By Chuck Licata
TexasHSfootball.com Managing Editor
Every two years, the UIL (University Interscholastic League), the governing body of high school athletics in Texas, holds its Realignment Day. It’s a ritual where the UIL defines districts and regions for its over 1,400 member schools.
To “set up” its Realignment Day, the UIL had announced last November the Conference Cutoffs for its schools. Thus, any school with an enrollment of 2,150 students or more would be considered a Class 6A school (the largest conference in the UIL rankings). Any school with an enrollment of 1,100 to 2,149 students would be classified as 5A; 480 to 1,099 student enrollments puts school in Class 4A; enrollment of 221-279 students comprises Class 3A; 105 to 220 students makes a school fall in Class 2A; and, anything below an enrollment of 105 puts a school in Class A.
With that in place, the UIL held its Realignment Monday, Feb. 1 at its downtown Austin office. The realignment announced by the UIL will take effect this coming fall and through the 2017-18 school year.
As far as the Central Texas area is concerned, the UIL took what was the toughest district in Class 5A (the former 25-5A) and one of the toughest in Class 6A (the former 14-6A) and created a bit of a “Super” District in the new 25-6A.
To explain: out of the former 25-5A came Vandegrift (5A state semifinalists two years ago), Vista Ridge (5A state quarterfinalists this past season) and Leander, all whom hail in Leander ISD (Independent School District). Out of the former 14-6A came Westlake (the 6A Division I state runner-up this past football season; Division I is the bigger-school playoff category) and Lake Travis (the 6A Division II state runner-up last season). The three Leander schools were moved up to Class 6A in November.
And now all five schools listed above reside in the same district. Ouch.
The new 25-6A is home to Lake Travis, Westlake, Vandegrift, Vista Ridge, Leander, Buda Hays and Kyle Lehman. Media members and school officials were already hailing this as the “former power of 25-5A.” And that doesn’t include all other athletic and academic areas of the schools – including band, in which Vandegrift, Leander and Vista Ridge helped lead a 25-5A sweep of the UIL Marching Band competition. In that Class 5A sweep last fall, Cedar Park (now a resident of District 19-5A) claimed the gold, Vandegrift the silver, Leander the bronze and Vista Ridge fourth place.
Speaking of the Timberwolves – who are the defending Class 5A, Division II football state champs, by the way – they added a bit of travel to their itinerary in the newly-created 19-5A. Bastrop, Cedar Creek (of Bastrop ISD), Elgin, Georgetown, East View (of Georgetown ISD), Hutto, Connally (of Pflugerville ISD) and fellow Leander ISD mate Rouse High School help the T’Wolves comprise 19-5A. That nine-team set up will allow each school just two non-district games in a 10-game football regular season.
The two Bastrops school used to play in a district that included San Marcos and Lockhart. San Marcos, which jumped to Class 6A, joined Del Valle, Manor and Austin ISD schools Akins, Anderson and Bowie in the new District 14-6A. Pflugerville ISD schools Hendrickson and Pflugerville are joined by the five Round Rock ISD schools (Cedar Ridge, Round Rock, McNeil, Stony Point and Westwood) in the new 13-6A.
Meantime, Lockhart is joined in 26-5A by Seguin, Marble Falls, Kerrville Tivy, Boerne Champion, Dripping Springs (Home of the defending 5A championship volleyball team) and San Antonio-area schools Alamo Heights and Medina Valley. District 25-5A features all Austin ISD schools: Austin High, Crockett, Johnson, Lanier, McCallum, Reagan and Travis.
As we move to Class 2A to 4A, keep in mind the UIL already divides them up by Division I (big school in terms of enrollment) and Division II (smaller school enrollment) in football. That’s as opposed to 5A-6A, which are divided up by D-1 and D-2 once the four playoff teams in each district clinch their post-season berths.
The UIL then creates separate “Basketball” districts (as they call them), which comprises of all 4A teams regardless of enrollment or division.
The UIL certainly turned some heads when realigning football districts in Class 4A. The governing body took teams that have been in Region I for most of the last decade – Waco La Vega, China Spring and Gatesville – and put them in what’s now Region IV, District 13-4A with the likes of Liberty Hill, Burnet and Lampasas. Burnet and Liberty Hill, which are separated by just 20 miles on Highway 29, resume their intense rivalry after two years of being in different districts. LH also becomes district-mates with La Vega; those two played an all-time classic state quarterfinal playoff game in the rain and wind last November in football. La Vega won 6-0 in Overtime; the Pirates went on to win the 4A, Division I state title.
Liberty Hill’s former district mates Taylor and Boerne help comprise the new 14-5A; those two are joined by Canyon Lake, Eastside Memorial (Austin ISD) and Fredericksburg, which is particularly strong in girls’ athletics.
District 13-4A, Division II houses the following local teams for football: Wimberley, Llano an Geronimo Navarro who are joined by Bandera and Hondo.
K-MAC Sports affiliates Abilene Wylie, Bellville, Sealy and Cuero were placed in the following for football: Wylie in 3-4A, Division I with Brownwood, Big Spring, Snyder and Stephenville; Bellville, in 11-4A, Division I with Cleveland Tarkington, Madisonville, Brookshire-Royal an Shepherd; Sealy, in District 12-4A, Division II with Bay City, El Campo, Brazosport, Needville, Stafford and West Columbia; and, Cuero in 15-4A, Division II with Aransas Pass, Ingleside, Sinton, Sweeny and Wharton.
Turning to the basketball/other sports alignment, Region III is the home of most of the teams listed above. District 17-4A has China Spring, Gatesville, La Vega, Waco Connally, Lorena, Hillsboro and Robinson while 19-4A claims Liberty Hill, Burnet, Lampasas, Llano, Salado, Taylor and Leander ISD’s newest high school, Tom Glenn, as its members.
There are plenty of teams in Region IV from the area. District 27-4A claims Wimberley, Geronimo Navarro, Eastside Memorial, Gonzales and La Vernia. District 28-4A houses Boerne, Fredericksburg, Canyon Lake, Hondo and Bandera. K-MAC affiliates Bellville and Sealy share 25-4A with Columbus, Needville, Stafford and Brookshire-Royal. The Cuero Gobblers play in Region IV in 30-4A with Beeville Jones, Pleasanton, Poteet and Somerset.
Meantime the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs reside in Region I District 5-4A with the likes of Big Spring, Brownwood, Snyder and Sweetwater.
The outskirts of Austin are where we find our neighbors in Class 3A. For football, Division I is home to the following local teams and districts: 13-3A, with Lago Vista being joined by Ingram Moore, Luling, Marion, SA Cole and Randolph; 10-3A houses Cameron Yoe and Rockdale, who are joined by Troy, Franklin, Jarrell, McGregor and Little River-Academy.
One 3A, Division II district has a couple of local teams. Lexington and Florence are joined in District 13 by Blanco, Comfort, Rogers and Johnson City.
The basketball version of Class 3A sees the above teams spread out in two districts. Region III houses 20-3A, which consists of Cameron Yoe, Rockdale, Franklin, Hearne, Jarrell, Lexington, Little River-Academy and Rogers. District 25-3A, in Region IV, consists of Lago Vista, Florence, Georgetown Gateway, Blanco, Comfort, Ingram Moore and Johnson City.
A handful of Class 2A teams saw their alignments change. For football, Thorndale and Thrall – separated by just 10 miles of road on Highway 79 – are joined in 13-2A (Region IV) by Rosebud-Lott, Normangee, Moody and Holland. District 13-4A, Division II finds Burton, Granger an Milano joined by Bartlett, Snook and Sommerville.
The 2A teams above are in adjoining districts in Region IV when it comes to the Basketball alignment. District 25-2A is where you’ll find Granger, Holland, Thorndale and Thrall, along with Milano and Mumford. Meantime, 26-2A is home to Burton, Ioal, Normangee, North Zulch, Snook and Somerville.
One other K-MAC affiliate note: Bremond, which won its second straight state championship in football this past fall, resides in Region III for football; they share 10-2A with Chilton, Dawson, Frost, Hubbard and Meridian. On the basketball/other sports front, the Tigers are joined in Region III, 18-2A by Axtell, Dawson, Hubbard, Mart, Riesel and Wordham.