LCISD football spread across four districts
Lamar Consolidated ISD schools all played in one district as recently as the spring of 2016, when Foster, George Ranch, Lamar Consolidated and Terry were in District 24-5A with Angleton and Port Lavaca Calhoun.
George Ranch was reclassified to 6A after a year highlighted by its first state football championship. Next year, with the split of 5A into divisions in football and Fulshear being assigned to Class 4A, LCISD will be represented in four different districts on the gridiron.
George Ranch, the district’s largest school with a UIL count of 2,654 students, remains in District 23-6A for virtually all sports, next year adding Strake Jesuit in male sports to the competitive group of Elsik, Hastings, Alief Taylor, Brazoswood, Pearland and Dawson.
The rest of LCISD will see some new faces in football, which includes a different alignment than most other sports. For example, Foster, LCHS and Terry stay together in basketball and volleyball, joined by Shadow Creek, Angleton, Hightower, Marshall, Willowridge and Manvel.
In football, Foster (2,061 students) and Terry (2,096) are in a competitive District 10-5A Division I with Shadow Creek, Angleton, Hightower, Friendswood, Ball and Texas City. Seven of the eight made the playoffs, six advanced and Foster and Angleton played for the regional title.
LCHS (1,719) landed in District 10-5A Division II with Bryan Rudder, Cleveland, A&M Consolidated, Huntsville, Paetow, Montgomery and Lake Creek. It could present an opportunity for an improved Mustangs squad in football, as only A&M Consolidated and Huntsville made the playoffs this past season. Montgomery is dropping from 6A. Lake Creek opens this year. Paetow plays its first varsity season this fall.
LCISD 5A schools also get a return to Region 3 in all sports after two years in Region 4, offering a slight reduction in travel for postseason events. Region 4 is typically composed of San Antonio-area and South Texas schools.
Fulshear (1,027) will play schools that are a closer match in size after breaking into UIL athletics in 5A the last two years, with some success including a playoff appearance in volleyball during the Chargers’ varsity debut this past fall.
In basketball and volleyball, the Chargers will play in District 25-4A with El Campo, Needville, Royal, Sealy, Stafford and Wharton. Four of those schools play together in the current alignment. All sports are zoned to Region 4.
Fulshear will make its varsity football debut this season, competing in District 13-4A Division I with Bay City, El Campo, Brazosport, Needville, Sealy and Columbia. Those six schools played together during the current alignment, with El Campo winning both district titles and Brazosport, Bay City and Sealy reaching the playoffs this past year.
HIGHTOWER IN LOADED 5A DISTRICT
Hightower missed the UIL cut for Class 6A by less than 150 students for the 2018-20 realignment block, reassigning the Hurricanes to the second-largest classification for the first time in more than a decade, if ever.
As much as Hurricanes coach Padriac McGinnis will miss having so many games practically on campus at Hall Stadium or down the road at fellow Fort Bend ISD venue Mercer Stadium, he is anticipating the potential level of play in their new district.
In football, Hightower will represent FBISD in District 10-5A Division I, competing with Shadow Creek, Angleton, Friendswood, Ball, Foster, Terry and Texas City.
“We’re going into a tough district,” McGinnis said. “I think it’s the SEC of 5A. I don’t know the 5As around the state too much, but in our district, six of them went two rounds deep last year. I think three of them went three rounds deep and two went four rounds deep.”
Hightower finished 5-5 with a 5-2 record in District 20-6A this past fall, competing with seven other FBISD schools. The Hurricanes returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence, which broke a string of three consecutive district championships.
The new district is slightly different in basketball and most other sports, which does not include Ball, Friendswood or Texas City but brings in Marshall, Willowridge, Manvel and Lamar Consolidated. The Hurricanes look to make the most of their time in 5A, which could be brief.
“I look forward to it,” McGinnis said. “It’s going to be an interesting district. Our basketball does great, our track does great. We have numbers in those sports. The school population went down. We should be back up in the next two years because there’s like seven subdivisions being built right by our school. Going down to 5A, we hope to make some deep runs in the playoffs these next two years.”
ALIEF ISD WELCOMES STRAKE JESUIT IN 23-6A
Alief ISD athletics have been shuffled a bit in recent years by UIL realignment, moving from a district with Aldine ISD to a nine-team league with Fort Bend ISD for the 2014-16 block.
But the current District 23-6A will stay intact in the next alignment. The UIL made it official Feb. 1 that Alief schools will continue to play Pearland, Dawson, George Ranch and Brazoswood during the 2018-20 school years.
The district is even adding competition in male sports with Strake Jesuit joining the group.
“Strake’s good in everything so it’s going to be highly competitive,” AISD Director of Athletics Scott Moehlig said. “It’ll be a strong district. We work well together, so I think there’s going to be some good competition.”
Strake Jesuit is a short trip from AISD venues, merely five miles from Crump Stadium. There is also some familiarity with Crusaders sports, as Strake and AISD shared a UIL district as recently as 2010.
District 23-6A has largely produced balanced competition across several sports in more than a year of play. Rivalries will get a chance to continue to develop the next two years.