Every year a big debate statewide is “what is the state’s toughest district?” Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Texas High School Insider Matt Stepp attempts to tackle that question below just a few days after UIL Realignment.
Toughest District: District 11-6A
There’s little question 11-6A meets all the criteria of a true “District of Doom” in Class 6A and it’s not just a top-heavy district that features the back-to-back 6A state champions in Duncanville (Division I) and DeSoto (Division II), (although that certainly helps). This district has plenty of depth starting with Cedar Hill who lost to rival DeSoto in the regional finals, you add in a solid Waxahachie team (area playoffs), Lancaster who was a 5A-Division I regional finalist a year ago and always talented squads from Mesquite Horn and Dallas Skyline, this group is a total meat-grinder.
Honorable Mention: District 23-6A, District 19-6A, District 4-6A
Class 5A-Division I
Toughest District: District 13-5A D1
There’s lots of competition top to bottom in this San Antonio area district and it starts at the top with 5A-Division I runner-up Smithson Valley, but the Rangers won’t have it easy in this deep district with perennial 6A playoff contender New Braunfels dropping down to 5A-Division I. Boerne Champion and San Antonio Wagner were both strong playoff teams a year ago, Victoria East who made the area playoffs with a young team joins this district along with San Antonio Pieper who was a 5A-Division II regional finalist in 2023.
Honorable Mention: District 7-5A D1, District 3-5A D1
Class 5A-Division II
Toughest District: District 3-5A D2
This was a tough call as Region I got a whole lot tougher with the 18 teams from 3-5A D2 and 4-5A D2 being added to the mix, I went with 3-5A D2 as being slightly tougher because of the depth of playoff teams in this district. 4-5A D2 may be more top heavy with Anna, Melissa, Lovejoy and Frisco Emerson but it drops off pretty quickly after that. 3-5A D2 features Argyle, Colleyville Hertiage, Mansfield Summit, Mansfield Timberview, Everman and Grapevine along with The Colony dropping down from Division I, even Arlington Seguin a year ago proved to be quite dangerous in spurts.
Honorable Mention: District 4-5A D2, District 8-5A D2
Class 4A-Division I
Toughest District: District 9-4A D1
Once again East Texas is the home of the best district in 4A-Division I as powerhouses Tyler Chapel Hill and Kilgore expect to be among the state’s top teams, but the depth in this district is quality as shown by Lindale who actually beat Chapel Hill in the regular season. Chapel Hill, the district’s third place team a year ago wound up playing for a state title in 2023. Don’t sleep on always talented Palestine, a Henderson team who has a program on the upswing and 5A playoff team Longview Pine Tree making the drop in to 4A-Division I.
Honorable Mention: District 7-4A D1, District 15-4A D1
Class 4A-Division II
Toughest District: District 12-4A D2
There’s no question the new power district in 4A-Division II has moved to the Waco area after realignment, the previous two seasons always talented Waco Connally has had the run of the are at the Division II level. The dynamic has changed now with 2021 and 2022 state champion China Spring dropping back to Division II after a two-year stint in Division I, perennial powerhouse Waco La Vega drops down to the Division II and moving up from 3A-Division I is 2021 state champion Lorena. Don’t forget about an always solid Gatesville squad that’s fresh off a trip to the area playoffs a year ago, this district is an absolute meat-grinder.
Honorable Mention: District 7-4A D2, District 15-4A D2
Class 3A-Division I
Toughest District: District 3-3A D1
The Big Country features the state’s toughest district in 3A-Division I as perennial area power Jim Ned headlines this group along with Clyde who is fresh off their best season in quite some time as they posted an 11-2 record in 2023. Comanche makes the move up from 3A-Division II after a third-round playoff appearance a year ago, while Sweetwater is added to the mix after making the area playoffs as a 4A school. Even San Angelo TLC who will likely be predicted to finish at the bottom of the district made the playoffs a year ago.
Honorable Mention: District 11-3A D1, District 12-3A D1
Class 3A-Division II
Toughest District: District 14-3A D2
Down in the Crossroads region of the state, the toughest district in the state features plenty of power at the top of the district along with good depth in the middle. Last year’s 3A-Division II runner-up Tidehaven is the headliner and will set the pace in this group, Vanderbilt Industrial who made the regional semifinals as a 3A-Division I school is added to this group along with perennial power East Bernard who was an area round playoff team. The middle to bottom part of the district is filled with teams who are more than competitive in Boling, Van Vleck, Wallis Brazos and Rice Consolidated.
Honorable Mention: District 13-3A D2, District 10-3A D2
Class 2A-Division I
Toughest District: District 11-2A D1
Defending state champion Timpson headlines this group and the Bears despite losing one of the best 2A players of all-time and their head coach have some strong talent returning. Garrison, who was a regional finalist a year ago posted a 12-2 mark, both losses coming to Timpson and the Bulldogs will be primed to make amends in 2024. Hemphill was a 3A-Division II playoff team a year ago and they move into the district where they’ll join Shelbyville as returning teams who were knocked off in the bi-district playoffs and keep an eye on San Augustine who expects to be one of the state’s most improved teams in 2024.
Honorable Mention: District 2-2A D1, District 4-2A D1
Class 2A-Division II
Toughest District: District 10-2A D2
For the past few years 10-2A Division II has been 100% dominated by Mart and even through Wortham has made improvements over the past three years, they haven’t been able to push Mart at all. Enter Mart’s state semifinal opponent Chilton into the district after the Pirates won the Region IV crown a year ago, Bremond also enters the fray after a regional semifinal appearance where they were a one-point loss away from a rematch with Chilton.
Honorable Mention: District 13-2A D2, District 1-2A D2
This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.