Lindale moves into new districts for football, other sports

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This past week, UIL representatives made it official following their biennial realignment meeting: Lindale will change districts and compete in Region III’s District 9-5A along with Hallsville, Jacksonville, Pine Tree, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Nacogdoches and Whitehouse.

On the basketball side, Lindale will move to Region II’s District 15-5A along with Greenville, Mount Pleasant, Royse City, Sulphur Springs and Texas High.

A move to Division II in football for Class 5A wasn’t news to Lindale ISD officials, but district officials still had to wait until this past Thursday to learn the specifics.

Lindale Head Coach Chris Cochran was happy with the new address for his Eagles, especially considering there won’t be any long trips to Ennis and Corsicana.

“We’re very pleased with the way (the realignment) turned out,’’ he said. “It will still be competitive week in and week out – which is always the case in East Texas.’’

Lindale’s non-district opponents will remain Kaufman, Forney and Van, Cochran said, with the sites and dates to be determined.

“Our kids are going to have to be ready for district a bit sooner this year,’’ he said. “We know it’s going to be tough, but we are up for the challenge.’’

The new district also features another interesting item – a majority of the coaches are in their second or third year with their respective teams. Nacogdoches and Whitehouse are the exceptions.

“There’s going to be a bunch of good football being played on Friday nights,’’ Cochran said.

He said the new district’s coaches were planning to meet soon and iron out the specifics of the league schedule.

Classifications are determined by the number of students enrolled in district. Class 5A attendance numbers are 1,150-2,189. There are 254 schools in basketball and 253 in football.

Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt echoed Cochran’s sentiments about moving into a more travel-friendly district for football, while acknowledging the road trips in volleyball, basketball and spring sports will be a bit longer.

“We felt it was a very fair draw for us, especially in football,’’ Surratt said. “I think we can be competitive in (9-5A) and we are looking forward to the challenge.’’

An eight-team district presents a playoff challenge as well, he said.

“When you are in a district that size you know that you’ve earned a right to be in the playoffs,’’ he said, referring to the top four teams in 9-5A advancing to the post season.

Regarding the other sports, Surratt noted there will be long road trips to places such as Texarkana, Greenville and Royse City, but it’s nothing new for the district.

“There’s certainly more travel in these districts but we’ve also had a pretty good travel schedule before,’’ he said, referring to road trips to places such as Ennis, Corsicana and Lufkin a couple of years ago.

New things are in the offing for Lindale’s athletic programs during the next couple of years, something the district will welcome Surratt said.

“Now that we know where we’ll be playing we know we have to play well,’’ he said. “But we welcome the competition and building relationships with these new schools.’’

He said the new district’s coaches were planning to meet soon and iron out the specifics of the league schedule.

Classifications are determined by the number of students enrolled in district. Class 5A attendance numbers are 1,150-2,189. There are 254 schools in basketball and 253 in football.

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