Here are some thoughts and winners/losers from another fun UIL realignment day. We get to do the same thing in two more years.
WFHS and Rider – While not a walk in the park, you take out Guyer, Nelson and Lake Dallas and replace them with three Saginaw schools and it’s definitely an easier football district.
Bowie – The Jackrabbits are going to an easier region and losing two of the best teams in their old district (Whitesboro, Pilot Point). 4-3A Division II isn’t a pushover by any means, but it’s easier for Bowie.
Even-team district lovers – Most area coaches and sports writers fall into this category. Of the area’s eight 11-man districts, only one is an odd-team grouping: 1-4A Div. II with Iowa Park, Vernon and three panhandle schools.
Other sports in 5-4A – Lost in the absurdity of Wednesday was the fact that in basketball, baseball and softball, there’s a four-team district of Hirschi, Burkburnett, Vernon and Iowa Park. So only district seeding will be on the line when each team plays six district games.
Rivalries – If you checked out our non-district schedules, (link here: http://bit.ly/1n7M6Vf it’s gone behind our paywall now) you’ll know that Graham and Vernon are playing Week 1. Now that Munday and Seymour are in the same district, that rivalry can be renewed. And both Iowa Park-Vernon and Burkburnett-Hirschi not only get to play in the same district, but they’re both regular season-ending matchups.
Area 3A Division II teams – Those guys – currently City View, Henrietta, Holliday, Nocona and Jacksboro – have their work cut out. Multiple coaches told me Cisco didn’t lose a sub-varsity game and so it’ll be real stout. And Eastland may have lost some, but its program won’t take that big of a hit.
* Vernon and Iowa Park – While I think it’s a good thing when it comes to level of competition (Iowa Park will gladly sub out Graham and bring in Perryton), there will be some brutal drives. I’ve driven through Dalhart en route to Colorado. It’s quite a haul.
* Archer County – Holliday has it rough in 3A, while Archer City and Windthorst inherit two-time state champion Stamford and Anson, which has been really good since dropping down last realignment. There are some good tests awaiting.
A couple other thoughts/notes regarding UIL realignment and non-district scheduling:
* I love how you can spend hours upon hours looking at logistics (most coaches and media people do) and still the UIL can throw a massive curveball your way. Nobody saw the Cisco/Eastland combo coming.
* I think my favorite district is going to be 4-4A Division I. Graham, Decatur and Gainesville all went three rounds, while Burkburnett and Hirschi were both playoff teams. And Graham will be good again, but the Steers won’t be able to beat everyone by 28+ so there should be lots of competitive games.
I’m anxious to also see how the 7-2A Division II grouping of Munday, Seymour, Electra, Petrolia, Haskell and Hamlin plays out. And the bigger 2A division district should be good too.
* Some of my favorite non-district games are Graham-Argyle, Rider-Guyer, WFHS-Mansfield Summit (the return of Travis Pride), City View-Quanah, Holliday-Stamford plus Vernon-Graham.
* Speaking of Vernon, the Lions almost always go across the border to play Altus. This year, two more area teams are crossing the Red River (or what’s left of it anyway). Iowa Park is playing Cache and Electra is taking on Frederick.
* Potential all-area non-district games that got killed off because of that 3A district going to eight teams: Holliday-Bowie, Henrietta-Quanah, Nocona-Archer City and Bowie-Jacksboro. Archer City had to scramble to get Hico.
* Scott Ponder will get a chance to go back to one of his old stomping grounds because Bells is playing Petrolia in non-district.