Realignment is on the horizon

In this oldie but goodie, former DISD athletic director Ken Purcell (right) discusses scheduling with Guyer coach John Walsh (left), preparing for Guyer's first varsity season, and former Denton head coach Randy Patzkowski at the UIL realignment at Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills back in 2006. (Al Key/Denton Record Chronicle)

At this time next week, we’ll know how one of the most mysterious, speculative days in Texas high school sports ended up shaking out. Next Monday, Feb. 3, the UIL will release its newest two-year alignment as coaches run around in a hectic buzz at the Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex. Ben and I will be there to bring you the results as they come in, usually around 9 a.m. or so.

But while we’re waiting, let’s go ahead and throw a couple of predictions out there. Where will Guyer and Ryan end up in 6A? Where will Denton and Lake Dallas end up in 5A?

Let’s start with the 6A district of local interest. There are several possibilities here, and depending on which one is the final outcome, Guyer and Ryan will either be really happy, or probably a little bummed depending on which sport you’re talking about.

Here’s my best guess, and I think probably the preferable one for Guyer and Ryan that would lead to the most success on the playing field. We’ll list the school and their enrollment number for the next two years.

Guyer (2,291); Ryan (2,329); Keller Timber Creek (2,797); Keller (2,612); Keller Central (2,530); Keller Fossil Ridge (2,240); Justin Northwest (2,763); Trophy Club Nelson (2,379)

Aside from Fossil Ridge, Guyer and Ryan would be the two smallest schools in this district, but it’d be a very manageable district with some familiar opponents, especially for Guyer. The Wildcats were in District 7-5A for two years with all the Kellers except Timber Creek and Northwest. They’ve been in 5-4A the past two years with Nelson. Northwest is traditionally very strong in basketball, has turned it around in football and traditionally is strong in softball, as well. Nelson is a growing, emerging power in several sports but would also be moving up to the state’s largest classification for the first time.

Ryan has struggled in every sport except for football in their current 5A stint, but they’re also in a complete bear of a district, in everything except for football. The Lewisville ISD schools are all powerhouses in sports such as basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.

Guyer struggled in their 5A stint, but not as badly as Ryan has, and several of the teams in that district would be in this projected one. Guyer’s football team went to the 5A Division II state title game. They made the playoffs in baseball and softball, losing in the first round to Plano in each sport.

So yeah, you can bet new Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence would love to see his teams end up in that bunch, especially compared to the alternatives.

Now, let’s look at the expected 5A district that will most likely contain both Denton and Lake Dallas, even though there’s a small chance they could be split up (prior to 2008, Lake Dallas was off on its own away from the Denton schools).

But let’s assume they’re together. This really could go any way — any way at all. There are at least five scenarios that make sense, but here’s what we’re going with for guessing purposes, and let’s face it, that’s all that is involved here until that list is put up on an overheard projector in North Richland Hills.

Denton (2,087); Lake Dallas (1,292); Saginaw (1,946); Saginaw Chisholm Trail (1,798); Saginaw Boswell (1,781); Little Elm (1,747); The Colony (1,970); Grapevine (2,085.5)

This should be a huge boost for Denton and Lake Dallas — not this grouping, necessarily, but just moving down and getting away from Guyer & Co. Denton will be the fifth largest school in the entire classification, so the old numbers excuse won’t be valid anymore, and to Kevin Atkinson’s credit, that whole attitude has diminished there greatly since his arrival. The Broncos had a respectable year on the gridiron this past season, and by the recent standards, it was a great one and Atkinson deserves a ton of credit. He’s starting to get athletes on the field, and from what I’ve gathered, the pipeline is stocked even more in the middle school ranks and freshman teams. Lake Dallas always fields competitive teams, specifically in football and baseball, and that will continue in this district.

So there you have it. Those are my best guesses. As for what will actually happen next Monday? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Whatcha got?

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