For some it's like Christmas. For others, it's like finding a lump of coal in their stocking. But for high schools all over Texas, it's always an interesting unveiling when the University Interscholastic League announces its biennial realignment.
This year adds a new twist with all classifications except 6A going to regular season Division I and Division II football alignments. That had previously only been done for teams in Class 4A and below.
Perennial power Aledo is in District 5-5A Division II, which is also in Region II. The Bearcats, last season's Class 5A Division II (when teams were only sent to separate divisions in the playoffs) share their new district with eight other teams:
▪ Arlington Seguin, 3-7 in 2017.
▪ Burleson, 9-2, 5A DII bidistrict.
▪ Burleson Centennial, 5-6, 5A DI bidistrict.
▪ Cleburne, 0-10.
▪ Everman, 7-4, 5A DII bidistrict.
▪ Joshua, 4-6.
▪ Midlothian, 4-6.
▪ Waco University, 0-10.
The Bearcats have won 75 consecutive district games dating back over the past decade, a state record.
"It's good," Aledo coach Steve Wood said of the new district. "A little more travel, but not as bad as some. Our basketball/volleyball district will have lots of travel."
With the football change comes an adjustment in other 5A sports, which remain one classification throughout the regular season and playoffs. While the spring sports alignments have not been announced yet, the basketball and football alignments have Aledo in District 2-5A with Abilene Cooper, Abilene Wylie, Granbury, Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider.
The Ladycats volleyball team advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals last season. The girls basketball team advanced to the second round and was 27-3 at press time this season.
In Class 6A, the Weatherford Kangaroos and Lady Roos remained in District 3-6A in Region I, but their neighbors have changed. Now they share a district with Abilene, Euless Trinity, Haltom, Hurst L.D. Bell, North Richland Hills Richland, and San Angelo Central.
In football, Trinity was 11-3 and reached the 6A DI state quarterfinals last season, while Richland was also 11-3 and reached the 5A DII quarterfinals. Central was 11-1 and advanced to the second round of the 6A DII playoffs.
The Lady Roos volleyball team finished 41-7, setting a school record for wins. They advanced to the 6A Region I semifinals before losing to now three-time defending state champion Lewisville Hebron. It was the Lady Roos' deepest playoff advancement in team history.
Lady Roos basketball coach Darryn Shearmire likes the realignment, calling it a reunion of sorts.
"We were with Bell and Trinity a few years ago when I was boys coach at Grapevine," he said. "I like it. some close by, some far away. New faces, and no Arlingtons. Glad I don't coach football."
Brock football (13-3, 3A DI state runners-up) remained in Class 3A Division I with:
▪ Bowie, 4-7, bidistrict.
▪ Boyd, 3-8, bidistrict.
▪ Paradise, 3-7.
▪ Pilot Point, 3-8, bidistrict.
▪ Ponder, 3-7.
▪ Whitesboro, 9-4, third round, five straight seasons advancing in playoffs.
"Tough district. Really deep," Brock football coach Chad Worrell said.
Millsap was relocated to 6-3A DII in football. The Bulldogs coming off a 4-6 season, their best in almost a decade, are now with:
▪ Comanche, 12-2, DI state quarterfinals.
▪ Dublin, 3-7.
▪ Jacksboro, 11-2, third round of DII.
▪ Rio Vista, 4-6.
▪ Tolar, 7-5, second round of DII.
"We are very excited. We will get to compete against some new faces and good programs," Millsap coach Jacob Johnson said. "As always, we focus on ourselves and what we do. We feel like we can compete with anyone if we compete with passion and execute with brutal physicality."
In other sports, Millsap will join Brock, and Peaster, which does not play football in District 7-3A, along with Boyd, Breckenridge, Jacksboro, Paradise and Tolar.
Last season in volleyball, the district consisted of Brock, Peaster, Millsap and Tolar. While each team entered the season guaranteed a playoff berth, Peaster coach Autumn Threet, whose team advanced to the 2015 and 2016 state tournaments, along with reaching the state quarterfinals this season, likes having more competition.
"I'm excited about finally having more teams," Threet said. "I prefer to be in with teams like Brock and Boyd. It makes district tougher and you are more prepared come playoff time.
"I think we have the toughest district in the state volleyball-wise, but I'm up for the challenge."
Last season, Boyd reached the 3A state tournament semifinals, eliminating Tolar (bidistrict), Peaster (regional quarterfinals) and Brock (regional finals) along the way. Breckenridge and Millsap also reached bidistrict.
Boys and girls basketball in 7-3A will remain tough with Peaster and Brock staying in the district. Last season the Brock boys finished second in the state and Peaster reached the regional quarterfinals. The Lady Eagles advanced to the regional semifinals and the Lady Greyhounds made the second round.
Poolville was placed in District 10-2A for volleyball with Chico, Bluff Dale, Bryson, Graford, Perrin-Whitt, and Stephenville Three-Way. In basketball, the Monarchs and Lady Monarchs will share District 11-2A with Alvord, Chico, Era, Irving Universal Academy, and Muenster.