EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - The Day is almost here. Monday we will learn who will play who in new East Texas districts.
Some districts will not change but every change has a trickle-down effect so basically every team will be affected.
What is Alignment Day you ask? Well it is the day where the University Interscholastic League shapes what the next two years of high school athletics will look like in Texas. Texas is constantly growing and growing fast so the UIL must accommodate that. Just think about it, Allen in the metroplex has an enrollment of 6,959 while in West Texas there are schools that don’t even clear 30 students. They also must take into effect the distance between schools when putting them into districts.
How it works:
In October, the UIL has snapshot day. Every school must turn in the enrollment numbers for their campus. The UIL takes all the numbers and does the best they can to divide the numbers into 6 classifications that have close to the same amount of schools.
The Classifications this alignment cycle are:
6A: schools bigger than 2,219 students
5A: Schools between 1,230-2,219 students
4A: Schools between 515-1,229 students
3A: Schools between 230-514 students
2A: Schools between 105-229 students
1A: Schools under 105 students
For football each classification other than 6A is broken up into two divisions. In 6A the teams ae broken into two divisions once the playoffs happen. So each class in football will have a Di and DII state champion. For all other sports there is just one state champion per classification.
If that is not enough dividing of the schools the UIL then has to sit down and put the teams into districts. Confused yet? Schools can be in two different districts. One district for football and another district for all other sports and academic events. In football there are 32 districts in 6A and 16 districts in each division of 5A-A. In non-football events each classification has 32 districts. Depending on which district your team falls in will determine what district they go to. The state is divided 4 ways so the districts are evenly split between regions. East Texas teams will fall into either Region II or Region III.
What classification is your school going to land in? Here is our previous story breaking down what classification schools are going to: UIL sets cutoff numbers.
How big is alignment Day?
The day basically will set a school’s regular season football schedule and path to a state title for the next two years. It lets you know who you are guaranteed to play in district play and then that opens up the door for coaches to start calling other schools to set up non-district games. Every coach will be on their office computer or at a regional education center with a group of coaches waiting for the UIL to drop the numbers.
Last alignment year, the UIL site crashed for a brief moment due to all the heavy internet traffic.
What to expect:
The biggest story coming out of East Texas this year is with two state powers. Longview learned they will be dropping back down to 5A. There are two ways to look at it for the 2018 6A DII State Champions. Longview will either go in with some schools on the East side of the DFW area and John Tyler or the UIL could surprise people and group the Lobos with Lufkin and John Tyler. The second option is a dark horse in my mind because who do you put in there with them. While yes those three are great natural rivals, they are the only three schools in East Texas that fall in the 5A DI ranks so any schools you pull in will have a long haul on a Friday to play a game. And don’t think the drop down means an easy run to the state championship. Longview will fall into Region II which means some of the toughest competition at any level.
“You have great teams,” John King said back in December. “Highland Park, Frisco Lone Star and Lancaster. I feel like it is equally as tough as what we just left.”
The other big mover on the football side is Carthage. Carthage has been the state-power for years in 4A DI but the defending DI champs are moving to DII. This is a very cool thing to think about for Texas High School football nerds like myself. There is a chance you could see Carthage get lumped in with Gilmer and Pleasant Grove. Pleasant Grove is the defending 4A DII state champion. It is more likely though with Van also dropping down that the two former Red Zone District of Doom teams would end up with the Bullard and Wills Point area. Either way Region II out of 4A DII could be really fun with a possible Carthage Pleasant Grove regional final.
What happens to the District of Doom? The Carthage move has DII schools saying, ‘Oh Boy” while Henderson and Kilgore are probably happy to see the Dogs move on. Carthage could be replaced in the district of Doom with Lindale, who is dropping from 5A DI to 4A DI and possible an Athens. Will the district still keep the D.O.D. title? We will have to see.
Huntington is also dropping down. In football it will most likely mean they could take Franklin’s spot in the district with Diboll, Crockett and Palestine Westwood. In non-football sports they could be going in with Diboll, Central, Central heights, Corrigan and maybe Woodville. You could see Newton move out of the non-football district.
In 2A Tenaha, Cushing and West Sabine will make a drop down to 2A DII. Cushing and West Sabine have been steady in the 2A DI ranks but Tenaha will only spend one realignment cycle in DI before they head back down to DII where they saw success.
And it is not all about teams moving down in classification. Some teams saw an increase in enrollment and will be moving up. Harleton is the surprise story in the region this past year and after a successful season in 2A DI they will make the jump to 3A DII. Grapeland will also be making a jump from 2A DII to 2A DI. Could the Sandies be put back in a district with old rival Alto?
All these questions will be answered and debated Monday morning.