The University Interscholastic League threw area teams for a loop up and down all classifications on Thursday morning when the biennial realignment for the 2018-20 school years was released.
Sherman and Denison went their separate ways in Class 5A as the UIL split the classification in football for the first time. Sherman got the short end of the stick travel-wise but Denison was placed in a larger district.
Anna, Melissa and Celina were put in the same Class 4A Division I district with perennial powerhouse Argyle.
Class 3A saw Texoma split into different regions in both Division I and Division II. Whitesboro and Pilot Point head to Region I while Bells, Blue Ridge, Leonard and Whitewright are in Region III.
And in Class 2A, area programs saw a better opportunity to get to the playoffs as they were placed in five-team districts.
When it came to the Bearcats and Yellow Jackets, Sherman was placed in District 7-5A (I) with McKinney North, Mesquite Poteet, Texas High, John Tyler, West Mesquite and Wylie East and will have to make some long trips east.
Denison avoided being placed in Region I again — and the travel that goes with it — but the Jackets have a harder road to the playoffs since they are in a nine-team district. Denton Braswell, Frisco, Frisco Lebanon Trail, Frisco Memorial, Frisco Reedy, Lake Dallas, Lovejoy and Princeton will be the team’s opponents in District 7-5A (I).
The 120th version of the Battle of the Ax will be the season-opener for the first time since 1923 and will be a non-district game for the first time in 25 years. The 2018 version will be at Denison.
Denison’s only other non-district game will be against Burleson Centennial. Sherman will take on Fort Worth Brewer, Frisco Liberty and Justin Northwest.
For Sherman and Denison’s other sports, they will head down Highway 75 and be in District 10-5A with Lovejoy, McKinney North, Princeton and Wylie East. It is one of just two six-team districts in the region, which increases their postseason odds.
With the move of Melissa and Celina into Class 4A Division I, the two join Anna in District 7-4A (I), which will include powerhouse Argyle as well as Paris, North Lamar and Sanger.
The drop of Bonham from 4A was the first domino in the big Class 3A shakeup. The UIL broke up the sole Division I district from the past two years by sending Whitesboro and Pilot Point into Region I and will be with Bowie, Boyd, Brock, Paradise and Ponder.
Bonham pulled Pottsboro, Van Alstyne and Howe to the east and into District 5-3A (I) along with Commerce, Lone Oak and Emory Rains.
In Division II, the return of Bells and Blue Ridge to 3A as well as the drop of Callisburg from Division I had long-ranging effects across Highway 82.
To the west, Callisburg, Gunter and S&S will make trips to Henrietta, Holliday, Nocona and Wichita Falls City View in District 5-3A (II).
Bells and Blue Ridge essentially take Gunter and S&S’ spot in what has been District 6-3A (II) — Leonard, Whitewright, Cooper, Paris Chisum and Prairiland. But now the group has been pushed into Region III with the label of 9-3A (II).
For the 3A teams in the other sports, District 9-3A (Callisburg, Gunter, Pilot Point, Ponder, Pottsboro, S&S, Whitesboro) stayed the same while 10-3A holdovers Howe, Leonard, Van Alstyne and Whitewright add Bells, Blue Ridge and Bonham.
The postseason odds for the Class 2A teams increased since they were placed in five-team districts and four teams qualify. District 5-2A (I) is made up of Celeste, Collinsville, Tom Bean, Trenton and Valley View while District 6-2A (I) consists of Rivercrest, Como-Pickton, Honey Grove, Quinlan Boles and Wolfe City.
Tioga moved up from six-man and was placed in a 2A Division II district with Campbell, Cumby, Era and defending state champion Muenster.
The 2A districts for basketball have Collinsville, Sam Rayburn, Lindsay, Tioga Tom Bean and Valley View in District 12 and Celeste, Honey Grove, Bland Trenton and Wolfe City in District 13.
The 2A districts for volleyball have Alvord, Collinsville, Irving Universal, Lindsay Tioga, Valley View, Forestburg and Saint Jo in District 11 and Tom Bean, Trenton, Wolfe City, Dodd City, Roxton and Savoy in District 12.
At the six-man level, Savoy is in District 9-2A (I) with Bryson, Newcastle, Perrin-Whitt and Saint Jo while Fannindel is in District 9-2A (II) with Goldburg and Forestburg.
The 1A district for basketball has Miller Grove, Dodd City, Ector, Fruitvale Fannindel, Roxton, Savoy and Yantis in District 23.