and Salado are likely to stay in the same class sinch their enrollments have not changed significantly. Schools submitted their snapshot numbers to the UIL on Friday.
During the last round of UIL realignment in 2013, the state’s athletics governing body set the enrollment numbers for each class. Class 1A would consist of schools with an enrollment of 104 or fewer, Class 2A was between 105 and 219, Class 3A was between 220 and 464, Class 4A between 465 and 1,059, Class 5A between 1,060 and 2,099 and Class 6A was at 2,100 and more.
During snapshot day in 2013, Florence turned in a number of 315 and was realigned into the same district with some tough teams.
According to the 2015 edition of the Dave Campbell Texas Football fall magazine, Florence has the lowest average daily attendance at 315. Yoe is at 390, Lago Vista at 430.5, Academy at 369, Rockdale at 447 and Troy at 408.
The new number could land Florence into Class 3A, Division II, where it could be one of the most populous schools in a new district. High schools find out where they are reclassified and realigned during UIL realignment day in February.
If the Buffaloes are redistricted, they could land in the same district with teams like Rogers and Rosebud-Lott, but Bode said it’s still too early to tell.
“You have no idea and there’s too many scenarios,” Bode said.
Florence has a record of 7-12 overall in the last two seasons, but has gone 0-9 against district opponents in that time.
Numerically, the members of District 12-6A consisting of Belton (3,197), Copperas Cove (2,230.5), Ellison (2,633), Harker Heights (approximately 2,400), Killeen (2,360) and Shoemaker (between 2,200 and 2,300) are well above the Class 6A threshold and are likely to remain there along with Waco Midway (approximately 2,400).
Belton has seen a 20 percent increase in enrollment in the last half decade. The Tigers turned in a snapshot number of 2,538 in 2011 and 2,916 in 2013.
Lampasas (1,030) and Gatesville (834) should remain in Class 4A, Division I.
Salado moved up to Class 4A, Division II during the last round of realignment and should remain there after submitting a snapshot number of 492. Salado’s snapshot numbers have increased in recent years from 444 in 2011, 478 in 2013 and 492 on Friday.
Lometa’s snapshot number decreased from 82 in 2013 to 75 on Friday, but it is still likely to be one of the larger schools in Class 1A, Division I.