Paetow learns district alignment for varsity debut
Coaches and athletes at Paetow High School knew from the fall release of UIL enrollment figures the Panthers would begin varsity play in Class 5A for all sports in 2018. But until the official realignment and reclassification was released Feb. 1, their district destination and annual opponents were unknown.
Paetow will compete in District 19-5A in most sports, namely basketball and volleyball, during the 2018-20 alignment block. The Panthers are in a competitive group with Brenham, Bryan Rudder, College Station, A&M Consolidated, Magnolia, Magnolia West and Waller.
“It’s a lot easier knowing,” Paetow football coach and campus athletic director B.J. Gotte said. “The uncertainty over the last few months especially has been kind of tough. Everybody’s got a prediction, so dealing with the predictions and where you’re going to fall. But now we kind of have a clear path.”
The league will be slightly different in football. The Panthers will play in District 10-5A Division II with Rudder, Cleveland, A&M Consolidated, Huntsville, Montgomery, Montgomery Lake Creek and Lamar Consolidated.
Both districts cover a large geographic area, primarily to the north, but Gotte said he expected to travel based on the layout of Region 3-5A.
“We’ll have to gas up the busses,” Gotte said. “It is (a lot of travel), but when you look at the map of where we were placed with the other schools around us and the break in Division I and Division II this year, we were going to have to travel at some point, whether we go an hour north or an hour south to Manvel. With Houston traffic, you’re in a bus an hour no matter what.”
Paetow’s football district includes two new schools as Montgomery Lake Creek is scheduled to open this fall. Of the six schools which played football this year, only A&M Consolidated and Huntsville made the playoffs. Montgomery is dropping from Class 6A and was typically competitive in 5A.
The Panthers laid the foundation for the football program and could see their numbers double in the near future. Gotte said there are currently more than 80 players at all levels, but roughly 90 freshmen are expected to join the program next year.
Paetow finished 4-4-1 at the sophomore level, winning its debut 28-7 against Tompkins on Sept. 13. The freshman team finished 3-5-1.
Gotte said the team savored every win and was pleased with the overall improvement.
“We did ok,” Gotte said. “The kids learned a lot, coaches learned a lot. We’re getting better. The best part about it is I feel like the kids bought into what we’re doing. They believe in our program and they’re doing their best every day. That’s kind of what we focus on, winning the day.”
KISD ADJUSTS TO SPLIT CLASSIFICATIONS
Realignment produced an all-Katy ISD district for the first time in nine years, with Strake Jesuit going to 23-6A, leaving Katy, Cinco Ranch, Mayde Creek, Morton Ranch, Seven Lakes, Katy Taylor and Tompkins in 19-6A.
That doesn’t mean athletic director Debbie Decker’s job is any easier.
New high school Paetow begins varsity competition in Class 5A next fall – and that’s 10-5A, Division II for football, 19-5A for volleyball, and different opponents in each sport – giving Katy ISD schools in two UIL classifications for the first time since Seven Lakes was in 4A (current 5A) in 2007.
“Scheduling those seven (6As) will be pretty simple, but then when you throw Paetow in the mix, we’re going to Montgomery, Huntsville, College Station, and some of those places, so the trickiness comes back into play, depending on how the draw goes over there (in 5A),” Decker said.
“But I feel pretty fortunate. Some people are dealing with two different regions.”
That’s where Cy-Fair ISD finds itself, with its 11 Class 6A high schools splitting between Regions II and III.
Katy’s situation more closely resembles Humble ISD’s multi-regional alignment from the 2012-13 to 2015-16 school years, when its 6A schools competed in Region II and its 5As were in Region III.
“It’s different, because you have different playoff routes, and it takes a little bit more organization and planning,” Humble ISD AD Troy Kite said. “Each area of the state does things a little bit differently. That’s the biggest adjustment I had to learn, and once you learn it, they’re great people.”
Freelance writer Jason McDaniel contributed to this report.