UIL stuns Texas Panhandle coaches on realignment day

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Texas Panhandle head football coaches found their new 2024-2026 districts during UIL realignment on Thursday at Happy State Bank Stadium in Canyon. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
Just when it looks like things are all figured out, the University Scholastic League can come in with a heavy weight punch and leave you on the floor.

That’s what happened to a majority of the Texas Panhandle football coaches during the 2024-2026 UIL realignment meeting at Happy State Bank Stadium in Canyon on Thursday morning.

Some coaches opening their packets right at 9 a.m. got a district like they expected. For others, it was a knockout blow they didn’t see coming.

Let’s start with the obvious from the Amarillo-area big schools. After October’s snapshot day and UIL releasing the new cutoff numbers in December there wasn’t expected to be a lot of shake up in Class 5A and there wasn’t.

Amarillo High, Tascosa, and Caprock will stay together in 2-5A Division with Abilene High, Lubbock Coronado, Lubbock Monterey with Lubbock High making the jump from Division II replacing Lubbock-Cooper.

West Plains head football coach, Adam Cummings, right, and the Wolves will be in District 2-4A Division for 2024-2026. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
In Class 4A Division I, a very competitive district got much tougher. As expected, West Plains made the move to D-I with Canyon ISD rivals Canyon and Randall along with Dumas, Hereford and Pampa to make up a very solid six-team 2-4A Division I.

“It’s an exciting time,” West Plains head football Adam Cummings said. “This is a very competitive district and one of the best in the state of Texas. We’re happy to be a part of it and we just hope that we can uphold the tradition that these previous five teams have laid down.”

River Road head football coach Bryan Welps and Bushland head football coach Josh Reynolds, right, chat during UIL realignment day. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
Now for what we didn’t expect, and it starts in Class 3A.

In Division I, Bushland, Dalhart, River Road and Shallowater can start printing 2024 playoff T-shirts. That’s right. The UIL didn’t move those four teams south with Brownfield nor east to Vernon. Instead, they kept all four together to make up 1-3A Division I.

“I was shocked,” Bushland head coach Josh Reynolds said. “You never know what’s going to happen. We had heard a four-team district or a five or six. Now we’re trying to fill a schedule and the end of the day we still need to go compete.”

In Class 3A Division II, Muleshoe went south instead of coming north with Canadian, Childress, Dimmitt, Friona and Tulia. The Mules will now join 2-3A Division II to meet up with Idalou, Littlefield, Lubbock Roosevelt and Slaton making it two five-team districts.

“It sure wasn’t what we expected,” Muleshoe head coach Jason Richards said. “That’s why I was here in Canyon. I thought we may go north. We now get to restore some old rivalries with Idalou, Littlefield and Slaton. We used to play those teams a lot in district battles. I think the UIL did a good job and got it right though in the end. We just have to go to work and see what happens.”

Head football coach Greg Proffitt and the Wellington Skyrockets are now in Region II after Thursday’s UIL realignment day. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
Class 2A is where things get a bit haywire, especially in Division II. In Division I, the obvious happened in 1-2A with last year’s Division II state semifinalist Sunray moving in with Spearman, which moved from Class 3A to match up with Highland Park, Panhandle, Sanford-Fritch and West Texas High.

However, the looming questions were in Division II with Boys Ranch and Booker both dropping into Six-man or formally known as Class 1A. The UIL really made a mess in the Texas Panhandle mixing Division II schools into Region I and Region II.

In Region I, Bovina, Farwell, Gruver, Stratford, and Vega, are now 1-2A Division II. However, though the district stayed the same of Clarendon, Memphis, Quanah, Wellington, Wheeler and Shamrock, those six schools got pushed east to Region II.

“I thought it was a possibility because we did this four years ago,” Wellington head coach Greg Proffitt said. “But I didn’t see teams from Odessa staying in Region I in District 4. We’re just an hour and half from Amarillo but I guess it is what it is. We’ll just make the most of it. We’re just focused on going to play.”

Head football coach Louis Kelley III and the Boys Ranch Roughriders make the jump into Six-man for the 2024 season. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
In Class 1A, some new blood has been added as Boys Ranch has decided to start playing Six-Man football and will join Booker, which made that decision last year, along with Claude, White Deer and Wildorado to form District 1-1A Division 1.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Boys Ranch head coach Louis Kelley III said. “We have a great group of players and we’re excited about it. I think it’s the start of a new era for Boys Ranch.”

Hart will jump up from Division II to join District 2-1A Division I with Happy, Springlake-Earth, Kress and Nazareth.

The curveball in Region I was the far west teams being thrown in while Silverton and Valley were moved to Region II with Lorenzo, Petersburg and Spur to form District 5-1A.

In Division II, Miami and Follett drop down from Division I to help form District 1-1A with Darrouzett, Groom and Lefors. The surprise was that McLean, which is also moving down, was moved south with Patton Springs, Motley County, Paducah and Hedley to form District 2-1A.

Texas Panhandle football districts for 2024-2026

District 2-5A 
Division I 

Abilene High
Amarillo High
Caprock
Tascosa
Lubbock High
Lubbock Coronado
Lubbock Monterey

District 2-5A 
Division II

Abilene Cooper
Abilene Wylie
Palo Duro
Lubbock-Cooper
Plainview
Wichita Falls Legacy
Wichita Falls Memorial

District 2-4A 
Division I

Canyon
Randall
West Plains
Dumas
Hereford
Pampa

District 2-4A 
Division II

Borger
Levelland
Lubbock-Cooper Liberty
Lubbock Estacado
Perryton

District 1-3A 
Division I 

Bushland
Dalhart
River Road
Shallowater

District 1-3A 
Division II 

Canadian
Childress
Dimmitt
Friona
Tulia

District 2-3A 
Division II 

Idalou
Littlefield
Lubbock Roosevelt
Muleshoe
Slaton

District 1-2A
Division I

Highland Park
Panhandle
Sanford-Fritch
Spearman
Sunray
West Texas High

District 1-2A 
Division II

Bovina
Farwell
Gruver
Stratford
Vega

District 5-2A 
Division II

Clarendon
Memphis
Quanah
Wellington
Wheeler
Shamrock

District 1-1A
Division I

Booker
Boys Ranch
Claude
White Deer
Wildorado

District 2-1A 
Division I

Happy
Hart
Kress
Nazareth
Springlake-Earth

District 5-1A 
Division I

Lorenzo
Petersburg
Silverton
Spur
Valley

District 1-1A 
Division II

Darrouzett
Follett
Groom
Lefors
Miami

District 2-1A
Division II

Afton Patton Springs
Hedley
Matador Motley County
McLean
Paducah

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