Tolar football coach Mike Franklin said it should be interesting to see how the new district football alignment announced Monday morning will work out.
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) shook things up with its biennial realigment Monday.
Tolar will still be, in effect, in Class 2A. Technically, the school dropped down one classification. The UIL added a division for the state’s largest classifications, to be known as Class 6A.
The Rattlers will be in a six-team District 7-2A along with De Leon, Goldthwaite, Hamilton, Hico and San Saba. Tolar had spent the past two years in District 6-2A as part of an eight-school lineup with Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Millsap, Scurry-Rosser, Mildred, Blooming Grove, Rice and Rio Vista.
Franklin noted that Tolar and Hamilton are the new teams coming into the group, while the rest had been in the big-school division of Class A.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I think it will be just as competitive,” Franklin said. “You’d better not rest or you’re going to get beat on Friday night.”
Hico will be coming off a trip to the state semifinals in Class A Division I.
With the changes come a move back to having only three teams make the playoffs instead of four. Franklin said he will like having only five district games – and two additional nondistrict matchups.
“You’ll have a little more time to get ready,” Franklin said. “Half will go to the playoffs and the other half will stay home.”
Although the two-year home-and-home contracts for nondistrict games can’t be signed until Feb. 22, Franklin said the Rattlers are tentatively scheduled to play Dublin, Crawford, Bosqueville, Axtell and Rio Vista before district play starts. Tolar has never played Axtell in football.
Travel plans no longer have to include a trip to Dallas for district contests, but the trip to San Saba will take a little over two hours.
“I think overall it might be a little better (travel-wise), but not a whole lot,” Franklin said. “For Goldthwaite you’re going to be driving a bit, but not to the other side of Dallas.”
The school enrollments among the six in Tolar’s new district are close.
“We’re all probably within 20 kids of each other,” the Tolar coach said. “We’ve been the smallest (school in the district) the last four years. This is probably the levelest playing field, across the district, in all my years here.
“I think where the benefit will be will be on Thursday nights. I think the junior high (teams) will be able to compete better with people closer to our size.”
While Tolar turned in an enrollment figure of 202 students, Hamilton had 212. But the rest in the new alignment had lower numbers. Goldthwaite and San Saba had about 190, while Hico had 180 and De Leon was in the 170 range.
Tolar boys coach Kent Caruthers said he thinks the district competition will be fun.
“I think it will be a good district to be in,” Caruthers said. “I don’t think this district is going to be as strong from top to bottom as the one we’re in now. We’ve been playing schools twice our size. I’ll be glad to play teams our size.”
Caruthers said there will should still be an equal number of standout athletes, but less team depth.
“I think they’ll all have good athletes,” he said. “I think Hamilton and Goldthwaite will be very competitive.”
Benita Carlton, Tolar’s girls basketball coach, pointed out that Santo is No. 7 and Goldthwaite No. 8 in the current Texas Association of Basketball Coaches rankings.
“I don’t know if Santo is losing anybody. I think Goldthwaite is getting everybody back,” Carlton said of next season’s outlook. “
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