It is a scene that is typical of the floor of the stock exchange. Coaches numbering in the dozens walking around with papers in hand negotiating non-district opponents just minutes after learning changes undergone by the University Interscholastic League (UIL).
The UIL realignment takes place every two years in which the class, division, district and region of all 1,228 public schools in Texas is determined by enrollment numbers. The larger the enrollment number, the higher class a school is put in as is the case with divisions. Districts are based off geography with there being 16 districts in each division.
The Sealy Tigers’ football team remained in the 4A-Division 1 class but moved from District 12 to District 13. The district itself remained largely the same with Bay City, El Campo, Needville , West Columbia and Sealy returning. Stafford was removed from the district and was replaced by Fulshear Lamar, which will be playing its first season of varsity football in the fall. The district was also moved to Region Four which determines the playoff brackets.
The volleyball and basketball teams remained in District 25 with the district returning Needville, Royal and Stafford and Bellville and Columbus being replaced by Wharton and Lamar Fulshear.
Athletic Director Shane Mobley traveled to Houston last week to one of the many hubs of coaches around Texas to view the results of the realignment, which they don’t see until the morning of announcement. He said he avoided partaking in the mad rush to find non-district opponents thanks to prior planning.
“It’s nerve-wracking because everybody has an idea of what they want to do and there are a lot of factors in play because for us, there aren’t a lot of schools our size in our area and I would like to find the opportunity to travel,” Mobley said. “A lot of coaches in the area were preparing for a five-team district which means we have to find six non-district opponents so I had a couple of games lined up before we saw the results.”
The football team’s farthest non-district opponent is Navasota which is approximately an hour away from Sealy. Mobley said they were anticipating being in the same district so scheduling that game as a non-district one wasn’t difficult.
“All along we thought they were going to be in the same district as us and you think that for all these months so luckily we did a good job of communicating so week two was taken care of, just like that,” Mobley said. “We agreed with Wharton to do week one so a lot of this was planned before Christmas.”
Mobley said he was happy with the switch to Region Four as it keeps Sealy closer to home when the playoffs arrive. One of the bigger impacts of the switch will be the potential matchup against Liberty Hill High School, who reached quarterfinals last year.
“I’m not saying this region is any easier by any stretch and with the four different districts in our region, you have some awesome places for playoff football like San Antonio, Austin and Victoria,” Mobley said.
He also said one of the focuses of scheduling non-district games is playing teams that run similar schemes to schools they may see in the playoffs. He also said he prepared for every possibility of the realignment.
“I sent coaches to Victoria and San Antonio because you never know where you’re going to end up and we might have had to schedule some games out there so we had to be ready for that,” Mobley said. “I was at Houston and it was a mad house but for me, it was more of talking about home or away and being around all those other coaches helps build relationships so I helped out some other schools that were there.”
The Sealy News will be doing several stories on the realignment and how it affects Sealy athletics along with analysis of the Tigers’ announcement of the 2018 football schedule so check The Sealy News website and Facebook page for updates.