|Eagles in, Lions out: Lindale moves up to 4A; Greenville heads west|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Feb. 2, 2006 - Greg Owens hasn't see the last of Lindale.
The new Sulphur Springs head football coach will be coaching against the Eagles for at least the next two years after Lindale was placed in the same district with SSHS.
The University Interscholastic League revealed the new extracurricular alignments at 9 a.m. Thursday, with one change for the old District 12-4A: Greenville is out and Lindale is in.
Otherwise, the district - which will be 11-4A for the 2006-2008 school years - remains the same with Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant, Paris, North Lamar and Texarkana Texas High remaining.
Greenville went west into a reconfigured District 10-4A with Highland Park, Forney, Mesquite Poteet, West Mesquite, Richardson Pearce, Terrell and Rockwall Heath.
Lindale, meanwhile, comes up from Class 3A and takes the spot left open by Greenville.
Owens, who was head coach at Lindale for nine years, will now be scheduling games against the Eagles. Owens was at the TEA Service Center in Birdville wrapping up the non-district schedule when the new alignments were released, so he was unavailable for comment. But SSHS assistant principal and former athletic director Dwayne McMeans said the new district isn't much different.
"Athletically, it's good for Sulphur Springs. Academically, it's tougher because Lindale is very good academically," McMeans said of the two-time defending Class 3A state UIL champions.
In Class 3A, Lindale has been to the playoffs in football for eight straight years. The Eagles also made the playoffs last year in baseball. The Lady Eagle softball team are perennially in the playoffs and won a state championship in 2004.
Coaches will be meeting to set up the district schedules this spring, while McMeans and Owens have nailed down the Sulphur Springs pre-district football schedule.
The Wildcats will play McKinney Boyd, a new high school opening up in the fall, in Zero Week. Games will follow against Whitehouse, Denison and Sherman. The Wildcats will be idle during Week 4, and play Liberty-Eylau on Week 5 before opening the district schedule the following Friday.
One of the changes made in the new district is the number (11-4A), which also changes the first-round playoff opponents.
The last two years, the SSHS district has played a metroplex district (Highland Park, Terrell, Mesquite Poteet, etc.) in the opening round of the playoffs. For the next two years, they will face a deep East Texas district that includes Hallsville, Henderson, Marshall, Whitehouse, Jacksonville, Kilgore, Longview Pine Tree and Nacogdoches.
The SSHS district didn't change much despite big changes in the region. Three new Class 4A schools will come online in the fall including Denton Guyer, McKinney Boyd and Rockwall Heath. Meanwhile, Richardson Pearce, Denton Ryan and Dallas Samuell all moved down from Class 5A, and Lindale and Little Elm moved up from 3A.
The new parameters for Class 4A are 950 students to 1,984. That is a significant increase from the last realignment in 2004 when the floor for 4A was 900 and the ceiling was 1,924.
Even bigger changes occurred in Class 2A and 3A in East Texas. With the 2A parameters at 195 to 414, seven East Texas schools dropped from 3A to 2A, including Winnsboro (see accompanying story). Other area schools remained in their same conferences. Mount Vernon, Commerce and Rains are all still 3A, while Cooper and Como-Pickton remained 2A, and Cumby is still Class A.