Cutoff numbers for classifications released Wednesday

The University Interscholastic League on Wednesday released its cutoff numbers in terms of classification levels for high school football for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, and major changes will be coming for Brown County's 11-man programs.

The Brownwood Lions have faced Abilene Wylie, Stephenville, Big Spring and Snyder for four consecutive seasons in District 3-4A Division I action, but only three of those squads will be Class 4A Division I programs going forward.

Brownwood will remain in Class 4A Division I with an enrollment of 958, as the cutoff is between 790 and 1,149 students. Gone, however, will be Abilene Wylie (1,164) as it will move up to Class 5A Division II while Snyder (726) will slip down to Class 4A Division II, leaving the Lions, Stephenville and Big Spring as the only remaining Class 4A Division I teams from District 3.

Assured of a drastically different district, schools Brownwood could potentially see in league play, or the playoffs, include Seminole (793), Fort Worth Benbrook (832), Sanger (844), Argyle (854), Gatesville (859), La Vega (865), Lake Worth (869), Mineral Wells (900), Burkburnett (914), Midlothian Heritage (914), Burnet (921), Wichita Falls Hirschi (922), Springtown (981), Lampasas (1,008), Decatur (1,054), San Angelo Lake View (1,064), Stephenville (1,079), Big Spring (1,093), Andrews (1,099), Alvarado (1,110), Liberty Hill (1,122), Canyon (1,128), Dallas Carter (1,139).

“The numbers that were predicted were pretty close to what they turned out to be,” said Lions head coach Kyle Maxfield. “I don't think it's a huge surprise that Wylie's going up or Snyder's going down. We felt that was coming but you don't believe it until you see it.”

As for potential new district rivals, Maxfield said, “ It's anybody's guess and I'm sure there's going to be some predictions between now and then. Lake View is coming and down and maybe add a team from the east in there with us. There's some teams up in the Panhandle that changed out, there's s many different scenarios that you just don't know.”

Though Wylie will be off the schedule, the Lions and Bulldogs will continue their football rivalry in non-district action. Maxfield also said Brownwood and Stephenville will attempt to keep “The Battle of 377” alive whether the teams are in the same district or not.

In Class 3A, Early's district will also experience significant changes with Brady (327), Comanche (321), Merkel (314) all dropping down to Class 3A Division II. The cutoff numbers for Class 3A Division I are 335 to 504 students.

Based on enrollment numbers, a potential six-team district for Early (370) could include Jim Ned (346), Wall (360), Eastland (361) — moving up from Class 3A Division II — Clyde (404) and Breckenridge (415).

Other Class 3A Division I teams that could factor into Early's schedule, be it district, non-district or the postseason, include Grandview (369), Maypearl (374), Littlefield (375), Muleshoe (378),

Boyd (401), Brock (403), Troy (429), McGregor (420), Shallowater (444), Whitney (457) and Bowie (495).

“I've thought of all different scenarios, it's just a wait and see until Feb. 1, and we can only control what we're in charge of, which is our kids,” said Early head coach Blake Sandford. “At the end of the day what matters is what do at 7:30 p.m. on any given Friday night. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, I want to see our kids competing and getting after it regardless of the color jersey we're going against. Week in and week out the competition is always going to be tough. Right now we're trying to get our athletes bigger, fast, stronger and more competitive day in and day out. It's a long process and we're starting that now with our athletes to get them in the proper frame of mind to compete at a high level.”

Bangs will remain in Class 3A Division II with an enrollment of 326, as schools with 225 to 334 students will compete in the classification.

The Dragons' district will likely also be considerably revamped due to the number of schools near Bangs that are dropping to Division II. Possible district foes for the Dragons could include the aforementioned Brady (327), Comanche (321) and Merkel (314) along with current league foes Dublin (323), Cisco (248), Coleman (241) and Tolar (238). Other possibilities on the schedule could include Grape Creek (310), Ballinger (259), Colorado City (254), Coahoma (251), Sonora (249), Anson (227) and Reagan County (227).

In the six-man ranks, the cutoff number between Class A Division I and Class A Division II is 55.5 students. Therefore, Blanket (54) will be dropping down to Class A Division II and will join local schools Panther Creek (54), Richland Springs (46), Rising Star (45), Brookesmith (38), Sidney (38), Mullin (29).

“It's going to be good for us,” said Blanket head coach Brent Williamson. “Going down to Division II will level the playing field out for us. Competing in a district with Zephyr, Jonesboro and even Evant this year was tough on us with us using the same kids week in and week out while they were able to have different kids come in. We didn't have the luxury of that.”

As for who Williamson expects the Tigers to be paired within in their new district, he said, “I hope they keep us close. You have Sidney right there, Mullin, Gustine, Rising Star, but with the UIL there's no telling. You're always on the edge of your seat trying to figure out where the UIL is going to stick you. Sometimes it's the common sense move and they put you where you should be, but sometimes they pull out the wild card and send you somewhere you didn't think you'd go.”

Class A Division I schools, with enrollments up to 105 students, will consist of local squads Santa Anna (64), Zephyr (67), and May (90).

In all other sports, cutoff numbers for Class 4A are 505 to 1,149 students, while Class 3A is 225 to 504 students.