Tigers to remain in 3A, but 2A is on the way
While Rockdale will remain nestled in the arms of Class 3A when the University Interscholastic League announces its biannual realignment Thursday morning, it may represent the last hoorah for Tiger athletes in the state’s midway point calssification.
RISD school officials, including Superintendent Dr. Howell Wright and Athletic Director Jeff Miller, have indicated that Rockdale is headed for a drop down at the next reclassification in 2014.
“With the path we’re on, that’s certainly a possibility,” Miller said. “Our seventh and eighth grade classes only have around 100 each in them.”
The Rockdale enrollment was boosted this go-round by a huge freshman class this year of 160 students.
The Tiger football team will have only 10 seniors next season.
“Coaches agree, that for the first time ever, the Class A, 2A and 3A schools are getting smaller,” Miller said. “People are moving to the big cities because that is where the jobs are.”
While some daily newspapers erroneously reported that the enrollment number Rockdale sent to the UIL for consideratfion was 368, it is actually 468, which leaves them about 33 above the expected Class 2A cutoff.
Class 3A includes schools with enrollment ranging from 1,000 to 435.
Two years ago, Rockdale was at 527, representing a dropoff of 59 students.
In comparison, LaGrange lost 25 students and Salado 23. Giddings picked up 32 students and Taylor remained even at 882.
Because of its central location, Rockdale is often shifted around and during a threerealignment span, was included in districts with 12 different schools.
High school writer Carl Padilla projects where schools are going to land after the shakeup and this year he sees Rockdale in an oddly fashioned district that could be nicknamed “Head East” with Caldwell, Fairfield, Groesbeck, Mexia, Madisonville and possibly the new College Station High School.
In 102 years of athletics, Rockdale has never been included in a district with Fairfield, Groesbeck, or Mexia.
They have, however, been linked with Caldwell for 40 years, second only to Cameron (50).
Again, this is only guesswork from Padilla—absolutely no one will know for sure until 9 a.m. Thursday.
Two years ago, Padilla had the Tigers in with Caldwell, Madisonville, Navasota, Taylor and Rudder.
Only Caldwell and Navasota came true.
Better put some new tires on the yellow dog.
“That district doesn’t scare me,” Miller said. “It’s a good deal for us on paper as long as that paper is not a map.”
Miller isn’t concerned so much with the number of miles he’ll be forced to travel, but the discrepency in the number of students between the larger schools and smaller schools in Class 3A.
“It’s unfair to Class 3A that we’re not split, big school-small school, before the districts are made up, like Class A and Class 2A. Class 4A has done that by sending four teams to the playoffs.
“They balance everyone else, but haven’t equalized Class 3A. Those of us in the 500 student range don’t think that it’s fair that we’re put in a district with a school that has 1,000 kids.”
Fairfield, Groesbeck and Mexia all have between the 450-540 enrollment range.
In Padilla’s prediction, Giddings, LaGrange, Navasota and Smithville would join Bellville and Columbus in a new 23-3A.
Personally, I would like to see Navasota shipped off and Taylor dragged back in to form a nice, neat Central Texas district package of like teams.
Should Rockdale be included in a five-team district, its first five game will look like this: Salado, Burnet, Cameron, LIberty Hill and Madisonville. (This is of course if they are not included in a league with any of these teams.)
Miller decided against scheduling Taylor, which had declined to play the Tigers at the last re-districting, ending a 53-year streak between the blood rivals.
It appears that Thorndale will ease back into the warm waters of Class A after taking their lumps in an unbelievably competitive Class 2A district the past two years.
Thorndale turned in a enrollment of 196, which is four below the 2A cutoff and six fewer students that last time.
As of today, just one of their programs (girls basketball) made a playoff appearance.
The Bulldog football team posted excellent 7-3 marks the past two seasons and stayed home.
In it’s history, Thorndale has bounced back-and-forth between 2A and A, but spent the majority of tme in Class A, where it has won seven state titles in three different sports.
Milano of course will contiue to reside in Class A, but could see a shift in district members, including Burton, Louise, Snook and Somerville.
Cameron is also safely in Class 2A with an enrollment of 409, losing 12 kids from two years ago.
Class 2A has been very, very good to the Yoemen, with a state title in baseball and girls track and a state finals appearance in football.