Ball High, Friendswood and Texas City in Class 5A, Division I, and Santa Fe in Class 5A, Division II will be entering loaded, new-look football districts next season after Thursday morning’s announcement from the University Interscholastic League on its 2018-2020 realignment.
For football, District 10-5A-I will consist of promising new program Alvin Shadow Creek and teams that all reached the playoffs last season in Angleton, Ball High, Fort Bend Hightower, Friendswood, Richmond Foster, Rosenberg Terry and Texas City.
“It’s definitely a competitive district,” Ball High head coach Kimble Anders said. “We’ve been in a tough district the past couple of years, and I think it’s pretty similar to what we’ve been through. Obviously, we’ve got some pretty good football teams in that district, and we just have to go out and play.
“But, I welcome it,” Anders added. “You’ve got to be in a tough district because once you get out of district and into the playoffs, you want to make sure you’re battle-tested. So, I think it’s great. It’ll be an opportunity for us to continue to grow and compete and get better.”
In addition to both making the playoffs last year, both Friendswood and Hightower drop down from Class 6A.
“On the football side of it, the district we’re going into sure looks like it’s going to be competitive to me,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. “There are some really good football teams.
“I think dropping down to 5A is going to be a giant benefit to all our sports that aren’t football,” Koopmann added.
Koopmann also noted that playing on the 6A level for the past four years will help Friendswood compete in such a difficult football district.
“There were no nights off in 24-6A,” Koopmann said.
Santa Fe bucks a recent westward trend for Galveston County 5A schools and moves east to District 12-5A-II, which features perennial powers Crosby, Nederland and Port Neches-Groves, as well as solid programs in Barbers Hill, Dayton and Vidor. Baytown Lee rounds out the eight-team district.
For basketball and volleyball (and likely baseball, softball, soccer and other sports), the Class 5A districts differ. All the county 5A teams — Ball High, Friendswood, Santa Fe and Texas City — will compete in District 22-5A along with Baytown Lee, Crosby, Galena Park and Goose Creek Memorial.
“That one really threw us for a loop when we looked at that this morning with how vastly different it was (than the football district),” Koopmann said. “You’re going west for football, and you’re basically going to the east side of Houston on the other one.”
District 24-6A remains exactly the same as it is currently, minus Friendswood, which dropped to Class 5A. The five Clear Creek ISD schools, Dickinson and Alvin will form 24-6A in 2018-2020.
La Marque moves up from Class 3A, Division I to Class 4A, Division II, and, in football, joins District 11-4A-II with Houston Kashmere, Houston Scarborough, Houston Washington, Sweeny and Wharton.
For new La Marque head football coach Shone Evans, his first official day on the job was quite the eventful one as he joined hundreds of fellow coaches and media at the UIL’s unveiling ceremony at Birdville High School near Fort Worth.
“Everybody was waiting for those folders to get released, and 9 a.m. couldn’t get here fast enough,” Evans said.
Evans also confirmed that in non-district play La Marque will face both its oldest and newest rivals as the Cougars will resume The Clash of the Causeway with Ball High, and newfound rival Hitchcock also will be on the schedule.
In other sports, La Marque is in District 24-4A with Bay City, Brazosport, Sweeny and Columbia.
After a brief stint in Region III, Hitchcock football returns to Region IV in District 13-3A-I with Altair Rice Consolidated, Boling, Columbus, Hempstead and Palacios.
Hitchcock’s new non-football sports District 24-3A will consist of Boling, Danbury, East Bernard, Palacios, Tidehaven and Van Vleck.
In District 12-1A-I, High Island football will compete against Fruitvale, Leveretts Chapel and Union Hill.
The Cardinals’ basketball teams will be in Region IV in District 29-1A with Burkeville, Chester, Goodrich, Leggett and Spurger, and their volleyball teams will be in Region III in District 24-2A with Burkeville, Deweyville, Evadale, Hull Daisetta, Sabine Pass, West Hardin and Spurger.