Since the dust has settled around the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) biennial realignment, the remaining questions were no longer who the district opponents will be but instead when those contests will be played.
Sealy’s enrollment dropped the Tigers down to Class 4A’s Division 2 but reignited the county rivalry with Bellville, drawing back to two realignments ago when the Battle of Mill Creek played out within district.
Bellville and Royal are the only representatives staying from last year’s District 12-4A-D2 while the top-three finishers from District 11 will be filling the rest of the holes along with Sealy.
Sweeny finished last season undefeated in district play (5-0) with La Marque (4-1) and Wharton (3-2) not far behind. Although Tiger head football coach/athletic director Shane Mobley doesn’t know much about the varsity squads from those towns, there will be some athletes who have familiarity.
“One thing about the league we’re in for the middle schoolers, these kids have been playing La Marque and Sweeny and Wharton so they kind of know each other,” Mobley said in an interview when the districts were first announced at the beginning of February. “Even though it’s going to be different, it will take some of them back to their junior high days.”
There will be some knowledge in the non-district games at the start of the season with some former district foes, however.
“You’ve got different teams, we’re going to play preseason games against a couple of teams we’ve been in district with like Bay City, Brazosport and Stafford,” Mobley said. “(Stafford) hadn’t been with us for the last two years but they were when we first got here. You’ll see some familiarities in some things and in other things it’s going to be completely different so it’s going to be fun to start different traditions.”
One thing that will be different this year is the lack of a bye week for the Austin County Fair.
In the seven-team district Sealy had resided in, each team had a different open week but now with only six teams calling District 12 home, all of the teams will be off on Oct. 2 to break up the non-district and district portions of the season.
Once district play is in full swing, all of those games will be moved to a 7 p.m. kickoff as opposed to the 7:30 p.m. start time that had been the norm. The earlier kickoffs will allow fans and the away team to get on the road sooner which is just one of the positives.