UIL realignment shakes up RGV sports landscape

at Harlingen ISD Aquatics Center on Monday, Feb.03, 2020. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor dlopez@themonitor.com

HARLINGEN — Athletic coordinators, athletic directors and coaches from across the Rio Grande Valley gathered Monday morning at the Harlingen C.I.S.D. Aquatic Center as the University Interscholastic League revealed its 2020-2022 reclassification and realignment.

The UIL holds reclassification and realignment every two years as schools learn where their athletics and extracurricular programs will be competing for the upcoming seasons based on enrollment. It’s an opportunity for coaches to lock up non-district schedules and determine home/away games against their new district opponents.

Major changes for RGV programs in this year’s realignment hit McAllen High, McAllen Memorial, McAllen Rowe and Weslaco East, as all four schools dropped down from Class 6A to 5A. Progreso is also on the move as the Red Ants go from 4A to 3A.

“There’s good teams everywhere and we have some good opponents and we know that. We have to be ready, work hard and the kids have to be ready. Whether you’re 4A, 3A, 2A or 1A, there’s always going to be good competition,” McAllen Memorial head football coach and athletic coordinator Bill Littleton said.

Released Monday by the UIL were realignments for football, and another for basketball and volleyball for the 2020-2022 seasons.

For Class 6A teams statewide, both football and basketball/volleyball realignments are identical. But for Class 5A and below, the UIL’s realignment differs between football and basketball/volleyball, meaning the teams one school plays in district in football could be different from the teams that same school plays against in basketball and volleyball in district competition.

In addition to the three McAllen ISD high schools and Weslaco East moving down a class from 6A to 5A, one of the biggest changes to the football landscape is the RGV losing a 6A district, going from three in 2018-2020 to two in 2020-2022. Class 6A is the highest classification in Texas.

Last year, Districts 30-6A, 31-6A and 32-6A belonged to 21 Valley teams ranging from as far West as La Joya to as far east as Brownsville Hanna and Brownsville Rivera.

Now, 30-6A belongs to five Laredo schools, Eagles Pass and Del Rio. Meanwhile, District 31-6A is made up of nine teams, including the four Edinburg high schools, La Joya High and La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, PSJA High and PSJA North and Mission High.

District 32-6A featured six Cameron County schools the previous two years, but now, Weslaco High and Donna North will join Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera, Harlingen High, Harlingen South, Los Fresnos and San Benito.

This change will result in the first round playoff winners from District 31-6A and 32-6A to face teams from north San Antonio in the second round.

But despite losing a 6A district, the RGV is set to gain one at the 5A level in basketball and volleyball with Districts 30-5A, 31-5A and 32-5A.

Along with Laredo Cigarroa and Laredo Martin, La Joya Palmview, Mission Veterans, Rio Grande City and Roma comprise the rest of the six-team District 30-5A.

District 31-5A is stacked from top to bottom with McAllen High, McAllen Memorial, McAllen Rowe, PSJA Memorial, PSJA Southwest, Sharyland High, Sharyland Pioneer and Valley View.

And District 32-5A rounds it out with Brownsville Lopez, Brownsville Pace, Brownsville Porter, Brownsville Veterans, Donna High, Edcouch-Elsa, Mercedes and Weslaco East.

“All our other sports are going to have a great opportunity to step up and see if they can make a run for the playoffs,” Weslaco East head football coach and athletic coordinator Mike Burget said. “I think it’s a great thing.”

Football-wise, however, the RGV will have two 5A districts in Division I and Division II and have one Valley team forced to travel long distance for its games in another separate district.

For the second consecutive year, District 16-5A DI is made up of 10 RGV teams, meaning they’ll have one non-district games before jumping in the fire of league play.

District 16-5A DI is now the football home to McAllen High, McAllen Memorial, McAllen Rowe and Weslaco East for the next two years, as they’ll be competing against Brownsville’s four 5A schools, Donna High and La Joya Palmview.

“I think varsity football here in the Valley has gotten better year to year,” Rowe head coach and athletic coordinator Bobby Flores said. “This year is going to be no different. Now we have 10 teams, so each week is going to be a different challenge, we’re going to have to see different offenses and defenses and prepare.”

As for District 16-5A DII, it will be a nine-team district loaded with rivalries throughout with Edcouch-Elsa, Mercedes, Mission Veterans, PSJA Memorial, PSJA Southwest, Sharyland High, Sharyland Pioneer and Valley View.

Rio Grande City will be racking up mileage over the next two school years RGV football team.

After being in the 10-team district of 16-5A DI last season against strictly Valley teams, the Rattlers are set to join District 14-5A DI where they’ll travel to face programs like Eagle Pass Winn, Laredo Cigarroa, Laredo Martin, San Antonio Southside and San Antonio Southwest. Their closest district opponent is now 104 miles away, while their furthest is 238 away from RGC.

Progreso football will also be dropping from 4A to District 16-3A DI with teams like Bishop, Corpus Christi London, Falfurrias, Lyford, San Diego and Santa Gertrudis Academy.

For complete coverage of the UIL’s 2020-2022 reclassification and realignment, visit RGVSports.com.