On Tuesday morning, the Universal Interscholastic League (UIL) announced the conference cutoff numbers and preliminary enrollment figures for the 2020-2022 reclassification and realignment.
With the new numbers released, Gonzales will now be playing football in Class 4A Division II while Shiner, who were close to moving up to Class 3A, will remain in Class 2A Division I.
Since the introduction of divisions in football, the Gonzales Apaches have found themselves right in between both Class 4A Division I and 4A Division II, bouncing around as either one of the smallest schools in Division I or one of the largest schools in Division II every realignment.
“Take football teams aside, you’d always rather be the biggest of the level rather than the lowest,” Gonzales athletic director Mike Waldie said. “That’s always advantageous versus being 200-300 kids under.”
Some projections had the cutoff number for 4ADII somewhere between 830-834, meaning Gonzales may have been either the biggest football school in their division or the smallest. However, with the cutoff set at 864, the Apaches now find themselves as one of the biggest.
“Geographically it puts us in the middle of a firestorm,” Waldie said. “You can argue we’d be in a tougher district. Navarro, Wimberley, you throw in Cuero. You can argue that the district is going to be tougher.”
How this may affect scheduling is, now that the Apaches are down to 4ADII, Waldie and his coaching staff are calling up old district opponents, whether it’s Boerne, La Vernia, Beeville or Pleasanton, and seeing if they would be willing to play non-district games.
“We were playing La Grange, we were playing Wimberley, those are games that are in big time jeopardy,” Waldie noted, since in theory, they can be realigned as district opponents.
For Apache fans, Cuero remains in 4ADII, potentially moving the rivalry game back to district.
District realignments won’t be announced until February, but with this information, the UIL has given football coaches some more time to figure out a plan for their non-district schedule. The Apaches can see themselves playing some high-level Class 3A Division I opponents around the area, whereas that may not have been an option when Gonzales was listed as 4ADI.
“It’ll be a tougher schedule, no matter how it works,” Waldie added.
Over in Shiner, the Comanches posted a high enough number to potentially moved up to Class 3A. Fortunately, the cutoff was set at 230. Shiner has an enrollment number of 223, staying in 2A as one of the largest schools in the class.
There were no surprises for the Nixon-Smiley Mustangs, the Waelder Wildcats and the Luling Eagles. The Mustangs were expected to remain in Class 3ADII with their 297 enrollment number while the Eagles remain in Class 3ADI with their 390 enrollment number. Both teams are near the middle of the pack in their respective football divisions.
Meanwhile, Waelder stays in Class 1A with their 80.5 enrollment number. The Wildcats currently do not have a football program.