Biggest changes locally are at Class 5A levels; WHS, others get jump on game scheduling
The District of Doom remained intact for the Waxahachie Indians with a couple of tweaks. Midlothian and Red Oak are checking to make sure their gas cards are paid up. And more and more Ellis County teams are seeing their playoff pathways pass through West Texas.
With much fanfare, the University Interscholastic League announced the new biennial district alignments for the 2022-2024 seasons in football and basketball on Thursday.
The Indians will stay in District 11-6A with Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Mansfield High and Mansfield Lake Ridge. Joining the district are Mansfield Legacy, which rises up from 5A D-I, and Dallas Skyline, the biggest school in Dallas ISD and among the biggest in the state. Both Legacy and Skyline finished 1-9 last year. Departing the district are Waco High, which dropped to Class 5A Division I after an 0-10 season, and Waco Midway, which moved to District 12-6A after finishing 1-9.
Although the biennial gathering of coaches at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts / Athletics Complex was turned into a virtual affair because of the winter storm, Waxahachie head football coach Shane Tolleson has already secured non-district games for the first three weeks of the regular season.
The Tribe will face Ennis in the 101st Battle of 287 in Week 1 on Aug. 26 at Lumpkins Stadium, according to information released by Ennis ISD. The Indians will also take on Arlington Lamar in Week 2 and Grand Prairie in Week 3, with home sites for those games to be determined. The Indians’ full schedule will be announced following a district coaches’ meeting on Monday.
In 5A Division I, Midlothian and Red Oak will remain rivals in District 4-5A (I). However, the Panthers and Hawks will be in a nine-team district that’s pretty far-flung, with Cleburne and Granbury in the north, former 11-6A member Waco in the middle, and Killeen, Killeen Ellison, Killeen Shoemaker and Lake Belton in the south.
The Panthers released their list of opponents for the upcoming alignment, opening against Arlington Seguin and Ennis. After a Week 3 bye, the district lineup consists of Cleburne, Ellison, Granbury, Lake Belton, Killeen, Red Oak, Shoemaker and Waco.
The Ellis County connection also held in 5A Division II, where rising Midlothian Heritage and Ennis will team up in District 5-5A (II). The Jaguars and Lions will face Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Corsicana, Everman, Joshua and Mansfield Summit.
HHS announced its 2022 schedule on social media on Thursday, including non-district games against Stephenville, Cleburne and Waco La Vega in order. The Jags’ Week 4 district opener will be against Burleson, with a bye in Week 5. Games against Joshua, Summit, Ennis, Corsicana, Seguin and Everman will follow. The sites of these games will be determined.
Ennis tentatively announced it will play Waxahachie, Midlothian and Colleyville Heritage in non-district games in the first three weeks.
The county’s four 5A schools will be split not only into different basketball districts, but also into different regions.
Midlothian and Heritage will become district hoops rivals for the first time and will compete in Region I in a nine-team District 8-5A along with Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Burleson Centennial, Cleburne, Joshua, Mansfield Summit and Mansfield Timberview.
Red Oak and Ennis were assigned to a new-look seven-team District 14-5A in Region II basketball that also includes Corsicana, Crandall, Forney, Lancaster and Terrell.
District assignments in volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and other sports will be announced at a later date. In 5A and 6A especially but also at most lower levels, these districts typically will align with the basketball districts.
Smaller schools keep most rivals
Football and basketball districts in Class 4A and below will have a look this fall that is familiar, but with some changes.
With Heritage’s move to Class 5A and Brownwood’s move to Region I, the Life Waxahachie Mustangs will be in a five-team football District 5-4A (I) with some tough customers, including 2021 state champions China Spring (4A D-II) and Stephenville (4A D-I), whose district collision will undoubtedly be hyped as a title unification bout. Waco La Vega, another recent state champion, is in this district along with Alvarado.
In 4A D-II, the Ferris Yellowjackets will slide over to Region I and will keep their previous bunkmates — Glen Rose, Godley, Hillsboro and Venus — while adding Benbrook, a familiar non-district opponent for the Jackets, to form a six-team District 4-4A (II). As populations shift in the Lone Star State, the reach of Region I is spreading farther and farther east, especially in classifications that didn’t have many West Texas teams to begin with.
Both Life and Ferris will be members of the new 10-4A for basketball, with Kennedale joining current 11-4A members Alvarado, Godley, Hillsboro and Venus.
The Maypearl Panthers have made two playoff appearances in a row, but now they find themselves in a nine-team District 7-3A (I) with new members Dallas Gateway Charter and Inspired Vision Dallas joining all seven holdovers from the previous alignment.
The Palmer Bulldogs’ District 7-3A (II) has two changes, as perennial contender Edgewood moves off to Region III and Dallas Gateway moves up to 3A D-I. Two charter schools move in, Arlington Trinity Leadership and Cedar Hill Newman.
Maypearl and Palmer continue to be districted separately in basketball, but now there’s the chance of a playoff meeting as they are now in adjacent districts in Region III. The Panthers will be a part of District 17-3A with Clifton, Grandview, Keene, West and Whitney; while the Bulldogs will remain in 18-3A with Blooming Grove, Eustace, Kemp, Malakoff, Mildred, Rice and Scurry-Rosser.
Elsewhere, in Class 2A Division I football, the Italy Gladiators won’t have to face playoff Cinderella team Marlin in the new seven-team District 7-2A (I). The Gladiators will keep holdovers Axtell, Cayuga and Kerens, and will add Itasca, Rio Visyta and Malakoff Cross Roads. Former district colleague Dawson moves to 2A Division II. In basketball, the Gladiators will join District 12-2A with Frost, Hamilton, Itasca, Rio Vista and Valley Mills.
In six-man football, Avalon and Milford will stay in District 11-1A (I) with holdovers Blum and Covington, while Bynum will be replaced by Three Way School. The Eagles and Bulldogs will be paired together in District 26-1A hoops with Bynum, Coolidge, Oakwood, Penelope and Trinidad.