Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Harleton preparing for life down in Class 2A

By Nathan Hague
Feb. 10, 2018 at 4 a.m.

Enrollment numbers forced Harleton to drop to Class 2A when realignment hit, but athletic director and head football coach Terry Ward said the competition will be tough.

"We dropped down to 2A but our district is still going to be very, very good," Ward said. "It's probably one of the best 2A districts in East Texas, honestly. There are some teams on there that are very good. A few of the teams are dropping down from 3A and a couple moved up but the couple that moved up are really good."

The Wildcats will play football games in District 11-2A Division I against Beckville, Garrison, Joaquin, Linden-Kildare, Tenaha and Timpson.

"I think every week is going to be a tough week," Ward added. "There's definitely not going to be any off weeks. Every one of them has potential to be a playoff team and be really good."

Before arriving in Harleton in 2015, Ward was the athletic director and head football coach at Tenaha for eight seasons where he led the Tigers to a record of 65-14. In 2011, they went 15-0 and won a state championship. The reached their second straight championship game in 2012 but were unable to repeat.

"It'll be different," Ward said of coaching against Tenaha. "I've never coached from the other side of the field, so it will definitely be different. They're going to have a good team so we have to be ready to play."

Although he knew Harleton was going to drop a classification, he was surprised by which district it would be in this year.

"I was kind of surprised we moved that far south, honestly," he said. "I kind of thought we might go more west but you kind of have to prepare yourself because you never know where you're going to go."

Harleton's non-district schedule will consist of Queen City, James Bowie, Gladewater Sabine and Union Grove. He's optimistic that those teams will help his team prepare for district play.

"Hopefully they will," Ward said. "We're still going to be pretty young. We're not going to have a whole lot of seniors. We're going to have a lot of sophomores and juniors playing. We will have some key seniors playing but we'll have four games that will hopefully get us ready to play our district competition and give us some confidence going into district."



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