Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Luck of the draw: Winners and losers from 2014-16 UIL realignment
Some coaches winced at the sight of the new district alignments while others couldn't hide their enthusiasm.
The latest round
Highland Park: After moving up to the state’s largest classification for the first time since 1988, Highland Park should be pleased with its draw. With an enrollment of 2,106. Highland Park will be one of the smallest 6A schools in the state. That would have posed a problem if it ended up in a district with Allen and the Plano schools. Instead, Highland Park will be in 10-6A with Mesquite, Mesquite Horn, North Mesquite, Richardson, Richardson Berkner, Lake Highlands and Richardson Pearce. None of the schools are overwhelmingly big – Mesquite is the largest with a 2,845 enrollment. A playoff berth should be well within Highland Park’s reach.
Jesuit, Skyline, Irving ISD: The new District 9-6A was a good landing spot for all of these programs. Jesuit could have fallen in a number of different places, but it’ll have familiar opponents in Skyline, Sunset and W.T. White. It has been to the playoffs each of the past four years and figures to be in that mix again. The same goes for Skyline, which has been the class of its district for the last several realignments. It should be again here. And Irving, Irving MacArthur and Irving Nimitz will have a good shot at playoff berths, too. Only one of those three teams made the playoffs each of the last two years, but two could get through now after being moved away from Euless Trinity’s district.
Carrollton Newman Smith: The last two years were a challenge for Newman Smith in a district with Highland Park, Mesquite Poteet and West Mesquite. After going three rounds deep in 2009 and 2010, Newman Smith hasn’t been to the playoffs since. That could change in the new District 11-5A, where it joins Carrollton Creekview, Bryan Adams, Conrad, Hillcrest, Jefferson, Wilson and North Dallas. Newman Smith will probably battle Creekview and Wilson for a district title.
Denton Guyer: The two-time defending 4A Division I state champions moved up to Class 6A and into a district it can win. Guyer joins Denton Ryan, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, Justin Northwest and Trophy Club Byron Nelson in the new 5-6A. Moving up in classification is never easy, but Guyer should have a smoother transition than most.
Colleyville Heritage, Hurst L.D. Bell: These two traditional playoff teams will probably duke it out for the final berth out of the new 7-6A. The district includes state powers Southlake Carroll, Coppell and Euless Trinity, and it’s hard to imagine a postseason without any of those three. Heritage has been to the postseason every year since 2006, and L.D. Bell since 2010, but there probably won’t be room for both in 2014.
District 6-6A: The nine-team District 6-6A includes two-time defending state champion Allen along with Hebron, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Flower Mound Marcus, McKinney Boyd, Plano, Plano East and Plano West. Six of those nine teams were in the playoffs last year. With the exception of Allen, it’s hard to predict where everyone else finishes. There is no wiggle room in this district and some good teams – across all sports -- will miss out on the postseason.
DeSoto: Claude Mathis and the Eagles can handle a tough district. After all, they swept 7-5A the last two years. DeSoto’s playoff picture, though, is brutal. It will likely face either Euless Trinity or Coppell in the first round of the postseason, then face Allen in the second round. Allen and DeSoto, the state’s top two teams, have met in the state semifinals each of the past two years.
Ennis: Competition isn’t the downside for Ennis in the new District 16-5A. It’s geography. In a district with a slew of East Texas schools, the closest district opponent is Corsicana, which is a 23-mile drive away. The next two closest are Lindale (89.5 miles) and John Tyler (91.1 miles). Ennis will be traveling 90-plus minutes for nearly all of its district games.