Monday morning marked yet another UIL realignment announcement, which rivals a hectic scene you would witness on a busy day at the New York Stock Exchange.
The Birdville Fine Arts and Athletics Complex was once again the site for this occasion, as coaches found out their new conference rivals for the next two years, while others scrambled for non-district opponents following certain unexpected pairings.
One that came as a surprise to some, including to Lone Star head coach Jeff Rayburn, was a nine-team football district in 5-5A Division I with the Rangers, Centennial, Heritage, Reedy, Wakeland and Independence being joined by The Colony and two programs from Denton ISD in Denton and Denton Ryan.
This means that football fans will have the pleasure of witnessing rematches over the next two years of the 2019 5A Div. I state semifinals with Lone Star and Ryan, and Rayburn knows getting thrown into the same district with a juggernaut like Ryan can bode well for his program.
“I’m excited to have [Ryan] in our district,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to play great teams, especially with Longview also dropping into Region II. Holy cow, that’s a lot of heavy hitters.”
The fact that the six FISD programs from Division I were thrust into a nine-team district also provided non-district scheduling problems.
Rayburn rushed to find a Week Two opponent before coming to an agreement with 6A Euless Trinity, while Reedy head coach Chad Cole had a wrench thrown into his plans as well once it was announced that he would have to find a replacement opponent for the Lions’ Week Two matchup with The Colony.
“Everybody is weighing their best option to win a football game, and that’s what I was doing as well,” he said. “Trying to find a game is like being on one of those mystery shows. The longer it goes, the less likely you’re going to find what you want. That’s why you have to be elbow-to-elbow and have those contingency plans planted.”
Reedy, which competed for the past two seasons in Class 5A Division II, makes the jump to Division I in 2020 but will face two familiar foes from FISD in Frisco and Liberty in non-district action.
Speaking of Longview, which dropped from 6A to 5A Division I, the Lobos now share a district with another state powerhouse in Highland Park, as well as area programs like West Mesquite and McKinney North.
Meanwhile, one of the more surprising pairings at the 5A level came in 6-5A Division I where Newman Smith and RL Turner helped make up a district with six Dallas ISD programs and Lancaster, in what could be smooth sailing for the Tigers and could also mean more playoff appearances for the Trojans and Lions on the gridiron.
Over in 5A Division II, Lake Dallas and Lovejoy landed once again in 7-5A Div. II with the likes of Denison, Princeton, Liberty, Memorial, Lebanon Trail and Prosper Rock Hill.
Princeton, Rock Hill, Denison and Lovejoy remained attached as well in the non-football sports in 10-5A along with McKinney North, Sherman, Wylie East and The Colony in what appears to be one of the more spread-out geographical 5A districts in the area.
After some murmurs that FISD could be split in half in non-football athletics, that was not the case with all 10 schools remaining intact once again in 9-5A.