There’s been some grumbling in the streets of Sherman, Texas. On September 30, the Sherman Bearcats, then the #1 ranked AAAA high school team in Texas, were stunned by a 14-14 tie with the rival Piano Wildcats. You won’t hear it officially, but more than a few Bearcat fans will say the Wildcats had more than football talent on their side that night.
Piano, you see, has three high schools. But only one “graduating unit.” Last year, the Piano School District, analyzing its tremendous growth (1,300 students in 1961; 19,000 in 1977; a projected 100,000 students by 2000), changed to an unusual structuring of its high schools. Vines High and Williams High now house only 9th and 10th graders; Piano Senior High now houses all the 11th and 12th graders in the district. The reasoning, according to Piano officials, is a concentration of programs and facilities where they are most needed (particularly for vocational training), thus saving staff and facility costs. While controversial, the plan does seem to have some validity.
But the Sherman Bearcats (and the other teams in District 13-AAAA) have a different theory. They say the move concentrates the older Piano athletes in one school, on one team, giving them an unfair advantage; further, they claim that Piano made the shift for that very reason. Piano scoffs at the notion. But it is a fact that if Piano had retained the traditional structure, they would now be supporting two AAAA teams instead of one. In contrast, district rival Richardson, now with four AAAA teams, would, under the new Piano system, be able to concentrate two teams of all juniors and seniors.
Just like everyone says, football has become a very complex game.