What the UIL realignment means for high school football in Central Texas

Vandegrift vs. Hays high school football (KXAN Photo)
Vandegrift vs. Hays high school football (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The University Interscholastic League released its new alignments Thursday morning, part of a bi-annual tradition that shuffles teams’ classification, districts and regions.

The biggest shake-up in realignment for 6A is the fact that perennial state powers like Lake Travis and Westlake are now in the same district as Austin Independent School District schools like Austin High, Akins, Anderson and Bowie. Hays, Del Valle and Lehman round out District 25-6A.

That means that the Leander Independent School District schools, which used to be in the same district as the Cavs, Chaps, Cardinals, Lobos and Hays, are now grouped with the Hendrickson and the Round Rock schools in District 13-6A.

Central Texas now has just two, nine-team districts that are in separate regions. 13-6A will have to face Houston-area schools in the bi-district round of the playoffs, while 25-6A will take on schools from the San Antonio region, including powers like Cibolo Steele, Smithson Valley and Converse Judson, which means the road to the state title game is that much tougher. San Marcos, the only other area 6A team is in that same district.

With both districts featuring nine teams, that means the road to the playoffs starts earlier in the season in Week 3, with just two non-district games to prepare for the games that affect seeding.

Class 5A had a bigger shakeup in the way it was being classified. Instead of waiting for teams to qualify for the playoffs, and then get divided up into either Division 1 or Division 2 based on enrollment, the split is now predetermined like it is in Class 4A and smaller.

In 5A Division 1, the larger of the two, Dripping Springs joins the smaller Austin ISD schools that aren’t in 6A and Seguin in District 12. They’re paired with District 11, which features Cedar Park, Hutto, Rouse, Manor, Connally, Pflugerville and Georgetown.

Pflugerville is back in 5A, in part, because of the newest district in the school, Weiss, opening up.

One big surprise in realignment is the fact that the Georgetown schools are split up. The Eagles are in 5A Division 1, District 11, while East View, their neighborhood rivals, are in 5A Division 2, District 13. Joining the Pats are Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Elgin, Glenn, which is Leander ISD’s newest school, Marble Falls, Weiss and an outlier in Brenham.

Lockhart, the remaining area 5A team is in 14-5A District 2 with San Antonio-area schools.

In December, the UIL released enrollment figures, which determine a school’s classification, with the biggest schools competing in Class 6A, followed by Class 5A, 4A, etc.

These alignments affect everything from athletics to band and academic competitions.

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