Miller scrambling to find opening game foe

Austin Eastside cancels regular season schedule


Terral Dixon scores the first of his four touchdowns in the Tigers’ 58-0 victory over Austin Eastside Memorial in 2010. Eastside doesn’t have enough players to compete on a varsity level this season. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Terral Dixon scores the first of his four touchdowns in the Tigers’ 58-0 victory over Austin Eastside Memorial in 2010. Eastside doesn’t have enough players to compete on a varsity level this season. Reporter/Cliff Dungan With the recent cancellation of its regular season schedule, Rockdale coach Jeff Miller is spending a great deal of his time at the THSCA coaching school in Fort Worth, trying to replace Austin Eastside Memorial as the Tigers opening day opponent.

Rockdale was scheduled to play Eastside Memorial at House Park in Austin on Aug. 26, 28 days from now.

Austin ISD Athletic Director Tommy Cox told media outlets that Eastside will not play a varsity schedule this fall, but will face junior varsity squads instead.

Eastside, which is classified as a Class 4A school, currently has 19 players in its football program. Cox said that of those 19 players, only one is a senior.

“ I would prefer to play 10 games,” Miller said, “ but if I can’t find anything by the end of this week, we’ll just have to go with nine.”

Miller has been in contact with Class 3A Abilene Wylie, Class 4A Austin McCallum and the new Class 5A Round Rock Cedar Ridge High school as possible replacements.

If it were to work out with Wylie, Miller said that it would probably be played at a neutral site, possibly Lampasas.

The Tigers also have another option in taking the zero week off and playing in their open date of week five, but Miller would prefer not to do that unless completely necessary, because that is the week before district play starts.

With two-a-days scheduled to kickoff Monday for most schools, nine other schools also have a void in their schedule, including Lago Vista, Austin St. Andrews and San Antonio Memorial, not including six District 26-4A contests.

This marks the second time that Eastside has caused a ruckus in the Rockdale schedule.

Three years ago, Johnston (as it was known since the 1950s) was mistakenly put in the same district with the Tigers during the bi-annual UIL realignment, only to pull out at the last minute leaving a hole in everyone’s schedule.

Johnston was closed by the state in 2008 and reopened as Eastside Memorial.

Miller found a replacement that season in private school power Midland Christian and the two teams played at Waco ISD.

However, Midland Christian did not want to make the long trip again in 2009 and Miller found another replacement for the replacement in brand new Leander Rouse.

The kicker in all of this is that the only reason that Rockdale scheduled Eastside in the first place was because Taylor refused to play the Tigers after Miller had left an opening for their annual rivalry contest.

The Tigers hosted Eastside in the 2010 season opener and recorded a 58-0 victory.

Eastside played a junior varsity schedule in 2008 and 2009.

The Panthers opened the 2010 season with 25 players on their roster and the team slumped to a 1-9 record.

Eastside, however, did beat St. Andrew’s to snap a 43-game varsity losing streak that dated back to Johnston’s 2003 season.

2011 TIGER SCHEDULE

Aug. 26 TBA
Sept. 2 at Salado
Sept. 9 Cameron
Sept. 16 at Liberty Hill
Sept. 23 Madisonville
Sept. 30 Open
Oct. 7 at Navasota*
Oct. 14 Smithville*
Oct. 21 at LaGrange*
Oct. 28 Giddings*
Nov. 4 at Caldwell*
* District 23-3A game


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