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2018–2020 UIL Athletics Realignment Offers New Challenges, Same Tough Competition

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

On Thursday, Feb. 1, coaches and athletic directors from across the Metroplex waited expectantly at the Birdville ISD Athletic Complex for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to reveal the new high school athletics reclassification and district realignment lists for 2018–2020.

The coaches came with projections and prospective pairings for non-district games that could work under different realignment scenarios, and when the results appeared on the display boards, the room buzzed with heightened urgency, as coaches and athletic directors worked with their non-district counterparts to pencil in unclaimed dates on their schedules.

McKinney High School’s Quincy Noble (11) fights for a point against Byron Nelson during a Neutral Playoff Game on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at The Colony High School.
(Photo by Timothy Flores /

District 9-6A (Football and Basketball): Allen, Dallas Jesuit*, McKinney, McKinney Boyd, Plano, Plano East, Plano West, Prosper (*not included in the 9-6A volleyball district)

What the board revealed for District 9-6A didn’t hold a great deal of surprise for McKinney ISD Athletic Director Shawn Pratt; although the inclusion of both Jesuit and Prosper in that group was an interesting twist.

“In 6A, it’s basically what we expected,” said Pratt. “The Jesuit thing threw us for a little bit of a loop, but we get it. We kind of thought that Guyer would be out and Prosper would be in, but it ended up being Guyer and Wylie out and Prosper and Jesuit in. But, it’s a pretty familiar district, similar to what we’ve had in the past—and obviously we’re familiar with Prosper. They are a team that has been very successful in 5A and are moving up a classification. Jesuit was in the playoffs for a while in their previous district, so you’re adding those two teams to an already very tough, competitive district.”

For McKinney North High School, on the 5A side of things, the realignment revealed a seven-team grouping for District 7-5A—rather than the more typical eight-team district—that spurred Pratt and North Head Football Coach Mike Fecci into action to hunt down an extra non-district game for the 2018 season.

District 7-5A (Football): McKinney North, Mesquite Poteet, Sherman, Texarkana Texas, Tyler, West Mesquite, Wylie East

Also new for the 2018–2020 realignment, was a 5A divisional split for football that placed larger schools—such as North—in Division I and smaller schools in Division II.

Lucas running with the football

Lamar Lucas (24) of the McKinney North Bulldogs scores a touchdown against the Lake Dallas Falcons during the game on October 13, 2017 at Falcon Stadium. (Photo by Jerome Miron/

But, perhaps the most dramatic news (although not entirely unexpected) was the inclusion of Texarkana ISD’s Texas High and Tyler ISD’s John Tyler High School—which, when combined, account for approximately 550 miles of round trip travel. In fact, Texarkana is so far removed from the Metroplex that charting a route on Google Maps reveals an air travel option.

“I think when you look at that district,” said Pratt, “it’s obviously very, very competitive. There is not a weak link in the district. Texas High has always been good. John Tyler has been very strong as of late, and West Mesquite and Mesquite Poteet are playoff teams every year. Wylie East has been in the playoffs, and Sherman is coming back toward being the old Sherman again.”

As far as the travel to Texarkana and Tyler is concerned, Pratt is taking it in stride. “We knew that might happen. The travel is going to be rough,” he said, “but we’re working on some things to try to be creative with our sub-varsity teams and make it easier on the coaches and players.”

McKinney Boyd High School’s Courtney Walters (3) goes up for the ball during a match against Bishop Lynch High School on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 at McKinney Boyd High School. (Photo by Kevin Bartram/

As to how schools over here got lumped in with schools way over there…

“If you look at East Texas there are not that many schools [of that size], and they’ve got to go somewhere,” Pratt explained. “Texarkana’s got to go somewhere. The closest place is the Metroplex, so if you’re on the eastern third of the Metroplex, you always have that possibility of going there—and we did.”

Pratt pointed out that while schools in this part of the state are unaccustomed to that kind of travel, it’s fairly common elsewhere. West Texas high schools face this every year. “During my sophomore year in Abilene, we were climbing on a bus every week and going three and a half hours on a Friday night to go play somebody. I mean, it’s just the way it is out there, so while we think it’s a huge deal here, this is something they live with all the time in West Texas.”

Teams that will not have to concern themselves with major travel plans for district games are the basketball and volleyball teams from North, who have a separate district alignment that omits schools from the far reaches of East Texas.

District 10-5A (Basketball and Volleyball): Denison, Lucas Lovejoy, McKinney North, Princeton, Sherman, Wylie East

One thing that can be counted upon over the next two years is that the teams from Boyd, MHS and North will show up ready to play—regardless of how far they travel to get there. And, they will account for three of the reasons that these new district alignments will be, once again, very competitive.

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