Trying to read the University Interscholastic League’s mind when it comes to realignment can be challenging.
Two area coaches were asked where they thought they might go when the new district homes are announced Thursday morning.
“Honestly, I don’t pay attention. Fruitless endeavor,” one coach said.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” the other said.
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This year’s announcement is at 9 a.m. live on Fox Sports Southwest. Tarrant County-area coaches will gather at Birdville school district’s Fine Arts/Athletics Complex to iron out football schedules through 2019.
For now, these coaches are making sure their non-district games are geographically set so they don’t conflict with district opponents.
The new wrinkle in 2018 is Class 5A. Football-only 5A Division I and Division II districts will be created, with 16 districts in each division instead of the 32 districts in 6A.
Schools with enrollment numbers 1,840-2,189 will be in 5A Division I. Schools at 1,150-1,839 will be in Division II. Class 4A created football-only Division I and Division II districts in 2014.
The UIL, which organizes extra-curricular activities for the state’s approximately 1,200 public and charter schools, conducts a biennial realignment of competitive districts to account for population shifts and the opening of new schools.
Given that setup, we attempt the fruitless endeavor of predicting where the UIL will place area schools.
▪ Arlington, Arlington Bowie, Arlington Lamar, Arlington Martin, Arlington Sam Houston, Mansfield, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Mansfield Summit
Why it works: Of course, the Arlington 6A schools will never be broken up. Mansfield has long held a playing relationship with them. With Lake Ridge and Summit moving up and joining Mansfield, here’s a nice set up of eight schools. Coaches would love the minimal travel.
▪ Fort Worth Paschal, North Crowley, Weatherford, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, Trophy Club Nelson, Haslet Eaton
Why it works: Yes, a nine-team district, but work with me here. With Eaton moving up to 6A, it basically takes Abilene’s spot and pushes that school west. That creates the logjam with nine schools. There are several one-school situations — Paschal, North Crowley and Weatherford — that need a solution. Grouping Nelson with the Keller schools works. North Crowley is a wild card and could go elsewhere.
▪ Richland, Haltom, Southlake Carroll, Euless Trinity, Hurst L.D. Bell, Flower Mound, Flower Mound Marcus, Hebron, Lewisville
Why it works: And here’s your second nine-team district. With Richland moving up, the mid-cities seem to be the right answer for this one. The Carroll-Trinity rivalry has been successful for the previous four years. That should be kept going. There’s also a solid relationship with the Lewisville schools. Suggestion for both nine-team districts would be a bye week in the third week of district play.
▪ Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, South Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, Waxahachie, Waco, Waco Midway
Why it works: Waxahachie is on an island. Going east seems to be a stretch. You could have a six-team district without the Waco schools or you could have eight teams with the Waco schools. For the Waco schools, it really comes down to if the UIL would split them from Temple and Belton. If they stay in Central Texas, North Crowley would be a candidate to slide this way and make this district seven teams.
Class 5A Division I
▪ Azle, Crowley, Granbury, Mansfield Legacy, Mansfield Timberview, White Settlement Brewer, Fort Worth South Hills, Fort Worth Arlington Heights
Why it works: The Fort Worth ISD is breaking up as far as football is concerned. Its top two schools have to find a place to play. Another school to watch here is Abilene Cooper. If Cooper comes east, that could group South Hills and Arlington Heights with the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Eagle-Mountain Saginaw ISD.
▪ Birdville, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine, Saginaw, Saginaw Boswell, Saginaw Chisholm Trail, Denton, Denton Ryan
Why it works:If this happened, it would be one of the deepest districts in Texas between Denton Ryan, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine and Boswell. Admittedly, the Eagle-Mountain-Saginaw schools could go anywhere. This keeps them together with easier travel.
Class 5A Division II
▪ Aledo, Burleson, Burleson Centennial, Cleburne, Joshua, Everman, Arlington Seguin, Abilene Wylie
Why it works: There’s a decent chance this goes Region II. Aledo is reunited with many familiar faces. Wylie is moving up from 4A to 5A. The furthest east it would have to travel is into Arlington. However, that’s really no different than what Abilene did last year when it was playing the Keller schools. Consider three teams make the drive west one year and four will do it the following year.
▪ Fort Worth Trimble Tech, FW North Side, FW Wyatt, FW Southwest, FW Carter-Riverside, FW Polytechnic, FW Eastern Hills, Justin Northwest
Why it works: Given that Fort Worth Dunbar is going to remain a Class 4A school – Fort Worth ISD officials said in December the district would not request to opt up – there’s really no point but to keep these schools together. Fort Worth YMLA will come in as a 6A. It’s expected that the district plans to petition to move that school to 4A. These seven schools need one more to make it eight. Northwest is the best fit.
Class 4A Division I
▪ FW Diamond Hill-Jarvis, FW Dunbar, FW Western Hills, FW Benbrook, FW YMLA, Lake Worth, Castleberry, Kennedale
Why it works: Fort Worth ISD for the first time has more than two 4A-size schools, and grouping them with other Tarrant County schools just makes sense.