Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 3, 2014

UIL Realignment: Powers Lufkin, Ennis to join JHS in 16-5A

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Politely stated, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) did not do the Jacksonville Indians any favors regarding bi-annual realignment, which was announced Monday morning.

Joining Jacksonville and the five current members (Corsicana, Lindale, Nacogdoches, John Tyler and Whitehouse) of District 16-4A will be state powers Lufkin and Ennis.

The eight schools will comprise District 16-5A, which will be in Region II.

Lufkin is dropping down a classification due to a decline in enrollment, while Ennis, who finished 14-1 last year, is considered as a perennial football stalwart.

Knowledgable observeers were not surprised by the addition of Lufkin, but the inclusion of Ennis was a shocking twist, which the UIL is famous for providing from time to time.

Having been associated with Jacksonville Fightin' Indian football for the past 32 years, local businessman Matt Montgomery summed up Jacksonville's new district home for the next two school terms in the following manner.

"Never has Jacksonville been in a tougher district," Montgomery said. "WIth two (John Tyler and Lufkin) former Class 5A powerhouses in the district along with Ennis, who has only had two bad seasons in the last 15 years,joining Whitehouse and Nacogdoches...it has never been this difficult, even in the so-called old days, for Jacksonville."

Montgomery also reaffirmed his belief from the perspective of enrollment.

"I hope Jacksonville fans will understand that we have never been this low down in enrollment," Montgomery said. "Usually our enrollment number is in the middle of the district, but now Jacksonville and Lindale will be the two schools in 16-5A with the smallest enrollment figures."

Jacksonville at 1,210 is far, far behind John Tyler and Lufkin, who both have just over 2,000 students each.

The UIL dealt both Rusk and Bullard geographic blows on Monday.

The Eagles were slotted in Class 4A, Region II, District 7, which includes Fairfield, Groesbeck and Mexia out of Rusk's old home, District 19-3A. New members include Lorena and Waco Connally, both of which will add to the school district's travel expense.

Nearly an identical pictured was painted for the Bullard Panthers as well.

Bullard will now call Class 4A, Region II, District 5-II home. Other members of the circuit are Gilmer, Canton, Emory-Rains, Melissa and Nevada-Community.

Melissa is just north of McKinney, and Nevada is located southwest of Greenville.

Troup was designated into Class 3A, Region II and will be in a mega conference (District 8-II), which will contain a total of eight schools.

Along with the Tigers will be Arp, New Diana, Elysian Fields, Frankston, West Rusk, Waskom and Winona.

The Alto Yellowjackets were partnered with a bevy of new conference rival.

Alto will be playing in Class 2A, Region III, District 11-I.

Other schools assigned to the loop include, Cayuga, Grapeland, Kerens, Malakoff Cross Roads and Price Carlisle.

New Summerfield, which does not field a football team, will join Alto, Cushing, Neches, Overton and Price Carlisle in Class 2A, Region III, District 21 for basketball.

All of the realignment doings will be in effect for the 2014-14 and 2015-16 school terms for all of the respective schools.