By BUTCH BURNEY
The new UIL district alignment for Sulphur Springs High School looks a lot like the old alignment — with one big difference.
Sulphur Springs was grouped into District 16-5A for school years 2016-2018 with familiar foes Greenville, Hallsville, Pine Tree, Mount Pleasant, Marshall and Texas High. The only difference between the current district and the future one is that Longview High School was moved up to Class 6A.
The new reclassification assignments were released by the University Interscholastic League Monday morning.
The district will be the same for all UIL academic events and athletics (excluding soccer, which will be announced in about month) for the next two scholastic years.
For the Wildcats, the district is close to the same East Texas district they have been in since the 2008 regrouping (with the two-year exception of 2010-2012).
“It’s OK,” said Greg Owens, SSHS head football coach and athletic director. “One good side is, we all know each other, so there’s a familiarity there that is comfortable.
“Change is always good, and the change here is that Longview is gone. They were always kind of the big dog waiting there, so we may see a little more parity in the district,” he said.
One change in the realignment is the opponent in the first round of the playoffs. The last two years, it’s been another East Texas group. However, the next two years, it will be a Metroplex district that includes Highland Park, Forney, Lucas Lovejoy, Mesquite Poteet, North Forney, Royse City, West Mesquite and Wylie East.
Sulphur Springs remains one of the smallest schools in Class 5A with an enrollment of 1,177. According to enrollment figures provided by the UIL, SSHS is the 10th smallest school in Class 5A. The floor for 5A is 1,100 and the ceiling is 2,149.
The other schools in District 16-5A have enrollments of: Texas High 1,914, Mount Pleasant 1,472, Marshall 1,447, Hallsville 1,444, Pine Tree 1,327 and Greenville 1,257.
Owens knew Sulphur Springs would remain in Class 5A, but thought the numbers might dictate that the Wildcats would be in a district with more than seven teams.
“I really felt like we would stay with some of these same schools, but we thought we might be in an eight- or nine-team district simply because of the numbers,” Owens said. “It’s all the same. Four teams make the playoffs, like always.”
Owens spent Monday morning tentatively setting a non-district football schedule. It appears the schedule will include Sherman in Week 1, then a trip to Orlando, Fla. for an as-yet unnamed opponent, Paris in Week 3 and Whitehouse to conclude the non-district portion of the schedule.
The Wildcats’ bye week in football will be Week 8, followed by the final three games of the season.
Dallas Highland Park
District 7-4A, Div. 1
Paris North Lamar
District 6-4A, Div. II
District 7-3A, Div. I Football
District 6-3A, Div. II
Sadler S & S Cons.
District 7-3A, Div. II
Diana New Diana
District 8-3A, Div. II
District 13-3A Basketball
Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill
District 9-2A Div. II
District 14-2A Basketball
District 23-A, Div. II
District 24-A, Div. II
Gilmer Union Hill