New football district for Hawks
much closer to home
by Kevin Hamilton
Adios, Panhandle, with all due respect to the fine people of West Texas.
The Texas Interscholastic League (UIL)’s release Monday of the two-year realignment for high school football and basketball has Iowa Park dropping out of the former District 1-4A DII with Bushland, Dalhart, Perryton and Vernon ... and now heading into District 3-4A starting this fall, and including Bridgeport, Graham, Krum, and Vernon.
The 2016-17 basketball alignment will have Iowa Park in District 6-4A along with Burkburnett, Graham, Vernon, and Wichita Falls Hirschi.
Gone are the long road trips to Perryton and Dalhart and Bushland.
And awaiting the Hawks and their fans is a stout district, including former 4A DI powerhouse Graham, which has gone deep into the playoffs in recent years; and Krum, which defeated Iowa Park 35-21 last November in the 4A Area playoffs before blanking state-ranked Sweetwater 31-0 then losing to state finalist Celina 42-13.
Iowa Park Athletic Director Aubrey Sims attended a district meeting Tuesday to finish out the schedule for the next two seasons.
For the 2016 season, the Hawks will scrimmage Hirschi and Henrietta, then open at home against Burkburnett. Week 2 is at Gainesville, Week 3 at home against Childress, Week 4 at Mineral Wells, Week 5 at Holliday, and Week 6 vs. Wall in Abilene.
Week 7 will open District 6-4A play with the Hawks hosting Krum. Week 8 is at Vernon, Week 9 a bye, Week 10 at home against Bridgeport, and Week 11 at Graham.
“I like our non-district schedule,” Sims said. “We got some rivalry games back with Burk, Childress and Holliday.”
Sims noted that having a five-team district made it difficult to find a game for Week 6. “Wall is a very good 3A program and it will be a tough game.
“District travel is a lot better than the old district,” he continued. “Our district looks to be the toughest in the region. A bye in the middle of district could be an advantage for us.”
Scheduling games for the middle school Hawks “is still a nightmare,” said Sims. “Lots of schools are going to junior high leagues, and not playing the teams on their schedule. I still have to find a couple of games for our junior high.”
Iowa Park Superintendent Steve Moody felt positive about the new alignment. “In football, the new district alignment renews a rivalry with a couple of schools that have previously been in our district with the addition of Graham and Bridgeport.
“We look forward to competing with these schools in addition to Vernon and district newcomer, Krum.
“Although we enjoyed playing the panhandle schools and we are the reigning district champs, we are excited to have the opportunity to play different teams in a new district,” Moody said. “As for travel, the budget will be spared from sending our teams to the panhandle, and it will be much closer for our fans to follow the Hawks.”
Moody also likes the inclusion of Graham into Iowa Park’s basketball district. “This creates a five team district. That will be beneficial to the coaches for scheduling purposes. Logistically, Graham is a good fit for our district.”
Moody added “The new alignment for football and basketball will be very competitive, and the Hawks look forward to the challenge.”
Sims agreed. “The kids have been working hard in the offseason, and have really started to make huge gains. We have some big holes to fill and lots of opportunities for kids to step up and prove themselves.
“It’s going to be another exciting year of Hawk football.”
Iowa Park reported an enrollment figure of 505 high school students to the UIL prior to the realignment. Vernon reported 524, Krum 603, Graham 711, and Bridgeport 642. Class 4A Division II includes schools with enromment from 480 to 722.
MORE ALIGNMENT NEWS
Iowa Park’s former football district, 1-4A, will now include Brownfield, Bushland, Dalhart, Denver City, and Perryton.
Burkburnett and Hirschi will now be in District 4-4A along with powerhouse Argyle, Decatur, Gainesville, and Sanger.