The day after: Thoughts on the new 6-6A

The UIL announced the new districts for its realignment at the Birdville Fine Arts Complex in North Richland Hills on Monday, February 1, 2016. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News)

The UIL announced the new districts for its realignment at the Birdville Fine Arts Complex in North Richland Hills on Monday, February 1, 2016. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News)

In Sunday’s paper, I wrote about some possible scenarios for Guyer in the newest district alignment following Monday’s biennial UIL realignment. The most logical of the bunch seemed to be a pairing that featured the four schools from Lewisville ISD (all in Denton County) along with old district foes Trophy Club Nelson, Coppell and Southlake Carroll.

It seemed to be a great idea and the most logical way to put Guyer alone in 6A in terms of Denton ISD schools. But as we all know, logic doesn’t always make the cut when it comes to realignment, and the result for Guyer was shocking to pretty much everyone.

Instead, Guyer ended up in the new District 6-6A, not with the Lewisville ISD schools, Nelson and Carroll, but instead with Allen, three Plano schools, two McKinney schools and Wylie??? That means Guyer’s closest trip for a district game will be a 26.6-mile trip through rush hour traffic to Plano West. (Flower Mound Marcus, for instance, would’ve been 7.2 miles).While we’re at it, let’s take a look at distances between Guyer and their new district foes as compared to Guyer and the aforementioned group of schools that several “experts”, including myself, I guess, we’re projecting.

New 6-6A mileage: Wylie (39.5 miles); McKinney (37.7); Plano East (36.6); McKinney Boyd (36.3); Allen (34.3); Plano (30.4); Plano West (26.6).

Projected district mileage: Hebron (20.5); Southlake Carroll (20.2); Coppell (15.7); TC Nelson (13.5); Lewisville (10.6); Flower Mound (9.3); Flower Mound Marcus (7.2).

As you can see, the shortest trip (Plano West) in Guyer’s new district is longer than the longest trip (Hebron) would’ve been if things would’ve shaken out the way we all thought. Oh, well, that’s why they play the game, as the old adage goes.

Now, let’s move on from the travel belly-aching and get to what the new alignment means for Guyer, not only in football but in all sports.

Enrollment is an issue: Guyer is the second smallest school in its new district, much like it was in the old District 5-6A. But the discrepancy is much larger for the next two years. The bold, italic underlined is for emphasis, and you’re about see why. Just putting it in perspective, the four smallest schools (McKinney Boyd, McKinney, Guyer, Wylie) have a combined enrollment of 10,295, and none of those schools hits the 3,000-student mark. The top four? That total is 22,837, and the smallest of the bunch (Plano East) has 5,329.5 students. Some of those large schools, one in particular, likes to say that enrollment doesn’t equate to success, but it’s pretty obvious it does.

Football will be fine, but…: The first time Guyer moved up to the state’s largest classification (2010-2011, 2011-2012), the Wildcats were highly successful in football, playing in the state title game in their first big-school go-round. The other sports at Guyer suffered, though. Top of mind, only Guyer’s baseball and softball teams made the playoffs during that two-year run and neither was able to get out of the first round because they matched up with the LISD/Plano district. In their most recent 6A stint, Guyer’s other sports have been highly successful, winning district titles in boys basketball, volleyball, with two more hoops titles possibly coming, and had deep runs in the playoffs softball and playoff appearances in baseball, as well.

The Plano ISD schools and Allen are all over the state polls in sports such as boys and girls basketball and are also strong in baseball and volleyball. The bi-district matchup with District 5-6A (Lewisville ISD, Southlake Carroll, Euless Trinity, Hurst L.D. Bell) also features several state powers in other sports such as basketball, baseball and softball.

“We’re going to our fifth year at the highest classification, and we’ve made strides in every sport as far as competing at a high level,” Guyer head football coach/atheltic coordinator John Walsh told me on Monday. “We know the history of this district in other sports and we’re talking about some of the state’s elite. We’ll just have to raise our game up and get in there and compete, and I know we will.”

Speaking of bi-district matchups and playoffs…: Yikes! We already went over the bi-district matchup in sports other than football, and that is one tough road. But looking at football specifically, the playoff road for Guyer could likely be one of the toughest in the state and resemble that 2010 playoff run that saw Guyer take on all comers, including some big-time powerhouses. There is a very real chance the 6A Division II playoff teams from Guyer’s little part of the playoff bracket (District 5-8) could include the following teams: Euless Trinity, Southlake Carroll, Guyer, Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Waco Midway. You ever heard of those? You get the picture.

“In District 5-8, if you start counting state championships and playoff wins it’d be up there with any region in the state,” Walsh said. “The guarantees is us SLC, CH and basically DeSoto, too. Those four, for sure, are small schools, and that’s a pretty dang good group.”

To clarify Walsh’s comment a bit, DeSoto could possibly go Division I if Grand Prairie makes the playoffs out of District 7-6A, but the chances of that don’t seem too great.

In 2010, Guyer went through a really good Marcus team, Cedar Hill, Southlake Carroll and Longview to get to the state title game, and they’d like have to do the same if they want to play late into December in 2016.

Final thoughts: As far as football goes, I think Guyer will be fine. Sure, there’s a game against Allen, but the Wildcats don’t have to worry about Allen in the postseason and remember, the Wildcats played right with Allen in 2014 with Kyler Murray in toe. Last year, of course, was a different story. With that said, a playoff road will not be easy with a possible first-round matchup against either Euless Trinity or Southlake Carroll and a second-round game against Cedar Hill or DeSoto. In the third round, they could be looking at another game against San Angelo Central or even Mansfield and then a fourth-round matchup against one of those powers we’ve already discussed from District 5-8. In the other sports, it’s going to be a struggle.

As improved as Guyer’s other sports have gotten in the six years since they last moved up, their district schedules and first-round matchups are going to be a bear in just about everything — boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball and volleyball. If Guyer has a team get out of the first round, and it could happen, in any of those sports, you’re looking at a team that is every bit a state title contender.

In summation, it’s going to be a fun couple of years for Guyer fans, even if it’s far from what anyone saw coming on Sunday night, or even Monday morning at 8:45 a.m.

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