Abilene High, Wylie destinations the talk as Realignment Day nears


The University Interscholastic League will release the new districts for public high school sports on Thursday, but the projections and predictions have been going on for months.

Realignment Day, as its known, will have an impact on all schools because it will dictate which schools will be grouped together for district competition for athletics and academics for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.

Abilene High is the only Class 6A school in the area, and fans, coaches and students are once again wondering if they will be paired with traditional foes to the west from Odessa and Midland, or if the Eagles will go east with Dallas-Fort Worth area schools.

"It's kind of like Christmas," head football coach and athletic coordinator Del Van Cox said. "You never know what's going to happen until the day and that anticipation you have is exciting.

"You never know especially in our position where we have lots of unknowns. We could go east, we could go west. We're the ones that everything revolves around out here as a far as being in an eight-team district west or a district in the Metroplex."

Cox admitted being placed in a district with DFW teams makes scheduling non-district football games easier because west Texas schools are always looking for games.

"If we make it back out west then I'll be scrambling in that room Thursday trying to find a couple games."

Cox said he has already talked with a couple of the Keller ISD schools about playing in non-district if they are not in the same district for the next two years.

Class 5A will now be cut into divisions for the regular season, not just the playoffs, meaning Cooper will be a Division I team and will be placed in a district of only Division I teams.

The likeliest outcome appears to be the Cougars going with three Amarillo schools (Amarillo High, Palo Duro, and Caprock) and three Lubbock schools (Lubbock High, Coronado, Monterey).

However, anyone's guess is as good. The move to Division I does mean Cooper will avoid playing Aledo in the playoffs for the next two football seasons.

The Bearcats knocked the Coogs out of the postseason each of the past three years.

The Wylie Bulldogs are making the jump to Class 5A, but because of the new pre-playoff division split will not be in the same district as Cooper.

Wylie will be in Division II of 5A, and fans are having a mess to figure out where the Bulldogs could land in a district.

Canyon Randall, Plainview and Lubbock Cooper should be grouped together, which leaves Wylie and two Wichita Falls schools (Old High and Rider) as the only other schools west of DFW, and east of El Paso.

If those six were to be brought together for a district, it would include loads of travel time. From the south side of Abilene, it is more than a three hour drive to Plainview, and more than four hours to Canyon Randall.

KTXS spoke with Wylie head coach Hugh Sandifer when the UIL released its classification and division cut-off numbers in December, which revealed the Bulldogs would be moving to 5A.

Sandifer said he isn't opposed to playing Cooper in non-district, but stopped short of saying much else.

"That's the number one question it seems today," said Sandifer with a laugh. "[Cooper] Coach [Todd] Moebes and I have visited -- I'm not gonna lie about that. But they have rivals they like to play, and we have rivals from where we've been in Brownwood and Stephenville that we'd like to continue to play. So I think it's something that's coming in the immediate future -- I don't know if it's this realignment or the next, but it's obviously coming close."

Some of the other Big Country headlines for Realignment Day include the likelihood of Sweetwater and Snyder re-uniting in district.

Snyder is dropping down to Class 4A Division II.

With Wylie and Snyder both leaving, Brownwood will be in a new district with new opponents. Possible schools include San Angelo Lake View, Mineral Wells, Springtown and Stephenville.

Eastland is moving up to Class 3A Division I. Head coach James Morton has already said the Mavericks will play rival Cisco in non-district.

Anson is climbing to Class 3A Division II for football. This change also means all other sports will now play in Class 3A districts.

Merkel and Comanche both had successful playoff runs last football season, and both are dropping to Class 3A Division II.

Winters will be moving up to Class 2A Division I, while Bronte has decided to switch to six-man football because of low numbers of boys in the upcoming grades.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off