New challenges await Fredericksburg in Class 4A

SIGNING a letter of intent Wednesday morning to play football for the Colorado School of Mines was Fredericksburg High School senior Clayton Braden. Joining him on signing day were (seated, from left) his parents, Michael and Donna Braden, and (standing) Fredericksburg High School football coaches, including defensive coordinator Bill Wilder, head coach Lance Moffett and defense ends coordinator Jerold Gaitan. — Standard-Radio Post Photo

By Matt Ward

Athletic directors from across the region — including Fredericksburg High School’s Lance Moffett — circled a small table in an Austin area University Interscholastic League Regional Service Center, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the UIL realignment for 2014-16.

About five minutes prior to 9 a.m. Monday morning, a pair of UIL officials brought out the cardboard box filled with realignment packets, set them on the table while giving final instructions and then made ADs wait the final three minutes until the clock struck nine.

“I’m trying to get as close to the table as I can and at nine o’clock, they just open the box and go,” Moffett said.

Certain uncertainty

There were plenty of unknowns heading into realignment, but several things were already assured.

First, with the UIL adding a sixth classification to allow six-man football to become the new Class 1A, every other classification moved up a number, pushing Fredericksburg up to Class 4A.

Second, division cutoffs for 4A football meant that two difficult opponents, Geronimo Navarro and Wimberley, would be pulled from the Billies’ schedule.

Schools in Class 4A (465-1,059 enrollment) will be divided into Division I (686-1,059) and Division II (465-685) districts for football only. FHS turned in an enrollment number of 952 on “snapshot day” Oct. 25.

Week 5 scramble

Once 9 a.m. rolled around and Moffett opened the realignment packet, the FHS athletic director went straight for Fredericksburg’s football assignment, which placed them in Class 4A’s District 14-DI, along with Bandera, Boerne, Canyon Lake and new district foes Liberty Hill and Taylor.

Knowing that a six-team district would leave him with five non-district opponents to schedule, Moffett quickly confirmed handshake agreements made prior to realignment day with four schools — Lampasas in week one, Austin Travis in week two, Burnet in week three and Llano in week four.

One opening remained — week five — which was up in the air after Hondo had to cancel their arrangement due to a prior commitment to Devine and their backup plan, Uvalde, ended up in an eight-team district, leaving them short of non-district games to play.

“At that point, I held up my hand (with all fingers spread) and said ‘I need a five,’” Moffett said. “We wanted something in the San Antonio area (since the other non-district schools were all north of Fredericksburg).”

The only school willing to schedule Fredericksburg for week five was last year’s Region IV-3A state semifinalist, La Grange.

“Coach Willis and I were the last ones to leave because no matter how good you are, my gut did not want me to schedule La Grange,” Moffett said. “He (La Grange AD Matt Kates) has been calling me for a month (trying to schedule a game). At the end of the day, we accomplished a lot this year, and if we want to do what we want to do, we need to go into their house and beat them.”

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