High School: UIL

Rule changes could impact game outcomes

August, 24, 2011
While juggling new rosters and depth charts this season, coaches will also have to adjust to a few rule changes that could have a major impact on the outcome of games.

Here are a few of the important rule changes:
  • If a player takes a shot to the head that the referee feels could have resulted in a concussion, the official can send the player off to be attended to by trainers. The player must stay off the field for one play. If the player demonstrates any concussion-like symptoms, they must follow the new concussion protocol put in place this season by the UIL.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties can now take points off the board. If a player commits an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, such as taunting, and it is clearly a live-ball foul committed before the player crosses the goal line, the 15-yard penalty is assessed from the spot of the foul and points are removed if the play resulted in a score. The even crazier hypothetical to this new rule is if a non-ball carrying player commits an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before the ball enters the end zone on a scoring play, the penalty is assessed from the spot of the foul.
  • To protect linebackers, new rules have been put in place to restrict how offensive players can block below the waist. The rules remain the same for any player in the tackle box or on the line. They can block below the waist in any direction. Players that are split out, including the tight end if he is not within the 7-yard limit of the tackle box, are restricted on how they can block below the waist. Those players can only block “north-south”, vertically from goal line to goal line, or back to the player’s “adjacent sideline”, which is the sideline he is closest to when the ball is snapped. This can get tricky when players go into motion past the snapper because their “adjacent sideline” changes.


Save the dates: 2011 UIL football calendar

July, 23, 2011
High school football season is just around the corner. To keep track of what to expect, here is the UIL calendar for the 2011 season.



The Texas Senate passed a bill Friday that will allow Texas private schools to participate in UIL academic and athletic activities, excluding football and basketball.

The vote passed 22-7, according to AP reports, after the bill was amended to exclude privates from being able to have "equal access" to football and basketball.

The bill, written by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, creates a five-year program to bring private schools into the UIL, beginning with those that would enter at the 1A classification in 2011-2012 and ending with 5A in 2014-2015.

The legislature also include a paragraph giving the UIL authority to create rules to deter private schools from recruiting athletic talent.

The bill would have to be passed by the House of Representatives to become law.

Here is the amended bill which prevents private schools from "equal access" to football and basketball.

Here is the original draft of the bill.

UIL: Only one positive steroid test this past fall

April, 21, 2011
Only one of 2,083 tests taken this past fall came back positive for anabolic steroid use, the UIL announced Thursday.

The testing program took place between September and December. There also was one protocol violation because of a selected studen that didn't report for testing.

This from the UIL statement:
Of the 135 schools where tests were conducted, 1,333 boys were tested representing 11 sports and 750 girls were tested representing 10 sports. The sports with the most student-athletes tested were football for males (469) and soccer for females (125). ... Overall, there were 649 freshmen student-athletes tested, the most of any grade level.

Fall 2010 UIL Anabolic Steroid Testing Report
Total Number of Tests: 2,083

Breakdown of Tests Conducted by Grade and Gender:
9th grade – Females: 265, Males: 384
10th grade – Females: 200, Males: 385
11th grade – Females: 155, Males: 285
12th grade – Females: 130, Males: 279

Breakdown of Tests Conducted by Sport:
Boys sports -- Baseball 86; Basketball 126; Cross-Country 19; Football 469; Golf 28; Soccer 124; Swimming 26; Tennis 57; Track & Field 24; Wrestling 30; Multi-sport 344. Total: 1,333.

Girls sports -- Basketball 79; Cross-County 42; Golf 20; Soccer 125; Softball 65; Swimming 25; Tennis 51; Track & Field 36; Volleyball 112; Multi-sport 195. Total: 750.

UIL names Cousins interim director of athletics

January, 18, 2011
The University Interscholastic League named Dr. Mark Cousins as interim director of athletics, effective immediately.

Cousins takes over for Cliff Odenwald, who resigned effective Dec. 31. Odenwald had been in the position since February 2009.

Cousins began his career with the UIL in 1994 and had been director of policy since 2009.

“The experience Dr. Cousins has gained during his time at the UIL will help lead us through this transitional period until we are able to hire an athletic director on a permanent basis," UIL executive director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a statement. "I have every confidence in him and his abilities to get the job done.”

RB Gray's eight TDs give Aledo state crown

December, 18, 2010
Johnathan GrayTravis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comAledo rode Johnathan Gray's eight touchdowns to the Class 4A Division II crown Friday.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Johnathan Gray put his name in the record book ahead of some of Texas’ most storied high school football players in leading Aledo to its second consecutive Class 4A Division II state championship Friday.

The junior running back torched La Marque’s defense for 325 yards and eight touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 69-34 landslide before 27,330 witnesses at Cowboys Stadium.

Gray's eight touchdownsincreased his season total to 59, shattering the 57-year-old record of 57 set by Sugar Land’s Ken Hall.

“We knew about the record, but there was no intention of trying to break it,’’ said Gray, the obvious choice for the game‘s outstanding offensive player. “I mean eight TDs, are you kidding me?’’

Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said Gray’s record is more impressive considering he hasn’t been running in practice for three weeks, since injuring his knee in a win over Hereford.

“The mental side was probably tougher than anything for him,’’ the coach said.

Pre-game attention focused on Gray’s head-to-head dual with La Marque’s star junior running back Tim Wright.

“I’m not saying I’m better,’’ Gray said, “but we’re state champions.’’

Wright rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

“He was up to the hype,’’ Wright said of Gray, “but I still think I’m better. The mistakes and turnovers beat us.’’

La Marque came close to matching Aledo’s quick strikes in the first half but couldn’t sustain the pace in the final two quarters.

Three of the Cougars’ five turnovers came in the second half.

“We played more contain in the second half,’’ said Aledo’s Rob Blowers, voted the game’s outstanding defensive player. “We were OK with letting Wright have three or four yards, but we had to stop the big plays.’’

Blowers accounted for two turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery, ending consecutive La Marque possessions in the second half.

“We had a tough time stopping them,’’ Buchanan said. “Our defensive coaches did a good job making minor adjustments at halftime.’’

La Marque pulled to within 41-34 four minutes into the second half, but Aledo put it away by scoring the game’s 28 points.

Buchanan had a chance to soak it all in.

“The older you get, the better these are,’’ the coach said.

And with Gray and many of his teammates returning, don’t rule out an Aledo three-peat in 2011.

Trinity knocking on door of a fourth state title

December, 16, 2010

No need for Euless Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver to tack a picture of Cowboys Stadium on a bulletin board as motivation for his players.

The Trojans have their eye on the prize every time they practice.

School and stadium are separated by less than seven miles.

The combination of the mammoth size of the $1.15 billion-dollar facility and the elevation of Trinity’s workout grounds behind the school make it clearly visible as the Trojans go through drills.

When the University Interscholastic League announced that Cowboys Stadium would be the main site for this year’s state championship games, including Class 5A, the Trojans made it a top priority to be a part of the festivities.

Trinity (15-0) will face Pearland (15-0) in the Class 5A Division I title game 8 p.m. in the final of Saturday’s triple-header state championship extravaganza.

Nothing but good memories so far at Cowboys Stadium, where the Trojans are unbeaten in five appearances, two of those this season.

When last Trinity was in the domed facility, it was celebrating a 37-35 area playoff victory over Allen four weeks ago.

It was Trinity that played (and won) the first high school game played at the new home of the Dallas Cowboys, defeating Bingham (Utah), 42-21, on Sept. 7, 2009.

This will be the first opportunity for Trinity to play a state championship game so close to home.

Trojans fans had to travel to Round Rock (2005) and San Antonio (2007 and 2009) for the other state title victories and to Austin in 1992 for its only title-game defeat.

Another first, Trinity is unbeaten going into the state title game. The Trojans have won 28 straight games and 21 of their last 22 playoff contests.

The stakes are high. A victory will assure Trinity not only a state title, but a No. 1 national ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50 by ESPN RISE.

Trinity’s trademark is pre- and post-game posture dance known as the haka.

If the Trojans manage to pull this one off, another dance might be appropriate.

A seven-mile conga line, perhaps?

Aledo's success shaped by three close wins

December, 16, 2010
When Aledo has had to dig deep in its four-month journey to the state championship game, the Bearcats displayed the grit needed to prevail in close games.

Those successes should serve Aledo (15-0) well when it faces La Marque (11-3) in the Class 4A Division II state title game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium.

[+] EnlargeAledo High School quarterback Matthew Bishop
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comAledo quarterback Matthew Bishop has stepped up when opposing defenses key in on Johnathan Gray.
The majority of the Bearcats' games this season were decided by halftime -- save for three in which they were severely challenged. Aledo has the opportunity to play for its second consecutive state title thanks to those three wins:

*A 14-10 victory at Lake Travis on Sept. 10, ending the Cavaliers 48-game winning streak. Star running back Johnathan Gray scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run on fourth down. This win was a program-shaper.

*An 18-10 Region I final win two weeks ago over rival Stephenville, thanks to two fourth-down touchdown passes in the fourth quarter by Matthew Bishop. This win proved Aledo could rally and do it against a defense intent on stopping Gray.

*A 29-27 state semifinal thriller over Mesquite Poteet last week. Bearcats defender Connor Bradham stopped a two-point conversion play in the final two minutes that could have tied the score. This win proved the defense could make a vital stop, even though it was reeling a little at the end.

Together with the other 12 wins this season, the victories form a 28-game winning streak and an ESPN RISE national ranking of No. 19 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Gray, a junior, has been instrumental in the Bearcats' run of success with 2,898 yards and 51 touchdowns. But when defenses load up to stop the first winner of the Tom Landry Award (given to North Texas' best high school football player,) Aledo has found alternative options.

Bishop, also a junior, has played an increasing role in the last two playoff wins.

Watch ESPNDallas.com's Travis L. Brown, Jeff Andrews and Randy Jennings break down the state finals of the UIL football playoffs.
Class 4A Video   Class 5A Video

Video Interviews:
Denton Ryan's Dan Kottman »
Aledo's Johnathan Gray »
Aledo's Matthew Bishop »
Denton Ryan's Kaylon Alexander »
Denton Guyer's Ty Hook »

Brackets: All 4A/5A »
4A DI | 4A DII | 5A DI | 5A DII
Others (from UIL website) »
In La Marque, the Bearcats will be facing a school with a rich football tradition. The Cougars have won five state titles, the most recent in 2003.

The Cougars' streak of 18 consecutive winning seasons ended with a 3-6 record in 2008, the first season under former Dallas Kimball coach Darrell Jordan, followed by a 4-6 record in 2009.

La Marque started this season 5-0 but then lost three of four in midseason and just managed to slip into the playoffs as the fourth-place finisher in District 24-4A.

The Cougars have found their stride in the playoffs, however, led by a pair of juniors in quarterback Emanuell Williams and running back Tim Wright.

In a 42-18 state semifinal win over Corpus Christi Calallen last week, Williams threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns while Wright rushed for 143 yards and scored twice.

The Cougars aren't lacking for size on defense with senior linemen Elijah Pleasant (6-1, 331) and Antonio Wright (6-1, 280.)

Wright was one of three Cougars named Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A All-State, along with junior linebacker Ken Butler and running back Tim Wright.

Gray and offensive lineman Michael Wilson were Aledo's All-State first-team selections.

Football practice begins today for some

August, 2, 2010
Opening Day for UIL high school football practice has arrived for Class 5A and 4A schools that chose to forgo spring football practice in the 2009-2010 school year.

The majority of schools opted for 18 spring football dates. For those, the opening day of practice is a week away on Aug. 9.

But for the others, equipment can be issued and non-contact drills are allowed to begin today. No contact equipment other than helmets can be worn for the first four practice days. Contact drills are allowed to begin on Friday.

Opening Day is expected to be a hot one. The forecasted high temperature today is 103 degrees.

Today also marks the first day of practice for UIL volleyball teams. Volleyball scrimmages can begin on Friday. The first day for matches is Aug. 9.


The Spring 2010 Anabolic Steroid Testing Report was released by UIL on Thursday with no positive results coming from the 3,308 tests conducted.

From January 2010 to May 2010, 2,092 males and 1,216 females representing 11 sports were tested from 207 Texas schools. The ninth grade class in the Spring of 2010 contained the most total tests with 984 (609 males and 375 females).

Student-athletes participating in multiple sports were the highest tested group, as 682 males and 405 females were tested.

The most individual tests in the male sports came from football with 590 tests, soccer with 209 tests and basketball with 176 tests. The top three individual sports in which females were tested were soccer(166), softball (143) and volleyball (123).

State playoffs await soccer power Jesuit

March, 23, 2010
The daunting 168-team UIL boys state soccer playoff bracket isn’t quite as scary for a side with Dallas Jesuit’s pedigree.

Jesuit, No. 1 in ESPNRise winter national rankings, completed its regular season with a perfect 18-0-0 record. Jesuit went 12-0-0 in a rugged District 8-5A that included last year’s state champion, Plano.

Dominant? The Rangers have outscored opponents, 54-3.

Keeper Ryan Aubrey, a University of Buffalo signee, has been credited with 15 of the team’s 16 shutouts.

Junior Kingsley Bryce is Jesuit’s leading scorer with 13 goals.

“I hesitate to say it is our best team,’’ Jesuit coach Charles DeLong said. “I'm too old to fight any of our former players. It is a very good team.''

The Rangers returned seven from a side that lost, 1-0, to Plano in the Region I championship match last year.

Four Jesuit players have signed college scholarships.

Jesuit begins what it hopes is a long playoff push with tonight’s bi-district match against Duncanville at Bedford’s Pennington Field. Starting time is 7 p.m.

For this to be the first Jesuit team in any sport to win a UIL state title, DeLong’s team will have to navigate through seven rounds of a playoff bracket filled with landmines and one potential conflict.

In Region I alone, potential third-round opponent Flower Mound Marcus (No. 43 in ESPNRise), won back-to-back state titles in 2007-08.

Other teams that pose danger include Plano and Mansfield (No. 17 in ESPNRise).

A concern for Jesuit and many of the area’s top soccer teams is a scheduling conflict with the Dallas Cup XXXI, which runs from March 28-April 4. Some of the top high school players are members of Cup club teams.

Even if a direct conflict can be avoided, a hectic schedule of Cup and UIL matches could take a physical toll on players trying to compete in both.

The Cup could affect as many as seven Jesuit players. DeLong said the Jesuit policy is to let the players make their own choice.

TASO buys time with injuction against UIL

February, 8, 2010
The legal team representing the Texas Association of Sports Officials is going forward with its suit against the University Interscholastic League.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin issued a writ of injunction against the UIL on Friday.

The injunction will remain in place during a pending appeal which could take from two to six months.

TASO’s suit was filed in reaction to UIL Rule 1204 which requires officials working any UIL varsity game to register with the UIL as an official, beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.

In issuing the injunction, the court stated it is prohibiting the UIL from:

1) Enforcing, implementing or taking any action to effectuate the adoption of the Nov. 6, 2009, changes to the UIL’s Rule 1204, with the exception of any further meeting of legislative counsel to revise or amend the rule.

2) Taking any action seeking to compel, coerce or encourage any person to to register with TASO as a sports official or to register with the UIL in lieu of registering with TASO.

3) Charging or collecting any fee, tax or other revenue directly from any current TASO sports official as a condition of engaging in the officiating profession.

TASO members are being advised to contact their leadership if they become aware of any UIL act which violates the court injunction.

Denton Guyer moves up to Class 5A

February, 1, 2010
Denton Guyer won't be making a third consecutive trip to the Class 4A state semifinals.

The Wildcats finished nine students ahead of the Class 5A cutoff at 2,074 and will move up after reaching the 4A semis two years in a row.

Coach John Walsh believes his talent-laden team won't have trouble competing at the 5A level, but its prospects for a championship run have diminished as it goes from one of the biggest 4A schools to one of the smallest in 5A.

"Someone told me we were the second-smallest 5A in the state," Walsh said.

Guyer's path closely mirrors that of rival Denton Ryan. After appearing in four straight state title games from 2000-03, Ryan went 5A for two years and came back down to 4A after the opening of Guyer brought its attendance back down.

While Ryan made the playoffs both 5A years, it didn't find its championship form thanks in part to Southlake Carroll, which
handed Ryan its only two losses in the 2004 season.

Walsh expects Guyer to drop back to 4A after Denton ISD redistricts, but for now it has to deal with Ryan's old nemesis, Carroll, which joins Guyer in District 7-5A along with Coppell, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Justin Northwest and Saginaw.

"Southlake has obviously been the class of Texas football for some time now," Walsh said. "That adds some extra excitement. We welcome big games. Not every kid gets to play in atmospheres like that. The Guyer boys are going to get to."

Click here for the area 4A and 5A districts in the new alignment.

Carrollton schools join Frisco in 9-4A

February, 1, 2010
Carrollton Creekview's drop to Class 4A and the debut of Frisco Heritage allowed the UIL to fill out District 9-4A with all Frisco and Carrollton schools at Monday's realignment.

Creekview, Carrollton Newman Smith and Carrollton R.L. Turner join Frisco, Frisco Centennial, Frisco Liberty, Frisco Wakeland and Heritage, which will play its first varsity schedule in 2010, in a rare scenario that's convenient for everyone involved.

"Everybody is pretty happy with the district," said Liberty's Galen Zimmerman, who participated in realignment for the first time as a head coach. "It's a very competitive district. It was a very interesting experience."

While it worked out for the Carrollton and Frisco ISDs, it couldn't have been much worse for Sherman and Denison, two schools that were pushed out of 9-4A.

Usually paired with Metroplex schools, Sherman and Denison will make numerous trips east down I-30 to play new District 13-4A foes Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant and Texarkana Texas High. Greenville and Royse City are also in 13-4A.

Frisco teams won't miss making the trek north to face tough Sherman and Denison teams, though.

"Those are two big time traditional powers," said Zimmerman, whose Liberty team will play Denison in Zero Week.

Click here for the area 4A and 5A districts in the new alignment.

Wylie barely drops below 4A cutoff

February, 1, 2010
Wylie, one of the biggest question marks heading into Monday’s UIL realignment, dropped down to Class 4A, but just barely.

The school turned in an attendance number of 2,061. The cutoff for 5A was 2,065, a number that dropped from the previous realignment for the first time since 1990.

“I was very happy that we weren’t 5A,” said Wylie football coach Bill Howard.

The drop in classification is a lucky break for a school that will continue to see its attendance drop in the wake of the opening of Wylie East. Next year, Wylie’s seniors will be the only class that isn’t split with East. East won’t play with seniors in 2010, its first year with a varsity schedule.

“Within one year, we’ll be under 1,900, maybe under 1,800,” Howard said. “People need to realize that we won’t be that big next year. We’ll be one of the smallest schools in our district in two years.”

Both Wylie and East were placed in District 10-4A, which includes Highland Park, McKinney, McKinney North, Richardson Pearce, Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath.

“We got put in a highly competitive 4A district, as tough as any one in the state in 4A,” Howard said. “Most of the schools in our new district were in the playoffs last year.”

Click here for the area 4A and 5A districts in the new alignment.