Liberty Hill (copy)

La Vega head coach Don Hyde holds up the championship trophy after his Pirates won the Class 4A Division I state title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The UIL has been overseeing state championship football games since 1920 and hosting a single-site extravaganza, mostly at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, since 2011.

It appears those two traditions will be celebrated together, as reports coming out of the Texas High School Coaches Association Coaching School this week indicated that the state football championships will return to AT&T Stadium in 2020.

Although the UIL hasn’t officially announced its plans regarding the 2020 football championship games, the organization confirmed it will stay at AT&T Stadium for at least another year during a press conference at Coaching School on Monday in Houston.

The UIL sees a situation that is working in Arlington.

Last December, the football state championship games attracted 213,192 spectators. That included a high mark of 48,421 for the Beaumont West Brook versus Longview battle for the Class 6A Division II state title.

In the two games involving Central Texas teams, 19,218 fans watched La Vega defeat Liberty Hill, 35-21, and 7,217 spectators saw Mart crush Gruver, 76-33.

NRG Stadium in Houston hosted the 2015 football single-site championships and drew 162,291 fans. The Katy versus Lake Travis 6A Division II contest brought in 43,718 in attendance.

But it isn’t just the numbers that lean in AT&T Stadium’s favor.

“The locker room situation is far better at AT&T Stadium,” La Vega coach Don Hyde said.

Hyde was La Vega’s defensive coordinator when it defeated Argyle for the 3A Division I state title in 2015 and he was the Pirates’ head coach last season, leading them to the 4A Division I championship at AT&T Stadium. He pointed out that AT&T Stadium has four large visiting locker rooms, so it’s well suited to accommodate multiple football games per day. He said some of the teams used temporary locker rooms at NRG Stadium.

When it comes time to crown the football state champions for the 100th year in 2020, like any other year, the teams might not be bothered that much where they play, as long as they get a shot at the title.

“Once you get there, nobody really cares,” Hyde said. “We’d drive to Michigan if we had to.”

Mexia tabs Jenkins as girls’ hoops coach

A Central Texas girls’ basketball program with a state championship history has hired a new coach with a state tournament to her credit.

Mexia athletic director Frank Sandoval confirmed on Tuesday that the school has hired Jozette Jenkins to be the new girls’ basketball coach. Jenkins replaces former Mexia coach Randy Barger, who led the LadyCats to the 2013 Class 3A state title.

Sandoval said he and Jenkins have had occasions to discuss coaching prior to her arriving at the school and he likes what she brings to the overall athletic department.

“She’s a person who I’ve sat down with in the past and just asked her questions,” Sandoval said. “I think you can learn from people, doesn’t matter if it’s girls’ basketball or football.”

Jenkins, who spent last year at Palestine High School, led Buffalo to the 3A state final in 2017 before the Lady Bison fell to Canadian, 51-49.

“She’s fiery and she demands a lot of her players, but also really understands the relationship aspect of coaching,” Sandoval said. “And she has some skins on the wall.”

Hyping HS football

Fox Sports Southwest announced its lead-up to the high school football season during a press conference at Coaching School on Monday in Houston.

The Fox Sports Southwest celebration of high school football will include live coverage of opening-week games, the network’s High School Scoreboard Live and replays of classic high school football matchups.

A pair of Central Texas teams will be featured in the replays of classic games. The Mart vs. Stamford 2012 Class 1A Division I championship game is set to be replayed at 2 p.m. on August 28 and the Temple vs. Aledo 2014 Class 4A Division I title game will be rebroadcast later that same day at 4 p.m.

Fox Sports Southwest’s lineup of live game coverage includes Wall at Mason at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, and Denison at Sherman at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30.

Photo day reminder

The Trib will host its annual High School Football Photo Day from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday at Waco ISD Stadium.

Coaches are encouraged to bring between three and 12 players, wearing their dark/home jerseys. Players will take head shots and feature photos along with talking to Trib reporters and other local media and filling out the Trib’s football player questionnaire.

For more information, email chad.conine@wacotrib.com.

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