Realignment puts four-largest ET TAPPS schools together

All Saints quarterback Matt Brunson tries to throw pass Bishop Gorman's Hunter Sattler during their game Sept. 20 at Mewbourne Field. (Karen Pollard | Correspondent)

As soon as he saw the realignments, All Saints athletic director Eddie Francis sent a letter to TAPPS, commending the organization for a job well done.

And Francis isn't the only East Texan excited about the new district alignments, announced this week and set to begin in the fall of 2014.

For the first time ever, the four largest Tyler-area TAPPS schools will be in one district in all sports.

"I like it," Francis said. "I like the fact that it's unified all the Tyler schools.

"I like it geographically; I like it competitiveness-wise. I commend TAPPS for a job well done."

All Saints, Bishop Gorman, Grace Community and Bullard Brook Hill will compete together in all sports. They'll be in TAPPS Div. II-District 2 for football and soccer and TAPPS 2-4A for every other sport.

The alignment is subject to appeals, though Bishop Gorman athletic director Jeff Smith, a member of the TAPPS athletic executive committee, said such appeals are unlikely to change this district.

"As a part of the committee that goes through that process, that's the most difficult thing the organization does," Smith said of the realignment. "It's exciting to have the four of us together."

Joining the four East Texas schools will be Carrollton Prince of Peace, Dallas Shelton, Dallas Christian and newcomer Frisco Legacy Christian, a growing school which has moved up a classification.

The district notably lost Dallas Parish Episcopal and Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill. The Panthers moved up to 5A in all sports but football (they're in Div. II-District 1 in football now). The Tigers moved down to 3A and Division 3.

The Trojans will rejoin TAPPS in football after two years of playing an independent schedule. Francis said he feels like with the nucleus of young players on the All Saints team this year — the Trojans only have three seniors — the school will be ready to be competitive.

"We're going to jump into it," Francis said. "We feel like the independent schedule allowed us to get our program in shape."

One major change in this realignment is the lack of Waco Reicher, which removes the longest road trip for East Texas schools, something Francis and Smith both expressed pleasure over. The farthest trip now will be to Carrollton and Frisco.

In terms of competitiveness, Dallas Christian will be a favorite each year in football, but the other team sports could be more wide open. TC-CH has been a basketball powerhouse and Parish Episcopal has had consistent success in every sport.

Additionally, two-time defending state football champion Midland Christian will be moving up to Division I, opening up the bracket for East Texas schools.

Given the schools in the district, every sport should be competitive and allow even the smaller schools a chance to compete for district titles, Francis said.

"We feel like our program is in a position to compete well at district and the state level the next couple years," Francis said.

Elsewhere in TAPPS, East Texas Christian Academy will compete in TAPPS 4-2A for most sports. That district includes Dallas Tyler Street Christian, Dallas First Baptist, Dallas Lakehill Prep, DeSoto Canterbury, Longview Christian Heritage and Longview Trinity School of Texas.

The Panthers baseball team, coming off an appearance in the state title game, will compete in TAPPS 3-1A/2A with First Baptist, Lakehill Prep, Garland Christian, Greenville Christian, Heath The Fulton School and Longview Christian Heritage.


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