Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

February 4, 2014

Area coaches' reactions vary to UIL realignment plan



High school football coaches in the area shared their respective thoughts Tuesday after having a little over 24 hours to digest the latest University Interscholastic League realignment, which was released Monday morning and covers the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school terms for Texas high schools.

Collectively, at least a couple of the athletic directors/head football coaches displayed a “make it work” attitude.

Jacksonville was dealt a horrendous hand by the UIL, as the Indians were placed into District 16-5A along with Corsicana, John Tyler, Lindale, Nacogdoches and Whitehouse — the current District 16-4A cast — plus Lufkin and Ennis.

Lufkin is dropping down a notch due to enrollment declines while the Lions of Ennis went 14-1 last season and are a mainstay in post season play where Ennis has won state championships as recent as 2004 and 2001.

Jacksonville athletic director/head football coach Chris Taber said the addition of Ennis stunned him, but that he expected the Tribe to be included in a district with Lufkin.

“We thought that we'ed get Lufkin because they are attached to Nacodoches,” Taber explained. “Now we got a state-semi finalist (Ennis) from last year and a powerhouse (Lufkin) in our district.”

Taber admitted that he was disappointed at the hand the UIL dealt the Indians at first, but that his focus now is to accept the change and prepare to go out and compete.

“There's two things that we can do; mope around and pout about it or get our guys ready to go out and to battle,” Taber said. “All of the district are tough. Each year there are changes. For example, Whitehouse will lose a lot of talented kids (graduation) and Nacogdoches loses a lot on defense. Our kids will still be young, but they will have that valuable varsity experience under their belts from last year.”

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