UIL Realignment May Bring Big Changes to These East Texas Schools
Schools have turned in their enrollment numbers, and the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) has released the cutoff numbers for the various conferences and divisions for the 2024-2026 school years.
We will have to wait until February to find out which teams will be competing in which districts. But, since we know the conference/division cut-off numbers, we can get a pretty good idea about the districts and teams that will be facing the biggest changes.
The following concerns football districts. A story on basketball probabilities will be published soon.
District 7-5A, Division 1
In 2023, this was one of the toughest football districts in Texas. Longview, Forney, and Lancaster all advanced deep in the playoffs. But, those three teams will be making the jump to 6A.
The remaining five teams, including Lufkin and Tyler High, stay in 5A - Division 1, along with three teams near Dallas (North Mesquite, West Mesquite, McKinney North).
Most 'experts' believe that Tyler HIgh will stay with the Dallas area for district play, However, Lufkin could switch to the south and/or west for their next two years of district football games. Some of the following schools could soon be district foes for Lufkin:
- Beaumont Westbrook
- Beaumont United
- Baytown Sterling
- Humble Kingwood Park
- La Porte
- Barbers Hill
- New Caney Porter
- Port Arthur Memorial
- College Station
- A&M Consolidated
District 8-5A, Division 2
Don't expect many changes in this district that includes Nacogdoches. Pine Tree will be dropping to 4A, but Jacksonville will probably replace them as the Indians move back up to 5A.
District 9-4A, Division 1
Jacksonville is moving to 5A -Division 2, while Athens will take a step down to 4A - Division 2. This district which includes heavy hitters like Kilgore and Chapel Hill may be looking to add a team or two. Pine Tree may be a good bet.
District 9-4A, Division 2
Jasper's enrollment keeps them in Division 2, but three teams from their district (Bridge City, Hardin-Jefferson, and Liberty) are moving up to Division 1. Both Shepherd and Tarkington are moving to 4A - Division 2, so they may be joining Jasper's district over the next two years.
District 9-3A, Division 1
Shepherd moves up and Woodville moves down to Division 2. Will this now become a five-team district with Coldspring-Oakhurst, Crockett, Diboll, Huntington, Palestine Westwood?
District 12-3A, Division 2
Hemphill slips down to 2A and it seems likely that Woodville will take the Hornet's spot in this district which includes Newton, Warren, and Trinity.
District 11-2A, Division 1
The good news for Hemphill, they will not have Newton as a district opponent for the next two years in football. The bad news -- there's a good chance the Hornets will now be in the district that includes Timpson and Garrison.
Quick Sidenote - Shiner moves down a division, which means the long-time district showdown between Shiner and Refugio will not be happening for the next two years.
Grapeland and West Sabine will be moving down to Division 2 which makes Hemphill a top candidate to replace one of those teams. Price Carlisle looks to be another team that may be joining this tough district.
District 11-2A & 12-2A, Division 2
There looks to be a lot of shuffling ahead for these two districts. Carlisle is leaving District 11, and Grapeland, West Sabine, and West Hardin are dropping to the 2A - Division 2 level. Hull-Daisetta has the enrollment to qualify to play 6-man football, but they will probably ask to stay as a 2A 11-man team.
If I were a betting man, I would say Grapeland and West Sabine join Alto, Cushing, Mount Enterprise, Overton, and Tenaha, while West Hardin will be included with Colmesneil, Deweyville, Evadale, Hull-Daisetta, Lovelady, and Sabine Pass.
District 9-A, Division 2
Apple Springs has the enrollment of a Division 1 school. That could mean they would be joining Burkeville, Chester, High Island, and Leveretts Chapel.
Texas UIL is expected to announce the football realignment for 2024-2026 on February 1.
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