The UIL split up longtime district rivals Cuero and Gonzales in football in the 2024-26 Football, Volleyball and Basketball Reclassification and Realignment, announced Thursday, Feb. 1.
Meanwhile, Nixon-Smiley will see the return of a familiar foe in Stockdale in its district in 3A-II in all three sports while also gaining Cotulla and Young Men’s Leadership Academy as district football opponents.
It was thought that both Cuero and Gonzales would be joining District 15 in Region 4 due to a number of schools in 4A-II that dropped in classification to 3A-I, creating a vacuum the UIL needed to address by shifting teams from Region 3.
However, while Cuero did indeed move into District 15-4A-II with Ingleside, Robstown, Rockport-Fulton and Sinton, the Apaches found themselves and Smithville moved into District 13-4A-II with Geronimo Navarro, Jarrell, Lago Vista, Salado and Wimberley to create a seven-team district.
The move threatens a rivalry that began in 1916 and has been played 85 times overall, including the last 26 years in a row. The two teams did not play each other in 1996 or 1997. They played before that for 32 consecutive seasons from 1954 through 1995. Cuero has a 47-37-1 overall lead in the series, with Gonzales’ last win coming in 2019 in a 21-20 classic.
If Gonzales advances to the playoffs in football, they will play a team from District 14, which includes Bandera, Carrizo Springs, Devine, Pearsall and San Antonio Memorial. Cuero would play a team from District 16, which includes Kingsville King, La Feria, Port Isabel and Rio Grande City Grulla.
Former Apache district foes Giddings, Caldwell and La Grange are now playing Bellville, Madisonville and Sealy in District 11-4A-II.
In Class 3A-II, Nixon-Smiley said goodbye to Comfort and South San Antonio West in their district, but will again be playing their nemesis in Stockdale, which moved back up from 2A-I. The teams last played in 2021, when the Brahmas beat the Bulldogs, 31-12.
Nixon and Smiley consolidated in 1983 and the combined school has only played Stockdale three times since in football, losing all three, but the Nixon Bobcats played Stockdale 58 times between 1914 and 1982, with Stockdale holding a 28-25-5 advantage.
The full District 15-3A-II also includes holdovers Dilley, Karnes City, Natalia and Poth in addition to newcomers Cotulla and San Antonio YMLA. If Nixon-Smiley advances to the playoffs in football, they will face District 16-3A-II, which includes Banquete, George West, Hebbronville, Monte Alto, Odem, Santa Rosa and Taft.
Gonzales’ road to the playoffs in volleyball got a little easier as they were placed in District 28-4A with Cuero, La Vernia, San Antonio Kennedy and San Antonio Memorial. The math is simple: sweep one team in district (most likely Kennedy or Memorial) and you’re automatically in as at least a fourth-place team. Sweep two and you’re at least in third place, even with powerhouses Cuero and La Vernia in the mix.
In bi-district, Gonzales would then play a team from District 27-4A like Carrizo Springs, Devine, Floresville, Pearsall, Pleasanton, Somerset or Uvalde.
Nixon-Smiley finds itself in District 26-3A with Goliad, Karnes City, Luling, Poth and Stockdale, while former foes Marion, SA Great Hearts Monte Vista, SA Great Hearts Northern Oaks, YMLA, SA Cole and Universal City Randolph are in District 27-3A. A playoff berth for the Lady Mustangs would find them playing a team from District 25-3A, like Altair Rice, Columbus, Edna, El Maton Tidehaven, Hallettsville, Palacios,Vanderbilt Industrial or Yoakum.
Waelder is in a four-team District 28-A with Fayetteville, Prairie Lea and Round Top-Carmine. The top three schools advance to the playoffs. If Waelder is one, they would play a team from District 27-A, which includes Buckholts, Calvert, Dime Box and North Zulch.
Gonzales’ boys and girls teams will have familiar foes in Cuero, La Vernia, San Antonio Kennedy and San Antonio Memorial in District 28-4A, with the boys also picking up SA Harmony Science. Playoffs would mean facing a team from District 27-4A, which are Carrizo Springs, Devine, Floresville, Pearsall, Pleasanton, Somerset and Uvalde.
For Nixon-Smiley, their basketball district will be the same as volleyball: District 26-3A with Goliad, Karnes City, Luling, Poth and Stockdale. Winning a playoff berth also means a game against a District 25-3A school: Altair Rice, Columbus, Edna, El Maton Tidehaven, Hallettsville, Palacios,Vanderbilt Industrial or Yoakum.
Waelder will be in a stacked District 30-A in basketball, facing Austwell-Tivoli, Matagorda, Moulton, Nordheim, Prairie Lea and Runge. Winning a payoff berth means facing a District 29-A team like Buckholts, Calvert, Dime Box, Fayetteville, North Zulch, Richards or Round Top-Carmine.