The best part about the University Interscholastic League’s realignment is that it’s over. Everybody knows where they’re going for 2018-2020 — whether they like it or not.
If they really don’t like it, they have to be let out of the district they are slotted into and get approval from the UIL. It’s rare, but it does happen.
You shouldn’t expect to find that with our 15 Northeast Tarrant schools.
The only difference is that Justin Northwest football and other athletic programs are in different Class 5A districts. The same is true for Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine and Birdville. Remember, we had the 5A split for football.
Northwest went Division II as it was a lower enrollment school. Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine and Birdville went Division I. They are larger enrollment schools.
Each district will send four teams to the playoffs. However, there are four districts in each region, not the traditional eight. The 6A districts are the same for all sports.
Here’s one thing you may not know: All schools can make recommendations or suggestions to the UIL as to what kind of district they think would work for them. In other words, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Since football is still the king of Texas high school athletics (though I’m not encouraging hate mail from basketball, volleyball and baseball coaches), this is the space to review the football districts and offer a position on them and where the strengths and weaknesses reside.
District 4-5A - Division II
Teams: Justin Northwest, Fort Worth Carter-Riverside, Fort Worth Polytechnic, Fort Worth North Side, Fort Worth Eastern Hills, Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt and Fort Worth Southwest
Analysis: You should look for Fort Worth Trimble Tech to join this district. It’s always placed as a 6A school because it draws from everywhere and will then petition to move down.
Given the lack of success most of these programs have experienced over the years, the Texans received the best of breaks and should project to win the district in 2018 and 2019. Wyatt and Southwest have furnished some pretty solid teams and would be the ones to pose the greatest challenge to Bill Poe’s program.
District 4-5A – Division I
Teams: Birdville, Carrollton Newman Smith, Carrollton R.L. Turner, Carrollton Creekview, Colleyville Heritage, Denton, Denton Ryan and Grapevine
Analysis: Two weeks ago, I heard this scenario of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch schools coming west to join Birdville and the Denton ISD and GCISD schools.
I didn’t believe it, but here we are. There’s the potential of this being top-heavy with Ryan, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine and Birdville. The Carrollton schools are not known to be football powers.
Of course, the feature matchup would be the Panthers and Raiders. District coaches might want to use something in their scheduling methods to make that game the finale of 2018 and 2019.
Teams: Abilene, Euless Trinity, Hurst L.D. Bell, Haltom, Richland, San Angelo Central and Weatherford
Analysis: Like many coaches, I was caught flat-footed by this arrangement, mainly because of Central coming east. But times are changing in Texas.
West Texas isn’t as populated. Abilene’s presence is more accepted because it’s currently in a district with the Keller schools. The travel is a monster.
Euless and San Angelo are separated by about 245 miles. That’s the longest drive for anyone. Depending on the route and traffic, that’s about a four to five hour drive. If there’s a game on Friday, players are pretty much going to have to get excused absences that day. It’s that simple.
This is going to be a good football district. Central has won district championships the last two years under Brent Davis and features a great offense. Del Van Cox’s 2017 Abilene team was pretty young. Now, it’s older.
Of course, Richland is moving back to 6A and is the smallest school in the district. You can be sure Rebels head coach Ged Cates wasn’t doing somersaults.
Teams: Denton Guyer, Haslet V.R. Eaton, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, Trophy Club Byron Nelson and Southlake Carroll
Analysis: This is pretty close to a reunion of what the UIL did in 2010.
Back then, Carroll, Guyer and the Keller schools (Timber Creek opened as a 4A school in 2010) were joined by Northwest, Coppell and Saginaw. Just switch the latter three for Eaton, Byron Nelson and Timber Creek and that fits.
It’s a new world for Eaton, since it’s only in its third year of varsity competition. But the rapid classification rise reflects the growth in that area.
Guyer and Nelson have assured themselves of meeting four consecutive years after facing off in the 2016 and 2017 playoffs.
Carroll’s program is facing turbulent times, so it’s hard to know what to expect from the Dragons until that’s resolved. It’s natural to have the Keller and Northwest schools groups together.
Guyer’s tradition speaks for itself. This district will be balanced in pretty much every sport.