, Port Arthur, Texas

December 3, 2013

Local coaches play realignment waiting game

Gabriel Pruett
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The UIL recently announced cutoff numbers for this February’s realignment which will include a newly formed Class 6A.

    The current Class 4A will be called Class 5A and so on down to Six Man which will be named Class 1A. Class 4A will also include two divisions like the ones used currently in classes 2A and below.

    Schools with enrollments of 2,100 or more will be placed in Class 6A. Port Arthur Memorial reported to the UIL in early November it has an enrollment of 2,110. Eleven students less and the Titans would like have been in 5A, and in a district with Nederland and Port Neches-Groves.

    “I am very interested now to see which district the UIL puts us in,” Memorial coach Kenny Harrison said. “I hope we are fortunate enough to where they put us in a district where the numbers are comparable to our numbers. Teams like North Shore can double our numbers while Baytown Sterling, Channelview, West Brook and several Pasadena schools are closer to the numbers we turned in. It will be interesting.”

    Harrison said he has not solidified any non-district games for the upcoming two football seasons.

    “That is mainly because it is hard to do when you are not sure if you will be in a six-team district or an eight-team district,” Harrison said. He added there are two local teams his Titans would be interested in playing, if the schedules were to work out right for all sides.

    “We would play Nederland and PN-G,” Harrison said. “It only works if the schedules match up.”

    Even though the Titans will be in Class 6A, the numbers between Memorial and Nederland and Port Neches-Groves are not far from each other. PN-G turned in an enrollment of 1,390 while Nederland turned in 1,616.

    “I’ll definitely be interested in playing both those schools,” Harrison said.

    Nederland and Port Neches-Groves will both be in Class 5A. Class 5A will house schools with enrollments of 1,060-2,099.

    PN-G Athletic Director Brandon Faircloth said the Indians only try to control what they can during a realignment year.

    “I wish I could predict things because that talent would be worth a lot of money,” Faircloth said. “I really enjoy this time of year and the drama it brings in. Every year over the last several it has been thought Livingston would move out just because of geography. Schools like Dayton and Barbers Hill are always a possibility to come into our district. We know our gang of schools like Beaumont Central, Ozen, Nederland and Vidor will always be together.

    “What I can control now is our schedule. We start work on that earlier during realignment years. I can guarantee we will play West Orange-Stark and Goose Creek Memorial next year. We need a Week Zero game. There are a lot of reasons to play a team like the Mustangs. They prepare you for District 20-4A. Last year we had a lot of close games in which we won and playing West Orange-Stark had a lot to do with that.”

    Nederland Athletic Director Larry Neumann said if Little Cypress-Mauriceville does not wind up in Class 5A it could lead the UIL to making another move, one that takes Livingston out of 20-4A.

    “You never know the results until February’s realignment day,” Neumann said. “The logical, uneducated guess I have heard the most from the few people I have talked to is Livingston moving out of our district and Barbers Hill and Dayton are sliding in. You can’t know for sure until you get that sheet from the UIL.”

    Neumann said the Bulldogs have not been able to place any teams on their tentative schedule for the 2014-2015 seasons.

    “My phone is definitely not ringing off the hook,” Neumann said. “Sometimes your reputation precedes you and I am not saying we will be some machine next year but we have had some success in the recent past. I expect to fill out a schedule but with who I don’t know yet. There a lot of coaches in the same boat right now.”

    The UIL will announce district-by-district classification in on Feb. 3, 2014.