EDINBURG — On Thursday, the University Interscholastic League threw a wrench into the reclassification and realignment for the next two years.
District 32-6A was one of the leagues thrown off guard by dwindling down from an eight-team district to a six-team conference.
“I thought we would have a seven-team district,” said Harlingen coach Manny Gomez. “But you never know, the UIL can be unpredictable and can never really set anything in stone. But whatever comes in our direction, we’re going to embrace it.”
For the next two years, District 32-6A district will house Harlingen, Harlingen South, Brownsville Rivera, Brownsville Hanna, Los Fresnos and San Benito. Both Weslaco and Weslaco East were sent back to District 31-6A where they spent the 2014-16 seasons.
The Cards will open their non-district schedule against Sharyland Pioneer followed by Laredo United South, a home game against Converse Judson, Weslaco East and Midland High.
“We were not expecting a six-team district, so finding a Week Five game was tough,” Gomez said. “We started hearing from schools in Amarillo and El Paso, but we were able to jump on Midland and lock them up.”
San Benito, which is the defending 32-6A champion, will open the regular season will a unique matchup against Calallen, which is no stranger to Valley squads. The Hounds’ non-district schedule will also include matchups against Victoria West, PSJA High, Laredo United and Midland Lee.
“It was a little surprising that we’re now a six-team district, but it is something we need to get ready for,” said San Benito coach Dan Gomez.
San Benito, like most teams in the district, struggled to find two extra games. A majority of the region holds seven to eight teams in their leagues and didn’t allow teams to free up the non-district schedule.
“We had to go out of the region to find some games. We waited to see what was posted on the board and, fortunately for us, we were able to schedule some solid teams and it will prepare us for district.” Gomez said.
Harlingen South will open its 2018 season with a matchup against Edinburg High and will also see PSJA North, McAllen High, Weslaco and Odessa High in the final week of non-league play.
“This isn’t what we expected, it was definitely a curveball for sure,” said Hawks coach Brian Ricci. “It had us running around looking for games. No doubt this was one of the more difficult realignments I’ve experienced, but it’s something we will have to deal with. Basically everything stayed the same. We thought we would see Donna North or a Mission (team) come to our district to make a seven-team district, but for the most part this is the nucleus of our district. It was shocking to see a six-team district.”
NOTE: The Battle of the Arroyo between Harlingen and San Benito is set for Week Seven while the Bird Bowl between Harlingen and Harlingen South will be played Week 10.
District 16-4A DII BECOMES A four-team league: District 16-4A Division II took an unusual turn as it saw their six-team league shrink to a four.
West Oso and Orange Grove are now gone, leaving just Progreso, Port Isabel, Raymondville and Rio Hondo.
With this configuration, all four teams are guaranteed a spot in the football playoffs.
Rio Hondo opens its season against La Joya Juarez-Lincoln and will have matchups against Zapata, Brownsville St. Joe, Grulla, Hidalgo and La Feria.