Home | Avalon High School | UIL announces conference cutoff numbers: Midlothian Heritage to 5A, several others see district shakeup

UIL announces conference cutoff numbers: Midlothian Heritage to 5A, several others see district shakeup

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

One Ellis County high school jumped classifications, while several narrowly missed the same fate or watched districts dissolve following the UIL releasing conference cutoff numbers.

The UIL released the cutoff numbers and preliminary enrollment figures for the biannual 2022-24 reclassification and realignment on Wednesday. It is the first step in the redistricting that will be announced at 9 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2022.

All enrollment numbers — such as the 1,512 submitted by now-Class 5A Midlothian Heritage — were submitted to the UIL on Snapshot Day, Oct. 29.

Following an internal review and calculations, the UIL released the following conference cutoffs:

• 6A — 2225 and above
• 5A — 1300 – 2224
• 4A — 545 – 1299
• 3A — 250 – 544
• 2A — 105 – 249
• 1A — 104.9 and below

In addition to Heritage jumping from 4A to 5A, Palmer and Maypearl missed moving up to 3A DI by 19 and 14 students, respectively. Italy is also now just 41 high school kids from jumping up a classification to 3A.

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. Class 6A does split into Division I and II for the postseason only.

All other sports and extracurricular activities fall into the simple 1A-6A format. 

The new division breaks for 1A-5A football are as follows:

• 5A Division I — 1925 – 2224 (132 schools)
• 5A Division II — 1300 – 1924 (119 schools)
• 4A Division I — 880 – 1299 (99 schools)
• 4A Division II — 545 – 879 (94 schools)
• 3A Division I — 360 – 544 (102 schools)
• 3A Division II — 250 – 359 (102 schools)
• 2A Division I — 164.5 – 249 (106 schools)
• 2A Division II — 105 – 164.4 (102 schools)
• 1A Division I — 59.5 – 104.9 (75 schools)
• 1A Division II — 59.4 and below (73 schools)

TIME FOR 7A?

Waxahachie is 607 students over the 6A threshold with a snapshot enrollment of 2,832.5, which is 98th out of 249 schools in the state’s highest classification.

Beaumont United is the smallest 6A program with 2,230 students, just five above the 2,225-student threshold. Highland Park, a program that has long snuck by the jump in classification (first from 4A to 5A and then 5A to 6A), finally received their long-awaited bump, as the Scots are now the fifth-smallest 6A program in Texas (2,245.5)

Allen remains the largest high school in the state, checking in with 7,102 students. There are at least eight others with 4,000 or more students and another 70 with over 3,000. 

Area teams that just missed the 6A cut include Dallas Adams (2,211), West Mesquite (2,209), Denton Ryan (2,199), Lancaster (2,187), North Mesquite (2,165), Dallas Sunset (2,162) and South Garland (2,161), to name a few. 

With an enrollment of 4,642, Duncanville remains the top school in the current District 11-6A. Waxahachie jumps from the bottom of the group to No. 2 with that snapshot number of 2,832.5 students — which is a difference of 1,809.5 students. 

That gap in enrollment is the equivalent of Waxahachie competing in a 4A district against Stephenville (1,081), Dallas Pinkston (1,018), Mabank (1,016), Wilmer-Hutchins (998) and Life Waxahachie (990). 

It’s safe to say the Indians would fair quite well across all sports in Class 4A, which is the type of talent pools they — and others near the bottom-third of Class 6A — are up against. 

The full breakdown in District 11-6A is as follows: 

• Duncanville (4,642)

• Waxahachie (2,832.5)

• DeSoto (2,781)

• Mansfield Lake Ridge (2,607)

• Cedar Hill (2,635)

• Mansfield (2,591.5)

• Midway (2,557)

• Waco High (2,078 – now 5A DI)

The trickle-down effect, especially for non-football sports, is real, as well. 

Class 5A tops out at 2,224 students (Denton Ryan, Lancaster, Tyler, Longview, Justin Northwest) and bottoms out over 900 students later (Denison, Dallas Kimball, Dallas Conrad, Lake Dallas).

The talent-pool gap is likely the most significant in Class 4A, as the 754 students between an enrollment of 1,299 and 545 is a tall task for the Hillsboros (567), Glen Roses (588) and Orange Groves (557) to overcome.  

The addition of a Class 7A would allow for tightening across the board. The social media rumor mill amongst “insiders” predicts that move by the UIL to happen as soon as the 2024 biannual realignment. 

BIGGEST SHAKEUP 

Outside of Midlothian Heritage jumping to Class 5A, the program that will see the most change next fall is the Ennis Lions.

Oddly enough, the Heritage Jaguars could — and should — be one of the newest district foes for the Lions.

Ennis has dominated District 8-5A Division II on the gridiron the past two seasons, finishing both undefeated and ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in 5A, respectively. 

That prowess, unfortunately, did not carry over to the postseason. Ennis fell to Mansfield Timberview in 2020 and 2021, both times resulting in the Lions’ lone loss.

Timberview turned in a snapshot enrollment of 1,982, which bumps the Wolves up to 5A Division I and out of the Lions playoff picture moving forward.

And Timberview won’t be the only familiar foe departing the Ennis schedule.

Exactly half of Ennis’ eight-team district will no longer compete in 5A DII moving forward. Only Corsicana, Crandall and Greenville remain in the football classification with the Lions.

Both North Forney (2,292) and Royse City (2,233.5) will make division and classification jump to Class 6A for the 2022-24 seasons. Meanwhile, Forney will take its 2,008 students to 5A DI, while Sulphur Springs is headed to Class 4A DI after submitting a snapshot of 1,240 students. 

As for Ennis’ non-football district (14-5A), it would be perfectly logical to slide Midlothian Heritage in place of Waco University. Ennis and Heritage would then pair with Cleburne, Corsicana, Joshua, Midlothian and Red Oak. 

Matt Stepp of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football projects Ennis and Heritage to land in football District 4-5A DII with Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Corsicana, Joshua and Mansfield Summit. 

The Summit Jaguars are currently in the 5A DII state semifinals. 

FOLLOWING A TREND

It doesn’t take a math-magician to crunch enough numbers to show that Ellis County’s population has exploded over the past decade. Or that the growth has directly impacted high school enrollment.

As a whole, the county has increased from a population of 149,610 residents in 2010 to 192,455 in 2021, per the US Census Bureau. That’s a growth of 28.6%, which includes an increase of 4.13% from 2019-21.

Yet when looking at the four largest cities in Ellis County, we find two distinct differences in relation to overall growth and high school enrollment.

Both Ennis and Red Oak High Schools have almost mirrored their respective population trends.
Ennis has decreased in both population (-0.97%) and high school enrollment (-0.70%) since 2019. Red Oak, on the other hand, has experienced modest growth in both population (5.63%) and enrollment (3.75%) over the same span.

And then there’s Midlothian and, to some extent, Waxahachie.

Pop. 2010 Pop. 2019 % Change (10-19) Pop. 2021 % Change (19-21)
ISD %Change (20-22)
Waxahachie 29,621 37,988 28.25% 41,140 8.30% 12.10%
Midlothian 22,918 33,582 46.53% 33,582 4.59% 14.36%
Ennis 18,593 20,357 9.49% 20,159 -0.97% -0.70%
Red Oak 10,733 13,464 25.44% 14,222 5.63% 3.75%
Ellis County 149,610 184,826 23.54% 192,455 4.13% 7.69%

Midlothian ISD has watched as its two high schools have outgrown the overall population trend 14.36% to 4.59% since 2019. It’s no surprise that Heritage has outgrown its current building (with an expansion almost complete) and 4A classification. And though Midlothian High did actually decrease its enrollment by 38.5 students compared to 2020, that trend is sure to reverse sooner, not later.

Waxahachie has grown the fastest of any Ellis County town over the past two years. The district has already begun the process of weighing a second athletic high school or adding a ninth (and potentially tenth) grade building to the current high school campus. The latter would allow the Tribe to grow into an even more competitive 6A or eventual 7A program, as detailed above.

So what does all of this mean? Maybe nothing. Or, prehaps, that Ennis, Red Oak, Ferris, Palmer and the rest of Ellis County should buckle up for a similar population and enrollment boom in the very, very near future.

MOVEMENT IN CURRENT DISTRICTS

Below are the current districts for each Ellis County program. Teams that have moved up or down within those districts are identified with their new classification in parenthesis. 

WAXAHACHIE

FOOTBALL & ALL OTHERS (11-6A): Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Mansfield, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Waco (now 5A DI), Waco Midway, Waxahachie

MIDLOTHIAN & RED OAK

FOOTBALL (4-5A DI): Burleson Centennial, Colleyville Heritage (now 5A DII), Mansfield Legacy (now 6A), Mansfield Summit (now 5A DII by 2 students), 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

FOOTBALL (8-5A DII): Corsicana, Crandall, Ennis, Forney (now 5A DI), Greenville, North Forney (now 6A), Royse City (now 6A), Sulphur Springs (now 4A DI)

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

MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE & LIFE WAXAHACHIE

FOOTBALL (5-4A DI): Alvarado, Brownwood, Midlothian Heritage (now 5A DII), Stephenville, Waco La Vega, Waxahachie Life

NON-FOOTBALL (11-4A): Alvarado, Ferris, Godley, Hillsboro, Midlothian Heritage (now 5A DII), Venus, Waxahachie Life

FERRIS

FOOTBALL (5-4A DII): Ferris, Glen Rose, Godley, Hillsboro, Venus

NON-FOOTBALL (11-4A): Alvarado, Ferris, Godley, Hillsboro, Midlothian Heritage (now 5A DII), Venus, Waxahachie Life

MAYPEARL

FOOTBALL (7-3A DI): Dallas A+, Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Maypearl, West, Whitney

NON-FOOTBALL (9-3A): Dallas A+, Dallas Gateway Charter Academy (now 2A), Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Keene, Maypearl, UME Prep. Acad., Uplift Hampton Prep

PALMER

FOOTBALL (7-3A DII): Blooming Grove, Dallas Gateway Charter Academy (now 2A DI), Edgewood, Mildred (now 3A DI), Palmer, Rice, Scurry-Rosser

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

ITALY

FOOTBALL (8-2A DI): Axtell, Cayuga, Dawson (now 2A DII), Italy, Kerens, Marlin

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

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

AVALON & MILFORD 

FOOTBALL (11-1A DI): Avalon, Blum, Bynum, Covington, Milford

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

____

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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