UIL Realignment: It’s a Brave New World For East Texas in 6A + 5A
The landscape of high school football in Class 6A and 5A will look much different in East Texas for the foreseeable future.
The University Interscholastic League released its new districts as part of its biennial realignment and reclassification process Thursday morning.
And while it was no surprise which schools would land in 6A and the new 5A Division I and Division II split, the UIL formally announced its district pairings for the 2018-2020 academic years.
John Tyler and Lufkin dropped from the state’s highest classification to 5A Division I, joining Texas High as the only three East Texas schools with enrollments higher than the Division I cutoff of 1,839 students.
JT and Texas High were paired together in 7-5A along with McKinney North, Mesquite Poteet, Sherman, West Mesquite, and Wylie East.
Lufkin, meanwhile, again will travel south.
The Panthers are now part of 8-5A with College Station, Conroe Caney Creek, Magnolia, Magnolia West, Tomball, Waller, and Willis.
With Texas High situated in 5A Division I, that left nine East Texas teams in Division II.
And eight of them are paired together in 9-5A — Hallsville, Jacksonville, Lindale, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Nacogdoches, Pine Tree, and Whitehouse.
Sulphur Springs was placed in an altogether different region in the nine-team 8-5A with Corsicana, Ennis, Forney, Greenville, Kaufman, North Forney, Royse City, and Terrell.
East Texas’ lone 6A district — 11-6A — remained the same with exception of the departed John Tyler. Longview and Tyler Lee will be joined by Mesquite, Mesquite Horn, North Mesquite, Rockwall, and Rockwall-Heath.
The new 7-5A Division I features four playoff teams from a year ago — area finalists McKinney North and Mesquite Poteet, and bi-district finalists Sherman and Texas High.
John Tyler went 5-5 last season in Class 6A.
In 8-5A Division I, one of the state’s most anticipated games of the regular season might be Lufkin vs. College Station.
Lufkin went 11-3 and reached the 6A Division II quarterfinals last season, while College Station captured the 5A Division II state championship.
Magnolia and Magnolia West were playoff participants in 2017 as well.
Jacksonville, Marshall, Pine Tree, and Whitehouse — in the newly constructed 9-5A Division II — reached the postseason last year.
The usual suspects in 6A Region II would be awaiting Longview and Tyler Lee: Allen, Sachse, Waco Midway, The Woodlands, Klein Collins, and Spring Westfield.
In 5A Division I, Region II, Frisco Lone Star, Highland Park, Lancaster are potential challengers to John Tyler, Lufkin, and Texas High.
The Region III field in 5A Division II is deep as well, featuring A&M Consolidated, Fort Bend Marshall, Manvel, Crosby, and Port Neches-Groves.