The season is set

UIL announces district realignment


Photo by Allyson Smith

Story by Caden Rainwater, sports editor

As the regular season for the Tigers’ football team came to a close, it was questionable whether or not spirits would be high going into the off-season. However, when the Tigers walked off the field at Tiger stadium for their last time of 2019, they had pressed further than any Texas High football team had achieved in the past decade. 

Due to the success, many fans and coaches soon turned their eyes to how well the Tigers would play in future seasons, post-realignment. This success came at the hands of a heavy junior and sophomore class. 25 out of the 15 starters will be returning to the football team, most notably, the junior that led the team to the second round of playoffs as quarterback, Rian Cellers. 

“We feel good going into the season; we have a lot of pieces coming back. We have got to get healthy and stay healthy throughout the season,” head coach Gerry Stanford said. “We have to continue to get faster and stronger throughout the off-season and just focus on this summer before we go into a highly competitive district.”

As UIL has used realignment for years to avoid teams from overpowering their district for years at a time. This change was no surprise to the coaching staff of the Tigers. Realignment not only offers a partially lower level district for the team, but also relights a burning rivalry with teams such as Whitehouse and Marshall.

“We’re going to be renewing some old rivalries with Whitehouse, Pine Tree, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Hallsville,” Stanford said. “Those will be some very familiar rivalries that we’re very excited to be a part of.”

A very exciting part of the season for many students and players is the non-district games, the most anticipated one being the ”Battle of the Axe” between the Tigers and cross-town rivals Arkansas High Razorbacks. Not only did realignment move around teams in district, but it also moved new teams into the pre-district season.

“We will still be playing Arkansas High week two, and week one we’ll be playing John Tyler, a really good opponent for us,” Stanford said. “And then week three we’ve got a new opponent in Forney, just east of Dallas.”

With the new season set in stone, the coaches have begun to make their playbooks. The players wait anxiously for Tiger stadium at Grim Park to fill with parents and students as their chance to run out onto the field and stare down an eager opponent steadily grows nearer.

“We’re excited to go to work, you know really August is just right around the corner,” Stanford said. “There’s a lot of work to get done, but come August, the boys will be ready to take care of the work before them.”