It would be easy for a 3A football coach whose team has just been moved to a five-school district to sit back and lick his chops. After all, in a five-team district, just two wins almost clinches a postseason trip.
However, Robstown High School coach Doug Wood doesn't subscribe to that school of thought. Although his Cotton Pickers are now one of only five schools in 31-3A after the latest University Interscholastic League realignment and reclassification, he expects a battle week-in and week-out.
"A lot of people try to look at it as there only being five teams and three are going to the playoffs, but they way I see it, it's not any different than before," Wood said. "You still have to come out and play every Friday night. It's like I told the kids two years ago when we moved down to 3A - they hit just as hard in 3A as they do in 4A. We still need to be ready; no matter what district we're in."
In this realignment, 31-3A was divided in two. The district now includes West Oso, Lyford, Orange Grove, Raymondville and Robstown.
Aransas Pass, Ingleside, Mathis and Sinton were moved to 30-3A along with Goliad and Rockport-Fulton.
Wood said even with only four district games, the district should remain as competitive as before.
"I think that when you start looking at it and thinking you only have to win a couple of games, you do yourself a huge disservice," Wood said. "When you approach the season that way, I think you lower your expectations, and the next thing (you know) you're out in the cold."
Things are also changing in 31-4A. The Laredo schools are now out and three inner-city Corpus Christi schools are now in.
As expected, Laredo Cigarroa, LBJ and Nixon moved back up to 5A.
Replacing the three in 31-4A are Corpus Christi Miller, Moody and Ray.
The move means less travel for 31-4A's local teams like Calallen and Tuloso-Midway, who sometimes throughout the years were traveling to Laredo twice a week or more.
"It's a blessing in disguise," Calallen High School coach Phil Danaher said. "We picked up three good schools. I'm pleased that we don't have to travel quite as far, and we'll have a much more competitive district with Moody, Miller and Ray. It's going to be a good district."
There was also some speculation that Tuloso-Midway could leave the district and drop to 3A, but their enrollment fell within the 4A enrollment of between 990 and 2,064. South Texas did lose one 4A program to 3A in Rockport-Fulton.
"I didn't think they (T-M) would drop down," Danaher said. "They are not much smaller than we are, so chances were they were probably going to stay."
In Class 2A, where the UIL broke up its 32 football districts into 16 big school and 16 small school districts, Bishop went to a big school district while Banquete is in the same small school district with 2A powerhouse Refugio.
Bishop is now in 16-2A, Div. I with Falfurrias, Odem, San Diego, Santa Rosa and Taft. Banquete is in 16-2A, Div. II with Freer, Hebbronville, Kingsville Academy, Premont, Refugio, Riviera and Skidmore-Tynan.
Aside from football, Banquete and Bishop are in 32-2A for other sports, which now includes Freer, Odem, Refugio, San Diego, Skidmore-Tynan and Taft.
The following are the area's districts after Monday morning's UIL realignment and reclassification:
District 31-4A: Alice, Calallen, Flour Bluff, Tuloso-Midway, Corpus Christi Miller, Corpus Christi Moody, Corpus Christi Ray and Kingsville. District 31-3A: West Oso, Lyford, Orange Grove, Raymondville and Robstown. District 16-2A, Div. I (football only): Bishop, Falfurrias, Odem, San Diego, Santa Rosa, and Taft. District 16-2A, Div. II (football only): Banquete, Freer, Hebbronville, Kingsville Academy, Premont, Refugio, Riviera and Skidmore-Tynan. District 32-2A (other sports): Banquete, Bishop, Freer, Odem, Refugio, San Diego, Skidmore-Tynan and Taft. District 16-A, Div. II (football only): Agua Dulce, Benavides, Bruni, Falls City, Pettus, Runge and Woodsboro. District 32-A (other sports): Agua Dulce, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco, Benavides, La Villa and Santa Maria.