Long way to the top
For true high school football fans across Texas, realignment is a lot of fun for a variety of reasons. It gives us an entirely new set of districts and classifications to analyze, matchups to breakdown, and playoff brackets to project.
And, of course, it rekindles one of high school football’s longest-running arguments: what’s the toughest district in the state?
It’s all relative, obviously: there’s no actual right answer to what the toughest district in the state is…but that won’t stop me from taking a run at the question.
What follows are my picks for – as of Feb. 8 – the toughest district in each classification across Texas. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter; I’ll publish a few of the best responses in a blog post tomorrow.
Onward! And remember: these are my personal picks for the toughest districts, and not those of DCTF.
Class 5A: District 13-5A
The combination of the Spring and Klein school districts always tends to produce a quality product, perhaps never so much as last season, when Spring Dekaney ran all the way to the 5A Division II state title while teams like Klein Forest, Klein Oak and Spring Westfield each made their presences felt in their own ways. The district will have a new flair with the addition of a pair of Humble teams – Atascocita and Kingwood – but it should be a dogfight for all four playoff spots.
Apologies to: District 2-5A, District 7-5A District 17-5A, District 25-5A.
Class 4A: District 16-4A
Let’s move out east for this one, where one of the districts that spans the most mileage also figures to be one of the most difficult. Corsicana drew duty to play out east, and they’ll form a powerful triumvirate at the top of this district along with John Tyler and Whitehouse. Then when you consider up-and-coming teams like Nacogdoches and Lindale, it’s hard to know where to start with this one.
Apologies to: District 1-4A, District 10-4A, District 13-4A, District 23-4A
Class 3A: District 16-3A
Someone in our UIL Reailgnment chat back on Feb. 2 started calling District 16-3A – known last year as the District of Doom – as the “District of Boom.” And, well, it’s hard to argue with them. The notoriously difficult East Texas district loses Carthage…and gains defending 3A Division I state champion Tyler Chapel Hill! And that’s not to mention 4A dropdown Kilgore. Between those two, Henderson, Gilmer and a rising Gladewater program, the District of Boom is here to stay.
Apologies to: District 4-3A, District 7-3A, District 17-3A, District 30-3A
Class 2A: District 13-2A DI
One of the rare eight-team 2A districts, this one’s got as much quality depth as you will find across Class 2A. From always potent Lago Vista to 2011 upstart McGregor, from the athleticism at Cameron Yoe to playoff teams Little River Academy and Marlin, this is the kind of district where being a preseason favorite seems more of a kiss of death than a blessing. Everyone can beat everyone in this one.
Apologies to: District 1-2A DI, District 8-2A DI, District 9-2A DII, District 14-2A DII
District 12-1A DII
True, there are only four teams in this Centex district…but each one of them is dangerous. Chilton was a regional semifinalist. Bremond was an area finalist. Lovelady was a state quarterfinalist. And Normangee reached the area round after winning its district last season. What more do you want from a difficult district?
Apologies to: District 1-1A DI, District 15-1A DI, District 5-1A DII, District 14-1A DII
Six-Man: District 5-6M DI
I mentioned this in my post on Tuesday, but this district really is loaded from top to bottom. Marfa’s an 11-man dropdown, and while there’s always a transition period, it’s always better to be moving down a classification than up. But I did make a typo in Tuesday’s post: it’s Garden City, a perennial state title contender, that fills out the district with Fort Davis and Rankin, not Richland Springs. Not that it makes it any easier.
Apologies to: District 7-6M DI, District 13-6M DI, District 2-6M DII, District 13-6M DII
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.