BANGS — The road trips may be longer, but the results should be more fruitful for the Bangs Dragons, who learned their 2020-21, 2021-22 district football opponents Monday morning when the UIL released its biennial realignment.

The Dragons, coming off their first playoff appearance since 2014, will be housed in District 2-3A Division II along with Ballinger, Brady, Sonora, Grape Creek, and Ingram Tom Moore.

“It was surprising in some ways with some of the teams they put in there. At the same time, you're never fully surprised by anything that happens on realignment day,” said Bangs head coach Kyle Maxfield. “It's going to be a very competitive district. We're familiar with most of the teams in the district. The one I'm unfamiliar with is Ingram Tom Moore. That one comes as a big surprise because of the distance.”

For the past two seasons Bangs resided in District 4 along with Cisco and Coleman — who dropped to Class 2A — as well as Ballinger, Grape Creek, Anson, Merkel, and San Angelo TLCA.

“The odd thing for us is going from an eight-team district back to a six-team, but that's a plus in some ways,” Maxfield said regarding needing to likely defeat just two league foes to reach the playoffs. “I feel like two years when we got put into an eight-team district it was a good district for us to try and get things going and play to the level Bangs is used to. This district is going to be competitive and I feel like our kids are ready for the challenge and I'm confident we can compete.”

Ballinger (9-3), Bangs (6-5), Brady (5-6) and Sonora (4-7) each made the playoffs last year, while Ingram Tom Moore (3-7) and Grape Creek (1-9) missed out.

“The preseason favorite is probably going to be Ballinger because they have a lot coming back, and Brady and Sonora are always competitive,” Maxfield said. “It's kind of unique because two of the head coaches in our new district have worked for me in the past, so I know there's a lot of great guys trying to beat each other. It makes it fun to be in a district like that.”

Prior to district, Bangs will tangle with Early, Florence, Winters, Hamilton and Hawley, Maxfield said.

In sports other than football, Bangs will compete in District 8-3A, located in Region I, along with Brock, Comanche, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Millsap and Peaster.