Home | Avalon High School | 2020-22 UIL realignment shakes up Ellis County sports landscape

2020-22 UIL realignment shakes up Ellis County sports landscape

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

Several Ellis County high schools officially moved football classifications, while others will see new athletic and extracurricular district competition in 2020-22 following UIL bi-annual redistricting announcements made Monday morning.

What changed?

Compared to the previous realignment, which occurred ahead of the 2018-19 school year, Waxahachie High saw the biggest enrollment jump — up 260 students from the 2,235 reported on “snapshot day” in late 2017.

Waxahachie now checks in at 2,495 students. Midlothian High also jumped significantly, as the district turned in an enrollment of 1,983.5 students, which is up 200 students from the 1,783.5 ahead of the 2018 realignment.

Red Oak, Midlothian, Midlothian Heritage and Life Waxahachie were the only four Ellis County schools to jump up in football classification. No county schools dropped in football classification, despite Maypearl, Avalon and Milford turning in lower enrollment numbers than in 2017.

It should be noted that football is the only sport that divides the 1A-5A classifications into two divisions (often referred to as big-school and small-school, or Division-I and Division-II). All other sports and extracurricular activities fall into the simple 1A-6A format.

School 2018 Enrollment 2020 Enrollment Change 2018-20 FB Class 2020-22 FB Class
Waxahachie 2235 2495 260 6A 6A
Red Oak 1835 1961 126 5A DII 5A DI
Midlothian 1783.5 1983.5 200 5A DII 5A DI
Ennis 1665 1724 59 5A DII 5A DII
Midlothian Heritage 914 1039.5 125.5 4A DI 4A DI
Life Waxahachie 932 944 12 4A DI 4A DI
Ferris 759 765.5 6.5 4A DII 4A DII
Palmer 314 326 12 3A DII 3A DII
Maypearl 374 372 (-2) 3A DI 3A DI
Italy 171 187 16 2A DI 2A DI
Avalon 97 79 (-18) 1A DI 1A DI
Milford 74 73 (-1) 1A DI 1A DI

To view the entire breakdown of the UIL conference cutoff numbers, click on this link!

How it played out

Below are the UIL districts for the 2020-22 seasons:

WAXAHACHIE – 11-6A

FOOTBALL & ALL OTHERS: Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Mansfield, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Waco, Waco Midway, Waxahachie

MIDLOTHIAN 4-5A DI

FOOTBALL: Burleson Centennial, Colleyville Heritage, Mansfield Legacy, Mansfield Summit, Midlothian, North Richland Hills Birdville, North Richland Hills Richland, Red Oak

NON-FOOTBALL (14-5A): Cleburne, Corsicana, Ennis, Joshua, Midlothian, Red Oak, Waco University

RED OAK 4-5A DI

FOOTBALL: Burleson Centennial, Colleyville Heritage, Mansfield Legacy, Mansfield Summit, Midlothian, North Richland Hills Birdville, North Richland Hills Richland, Red Oak

NON-FOOTBALL (14-5A): Cleburne, Corsicana, Ennis, Joshua, Midlothian, Red Oak, Waco University

ENNIS 8-5A DII

FOOTBALL: Corsicana, Crandall, Ennis, Forney, Greenville, North Forney, Royse City, Sulphur Springs

NON-FOOTBALL (14-5A): Cleburne, Corsicana, Ennis, Joshua, Midlothian, Red Oak, Waco University

MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE 5-4A DI

FOOTBALL: Alvarado, Brownwood, Midlothian Heritage, Stephenville, Waco La Vega, Waxahachie Life

NON-FOOTBALL (11-4A): Alvarado, Ferris, Godley, Hillsboro, Midlothian Heritage, Venus, Waxahachie Life

LIFE WAXAHACHIE 5-4A DI

FOOTBALL: Alvarado, Brownwood, Midlothian Heritage, Stephenville, Waco La Vega, Waxahachie Life

NON-FOOTBALL (11-4A): Alvarado, Ferris, Godley, Hillsboro, Midlothian Heritage, Venus, Waxahachie Life

FERRIS 5-4A DII

FOOTBALL: Ferris, Glen Rose, Godley, Hillsboro, Venus

NON-FOOTBALL (11-4A): Alvarado, Ferris, Godley, Hillsboro, Midlothian Heritage, Venus, Waxahachie Life

MAYPEARL 7-3A DI

FOOTBALL: Dallas A+, Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Maypearl, West, Whitney

NON-FOOTBALL (9-3A): Dallas A+, Dallas Gateway Charter Academy, Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Keene, Maypearl, UME Prep. Acad., Uplift Hampton Prep

PALMER 7-3A DII

FOOTBALL: Blooming Grove, Dallas Gateway Charter Academy, Edgewood, Mildred, Palmer, Rice, Scurry-Rosser

NON-FOOTBALL (18-3A): Blooming Grove, Eustace, Kemp, Malakoff, Mildred, Palmer, Rice, Scurry-Rosser

ITALY 8-2A DI

FOOTBALL: Axtell, Cayuga, Dawson, Italy, Kerens, Marlin

BASKETBALL (12-2A): Frost, Hamilton, Italy, Itasca, Meridian, Rio Vista, Valley Mills

VOLLEYBALL (15-2A): Italy, Itasca, Rio Vista, Avalon, Blum, Covington, Kopperl, TLC – Arlington

AVALON 11-1A DI

FOOTBALL: Avalon, Blum, Bynum, Covington, Milford

NON-FOOTBALL (26-1A): Avalon, Bynum, Coolidge, Hubbard, Milford, Penelope, Trinidad

MILFORD 11-1A DI

FOOTBALL: Avalon, Blum, Bynum, Covington, Milford

NON-FOOTBALL (26-1A): Avalon, Bynum, Coolidge, Hubbard, Milford, Penelope, Trinidad

What does it mean?

Though we won’t truly know what the new districts will mean to each high school until the first season plays out, there are a few things worth noting.

For Waxahachie: Third-year head coach Todd Alexander and the Indian football team received no reprieve from the previously dubbed 7-6A “District of Doom.” In fact, their new district is even “doomier” than the one they’ve won just one game during the two years prior.

The district lost three of its weaker opponents (though weaker is in comparison to the elevated talent on other teams) in Grand Prairie, South Grand Prairie and now-5A Mansfield Summit. The new “District of Doom” then added perennial state powers in Duncanville and Waco Midway. Waco High should slide into the back of the pack that features six schools that have been state-ranked in Class 6A at one point during the season of the past two years.

Waxahachie is tentatively slated to play Rowlett, Arlington Lamar and Ennis (week 3) in non-district games. The Tribe will also scrimmage Red Oak.

For Midlothian, Red Oak & Ennis: Both Red Oak and Midlothian will jump from 5A Division II to 5A Division I, which leaves Ennis as the lone Ellis County representative in 5A Division II. The three schools will, however, compete in the same non-football district.

The move up in classification will be an eye-opener one way or another for the Red Oak Hawks, who have competed in a district relatively void of football talent outside of South Oak Cliff. That’s not to say that the Hawks will not compete in their new district, but they’ll certainly be tested more regularly. And we have no reason to not think that third-year head coach Chris Ross and the Hawks will rise to the occasion more often than not.

Red Oak was in the conversation with Ennis as the best football program in Ellis County this past season. Fans of both will have the opportunity to watch the two battle on the gridiron in week one this fall.

Speaking of Ennis, the Lions will have to continue enduring brutally long road trips during the football season. They will, thankfully, stay much closer to home in non-football sports.

Sure, trips to Corsicana, Forney and North Forney are tolerable. But the roundtrip reks to Sulphur Springs (216 miles), Royse City (122 miles) and Greenville (162 miles) are less than ideal. Ennis should enter the 2020 football season as the early favorite to win a second-consecutive district championship under Sam Harrell’s third year back on the sidelines.

As for Midlothian, the Panthers jump to 5A Division I also meant leaving a district dominated by reigning state champion Aledo and entering one that is up for grabs. Midlothian, Red Oak, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Mansfield Summit, Burleson Centennial, Colleyville Heritage and Birdville all had winning records in 2019.

For Midlothian Heritage & Life Waxahachie: Whew. The Jaguars and Mustangs have landed in one of the tougher 4A Division I districts in the state.

Waco La Vega will be fresh off of a loss to Carthage in the 4A DI state championship, which came after the Pirates defeated Liberty Hill to win a state title in 2018. Stephenville and Brownwood are certainly nothing to sneeze at either, especially with the Lions having won 11 games and two playoff matchups this past season.

Ferris, Maypearl, Milford & Avalon: Just. Stay. Healthy.

Each of the four teams landed in a five- or seven-team football district and each should easily slide into one of the four playoff spots allotted for each district.

Representatives from Ferris, Milford and Avalon should go ahead and contact a local screen printing company to start the playoff-shirt-making process.

The new district should also be a huge boost to a Maypearl football program that has undergone an extended turnaround period under second-year head coach Sam Riepe.

Life Oak Cliff and Dallas Madison both did make the postseason in 2019 but did so in a rather porous district that was absolutely dominated by Malakoff. Madison should be the only threat to steal a playoff spot from the group of Grandview, Maypearl, West and Whitney.

____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@kbec.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith serves as the digital sports director for KBEC Sports. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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