High School: DISD

Ice changes signing day for Metroplex

February, 1, 2011
With most area high schools closed Wednesday due to the ice storm that hit the Metroplex on Tuesday, players will have to submit their letters of intent with little to no pomp and circumstance.

Players who wish to sign will have to submit their paperwork via fax either by themselves or with their coach's help at their schools. All school districts that have canceled classes have canceled the signing day parties that were scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The DISD had planned an event at Davis Fieldhouse that would incorporate all the athletes in the district who planned to sign tomorrow, but DISD director of athletics Jeffery Johnson issued an e-mail Tuesday night that tentatively moved the event to next week.

Johnson said with the inclement weather affecting traffic and with much of the local media focused on the upcoming Super Bowl, the players would not be able to receive "the day they deserve" until next week.

Allen also elected to push its ceremony back to next week. Linebacker Melvin Spears (Iowa), receiver Jonathon Lee (Baylor) and offensive lineman Brad McNulty (Missouri) are among the signees for the Eagles.

Euless Trinity, home to several Division I commits, has canceled its signing day party but will still have players come in to fill out paperwork to submit to colleges.

Arlington Martin football coach Bob Wager, who grew up in New York, said he knew his Yankee background would pay off someday. He spent part of Monday driving on ice to pick up paperwork from Martin’s scholarship players so it could be faxed to the respective colleges.

However, Martin’s planned signing day ceremony has been pushed back a day to 8 a.m. Thursday.

“Regardless if there is snow or it is 80 degrees, this is one of the most exciting days in the life of these kids,’’ Wager said.

Martin’s list includes running back Danzel Williams (Oklahoma), linebackers Deryck Gildon (already enrolled at TCU) and Devonta Burns (Texas A&M) and quarterback Russell Bellomy (Michigan.)

“The thing is, this storm is so widespread, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our faxes aren’t answered because there is no one there to do it,'' Wager said.

Coppell will hold its ceremony at 8 a.m. on Thursday. Among the signees are running back Cam McDaniel (Notre Dame), defensive back Bennett Okotcha (Oklahoma), defensive end Tanner Rice (Air Force) and offensive lineman Oni Omole.

For his 2011 class of 14 signees, Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire is putting a 24-hour hold on the planned school ceremony, to 3 p.m. Thursday, but is asking for the players and parents to come to the school to take care of paperwork on Wednesday morning.

“I had calls all day Tuesday asking what my plan was going to be, but it is hard to plan when you don’t know what the weather is going to be,’’ McGuire said. “This is the first time I can remember anything like this on signing day.’’

TAKS test alters playoffs schedule

March, 1, 2010
The usual high school basketball schedule gets thrown off kilter today. Due to the mandatory administration of the English Language Arts section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test being administered Wednesday, all boys regional quarterfinals games will be played tonight rather than Tuesday.

“It’s no big deal,” Kimball coach Royce Johnson said of the short turnaround before the regional quarterfinals. “Everybody’s playing tonight, so it’s no advantage to anyone. It’s just something we have to do.”

Dallas ISD is guaranteed at least two teams in the Class 4A Region II tournament on Friday and Saturday at Garland ISD Special Events Center. The top two teams in Districts 11-4A and 12-4A have dominated postseason play against Districts 9-4A and 10-4A, and there is a DISD team in every remaining slot for their regional quarterfinals, setting up a thrilling doubleheader tonight at Ellis Davis Field House.

“One thing we try to do in Dallas basketball is push our kids and get after them,” Woodrow Wilson coach Pat Washington said. “We want to go out and prove the best basketball coaches and players are actually in DISD.”

District 12-4A champion Lincoln (28-3), ranked fifth in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, plays 11-4A runner-up Pinkston (23-9) at 6:30 tonight, and No. 11 and 11-4A champ Kimball (26-7) takes on No. 7 and 12-4A runner-up Woodrow Wilson 27-7) at 8 p.m.

Making preparation for Monday’s games a little easier, the DISD schools are playing who they thought they’d be playing – familiar foes from across town.

“We looked at everything back in December, and we felt this would be a strong possibility,” Johnson said. “I think Woodrow’s been in the same mode. They have a lot of information on us, and we have it on them. It’s about one night and who plays the best on that one night.”

The girls state championship tournament runs Thursday through Saturday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

Bi-district basketball playoffs begin

February, 22, 2010
The boys 4A Region II bi-district playoffs begin Tuesday with a pair of Dallas ISD doubleheaders from Districts 11-4A and 12-4A at the city’s showcase facilities, Ellis Davis Field House and Forester Field House.

Lincoln (25-3), the 12-4A champion ranked No. 5 by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, faces apparently over-matched Seagoville (17-13), the fourth-place squad from 11-4A at 6 p.m. at Ellis Davis Field House.

The Tigers feature a monster frontcourt -- with 6-7 junior forward LeBryan Nash, one of the area's most sought-after recruits, and 6-6 junior post Keaton Miles -- both averaging double-doubles. Nash has recorded 17.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while Miles turns in averages of 12.5 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Seagoville counters with talented big-man Devonta Abron, who’s averaging 24.8 points and 13.2 rebounds. However, two big men was better than one on Dec. 28 when Lincoln already beat Seagoville, 64-53, in the Dallas ISD Coca-Cola Tournament.

That game will be followed by 12-4A second-place and seventh-ranked in 4A Woodrow Wilson (23-7, 9-2) taking on 11-4A third-place South Oak Cliff (17-14, 10-4) at 7:30 p.m.

Across town, defending state runner-up and current 11-4A champion and 11th-ranked Kimball (24-7, 14-0) takes on Conrad (11-15, 6-6) at 6 p.m. at Forester Field House. After early season struggles adjusting to its new up tempo game plan designed to run down defending state champion Houston Yates, head coach Royse Johnson has the Knights on a 14-game winning streak.

District 11-4A runner-up Pinkston (22-9, 11-3) follows at 7:30 p.m. against 12-4A third-place finisher Hillcrest (17-10, 8-4).

Greenville nabs third-seed over Highland Park

In District 10-4A, Greenville (16-16, 9-5) and Highland Park (16-13, 9-5) finished tied for third place, but Greenville took the higher seed in the playoffs by virtue of sweeping Highland Park on the season. It faces 9-4A runner-up Frisco at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Prosper High School. Meanwhile, Highland Park plays 9-4A champion Sherman (19-11) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at McKinney Boyd High School. Richardson Pearce (21-11, 10-4), the runner-up from 10-4A plays 9-4A third-place finisher Denison (15-15, 11-3) at 8 p.m. following the Sherman-Highland Park tilt.

Carrollton Newman Smith (23-10, 14-0) finished off the 10-4A run undefeated and receives a date with McKinney North (14-14, 6-8), winners of a three-team tiebreaker tournament with Frisco Wakeland and Frisco Centennial for fourth place in 9-4A. After Centennial beat Wakeland, 56-42, on Thursday to get a date with McKinney North, McKinney North won, 68-44, on Friday. McKinney North now faces Newman Smith at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at The Colony High School.

DISD gyms filled week-round

January, 25, 2010
Scheduling basketball games is no problem for most athletic directors -- line them up on Tuesdays and Fridays and then play the games. Not so for Dallas Independent School District athletic director Jeff Johnson.

Not only does Johnson have 22 schools to worry about with boys and girls and junior varsity and varsity games to schedule, but he also has only five gyms in which to play games -- Cobb Field House, Ellis Davis Field House, Forester Field House, Loos Field House and Sprague Field House. DISD schools do not play on their own campuses.

"We have basketball going pretty much every night of the week," Johnson said. "We've had between 19 to 22 schools for such a long time that we’re pretty much used to it."

DISD never schedules games on Sundays and rarely on Mondays, but the rest of the week there are games being played in at least one of the field houses around Dallas. On Saturdays, the gyms get even busier with games often beginning at noon for varsity boys and girls games, followed by another school playing at 3 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.

To make things easier once district begins, Johnson said DISD tries to schedule its 3A and 5A games, in which the schools often play outside the DISD, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and most of the 4A games, in which the district teams are predominantly DISD schools, on the non-traditional days -- Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. That way the teams become as accustomed to as regular a schedule as possible.

"It's more feasible for the teams in the district that way," he said.