Not much changed for area high school football teams in terms of competition after the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced Monday how schools would be realigned from 2020 through 2022.
Bay City will move from Region IV to Region III in football starting in this fall and will be competing in the six-team District 12-4A Division I along with old district foes El Campo, Brazosport, Needville and Columbia. Stafford is the only new addition to the mix.
Gone are Sealy, who moved down to Class 4A Division II, and Fulshear, who moved up in classification to Class 5A Division II.
“It keeps our little group together,” Bay City Head Coach Pat Matthews said. “It was a very competitive district last year, with several teams in the Top 25.”
Matthews said the UIL asking for the school population numbers early (numbers were submitted in October) and then announcing the cutoff numbers for each classification in December, gave coaches a better idea where they would end up when the district alignments were announced.
The only question in Matthews’ mind was whether Bay City would be in a six-team or a seven-team district like it was last year.
“There were some other names floating around that might come in with us,” Matthews said. “We were pretty certain that Stafford would be a part of things.”
Palacios remained in Class 3A Division I in football as well as in Region IV and were moved into District 15-3A Division I. None of the teams that were in District 13-3A Division I moved with Palacios to the new district. The Sharks will face Aransas Pass, Edna, Goliad, Mathis, Orange Grove and Industrial in their new district.
“It’s good for us to play schools we haven’t seen before,” Palacios Head Coach Chad Graves said. “We’re excited to see new faces and new jerseys next season.”
Columbus, Boling, Hitchcock and Hempstead, district opponents for the Sharks last season, all moved to Region III into District 12-3A Division I.
Another district foe for the Sharks last season, Rice Consolidated, moved down to Class 3A Division II and will be in the same district with Van Vleck and Tidehaven this fall.
District 14-3A Division II, which includes Van Vleck, Tidehaven and Rice Consolidated, will also have East Bernard, Danbury and Brazos among its six teams. Bloomington, Ganado and Schulenburg, who were all in District 14-3A Division II with Van Vleck and Tidehaven last year, all moved down in classification to Class 2A Division I.
Tidehaven Head Coach David Lucio said he wasn’t surprised at all about who the Tigers would be facing in the fall.
“We landed exactly where I thought we would,” Lucio said, “I expect us to be competitive in this district next year.”
Lucio said while the district will be competitive, Region IV will be much tougher to maneuver through when the playoffs roll around.
“Region-wise, it’s a lot tougher. They moved in some teams that traditionally are pretty good, so when it comes to playoff time, it will be tougher,” Lucio said.
Van Vleck Head Coach Robert Blackmon also thought this would be the way the UIL go when it came to putting teams in their new district.
“You are never really sure what the UIL will do,” Blackmon said.
For basketball and volleyball, Bay City moves from Region III to Region IV into District 25-4A. Moving with Bay City are old 24-4A foes La Marque, Brazosport, Columbia and Sweeny. Needville and Stafford were added to the mix to create a seven-team district.
In Class 3A for basketball and volleyball, Van Vleck, Palacios and Tidehaven have split into different districts and different regions.
Van Vleck stays in Region III in basketball and volleyball along with Danbury, Hitchcock, East Bernard and Boling in 24-3A. Joining those teams will be Hempstead, Brazos and Harmony School of Discovery, a charter school, in a new eight-team district.
“I really didn’t understand that, but that’s the UIL for you. I don’t know why they can’t be more consistent. That’s going to be a lot of traveling for us to do, especially when you are in Region III,” Blackmon said.
Tidehaven and Palacios will be moving to District 28-3A in Region IV. They will be joined by Rice Consolidated, Columbus, Edna, Hallettsville, Industrial and Yoakum.
“I am glad to be back in Region IV in all sports instead of being split,” Graves said. “It will be good for us.”
Lucio said it wasn’t so great for Tidehaven to be placed in a district with a lot of bigger schools.
“In volleyball, it’s not good for us at all. We are the only small school in the district. We will have to work hard to be competitive the next couple of years,” Lucio said.
He said teams like Columbus, from a shear student population size, have an advantage.
“They are closer to a 4A, than a 3A,” Lucio said. “We are closer to a 2A than a 3A.”