UIL publishes realignments for 2018-20 Kemp moves into district with Eustace, Malakoff

Posted by : admin | On : February 8, 2018

By Bodey Cooper
The News Staff Writer
AUSTIN–The realignments and reclassifications came out Thursday, Feb. 1 for upcoming football and basketball seasons in Texas from 2018 through 2020.
The new redrawing of districts and boosts in attendance will affect some local teams here in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
One big move is that the Kemp Yellowjackets’ football team will now be moved into a new district alongside the Eustace Bulldogs and the Malakoff Tigers. Along with those three schools are Dallas A+, Dallas Life Oak Cliff and Dallas Madison.
The Yellowjackets exceeded everyone’s expectations this past season, going 13-2, advancing all the way to the State semifinals in football against the Brock Eagles.
’Jackets Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Brandon Hankins says he is happy with the new realignment and expects it to be competitive.
“It is a tough district, but the competition will be good for our kids,” Hankins said. “I am also happy about the travel. I think it is about the same competitive-wise, we came from a really good district the last two years.”
Hankins also said bringing back some not-so-distant rivals will be an added bonus.
“It will be fun to bring back some of the old district foes back in the mix with Eustace and Malakoff,” he said.
Hankins says the preparation his team does will change along with the new additions, but he looks forward to what’s next for Kemp.
“The new prep work will be different because we haven’t played those two teams in the last two years and they are different teams, but so are we. We are excited about the challenge.”
The Malakoff Tigers were favorites coming into the postseason after reaching the State semifinals in 2016 and finishing 9-1 in the regular season in 2017.
They were ousted in the first round by Rockdale, who went on to win the 3A, Division I State championship over Brock.
The Eustace Bulldogs narrowly missed the playoffs in 2017, finishing in fifth place with a 3-4 district record and 6-4 overall.
Eustace Bulldogs Head Football Coach/Athletic Director Heath Ragle says that the district is only getting better with the new addition of Kemp and others, and that they will do as much work as possible to prepare for the upcoming season.
“Obviously adding a State semifinalist team in Kemp makes it tough, but we expected that going into the day,” Ragle said.
“They are a very athletic and well-coached team, so they will present some obstacles for us. Overall though I think moving from the eight-team district to a six-team district is in our favor. We had four top-20 teams in the state in our district last alignment and three of them were often in the top five throughout the last two years. We are not very familiar with three of the teams in the district, so we will do our best between now and that time to learn as much about them as possible.”
Ragle also said the prep work begins early on gathering as much information on new teams as they can.
“We always prep the same way with new alignment on looking at what each team has done scheme-wise and how many returners they may have coming back,” he said. “We go ahead and start making folders on these things now so we can compare notes from the spring to what we are seeing next fall.”
He says that playing in other sports helps the student-athletes as well to stay in shape and prepare for the challenges of next season.
“Ultimately though for the kids, it’s about preparing now during the offseason by competing in other sports, the weight room and on the track to help be prepared for the new district.”
The only change for Mabank in basketball will be the addition of Athens to district play and the subtraction of Rains.
Mabank Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach Tracy Carter sees the same thing he sees every realignment, or the start of every season: the district will be tough to play against, and the Panthers have to scratch and claw for everything they get.
“I think our district will continue to be a strong, very competitive district in which everyone will be in for a battle every game,” Carter said.
The Panthers have two games remaining in the regular season and sit in fourth place in their district behind Brownsboro, Van and Rains.
Senior night is Friday, Feb. 9 for the Panthers against Wills Point, and their regular season comes to an end on the road Feb. 13 against Canton.

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