HARLINGEN — The Weslaco East Wildcats and Weslaco High Panthers football coaches felt the winds of change after the release of the UIL district reclassification of schools were announced Monday morning.
Each are set to make new, and face old, rivalries as they exit District 31-6A.
The changes move the Wildcats down to District 16-5A DI, and the Panthers move into District 32-6A.
The Wildcats enter a 10-team district with Brownsville Lopez, Brownsville Pace, Brownsville Porter, Brownsville Veterans, Donna High, La Joya Palmview, McAllen High, McAllen Memorial and McAllen Rowe.
And the Panthers enter an eight-team district alongside Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera, Donna North, Harlingen High, Harlingen South, Los Fresnos and San Benito.
One thing that won’t change for the Wesalco teams’ game schedule is their annual hometown Tinaco Bowl, only this time the game will be at the start of the season instead of near the end.
“I think the town of Weslaco wanted myself and Coach Stroman to keep it,” Weslaco East football head coach and athletic coordinator Mike Burget said. “We listened to the people who really wanted the game, and it’s good for the town. Now it’s not a district game and we can go in there relaxed and play and let kids have fun and get ready for the district.”
“We’re excited, but we know we have to get busy because we have nine district games and that is a lot,” Burget said. “It’s going to be very competitive with the McAllens, Donna, Palmview and Brownsville.”
After Week 1, the Panthers will take on the Mission High Eagles and will face Laredo Nixon in Week 3 heading into district after a bye week.
“We kind of figured we were going to move to 32-6A,” Weslaco High head coach and athletic coordinator Roy Stroman said. “(District) 32-6A used to be called the SEC of the 6A. They have some great football teams and we have our work cut out for us this year. You have the two Harlingens, Los Fresnos and San Benito, and you have Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera and Donna North.”
Weslaco East is not the only team worried about getting their team ready for a nine-game district schedule.
McAllen Memorial football head coach and athletic coordinator Bill Littleton was feeling the pinch in Harlingen after the announcement the Mustangs were moved from a seven-team district to 10 teams in the newly formed District 16-5A.
“In my 44 years of coaching I have never been in a 10-team district,” Littleton said. “We will learn to adjust to it and go forward. The thing about it is it’s all here in the Valley and there is not a whole lot of travel to it and we’re excited about that.
“We’re going to get right to work. You have to get your kids ready, get prepared and your spring is going to be very important, and summer strength and conditioning is going to be more important because the kids have to come in shape ready to go because district is right around the corner once you get there. We were excited to stay here in the Valley with 10 teams. You have to take it where you land and don’t worry about it. You can’t change this, so go forward, get ready to play and get ready to go.”
Staying in District 31-6A were the Edinburg schools. Moving in are La Joya High, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, Mission High, PSJA High and PSJA North from District 30-6A now filled with five Laredo schools, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.
Edinburg Economedes football head coach Gabe Peña sat in the center of a classroom Monday with coaches from District 31-6A with newly added PSJA High football head coach Lupe Rodriguez and Mission High head coach Koy Detmer, their staff and the rest of the nine-team district of coaches as they worked together to iron out their district football schedule.
“Our new district is very competitive,” Peña said.
Reyes agreed stepping into District 31-6A is going to be competitive for all the teams.
“We expected to be back with the Edinburg schools and adding Mission High adds extra excitement,” Reyes said about his alma mater. “It’s always great being around all the coaches around the Valley. It’s like a coaching fraternity.”