AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - Longtime high school football rivals Lufkin ISD and Nacogdoches ISD are now back in the same district, thanks to the realignment announced by the University Interscholastic League Monday morning.
"You look across the river and you know the enemy is on the other side, but when you are playing for district titles and where you are going to stack up in the playoffs it is different," former Lufkin Basketball Player Hall Henderson said.
The New 5A District 16, which will consist of Corsicana, Ennis, Jacksonville, Lindale, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, John Tyler, and Whitehouse, is in Region II, according to the Associate Press. The realignment also created 6A districts for the much-larger school districts.
The new district is similar to the old district of rivals Lufkin, Nacogdoches, John Tyler, Tyler Lee, Marshall and Longview. When Nacogdoches and Marshall moved down to 4A in the early 2000s, Lufkin, John Tyler, Tyler Lee and Longview remained in a four-team district for two years before they splintered into other districts. However, Lufkin continued to play Nacogdoches, John Tyler, Tyler Lee and Longview in non-district play.
"We had some of those rivalries that we looked forward to playing every year so it was exciting to be part of that district," Henderson said.
Last year Nacogdoche beat Lufkin for the first time on 21 years.
"It really didn't mean anything except for the rivalry we had between each other," Nacogdoches Defensive Coordinator Clarence mcMichael said. "Now being in the same district it is going to be a little bit different and I think the competition between Lufkin and Nacogdoches is going to be good."
Former Panther football players hope to not repeat last year's results.
"It gives us a chance to redeem ourselves and gives us the chance to get back in that against our rival Nacogdoches that's just right up the road from us," Curtis Murphy said.
"It's a game that we enjoy, our fans enjoy and that we enjoy and we are looking forward to it this year," Lufkin Assistant Coach Alton Dixon said.
District 18 (Region III) level includes Bryan, A&M Consolidated, Conroe Caney Creek, Huntsville, Livingston, Willis, Bryan Rudder, and College Station.
At the Division 2 4A level, two East Texas districts wound up in District 8. That district will include Madisonville, Diboll, Huntington, Cleveland Tarkington, Coldspring-Oakhust, and Shepherd. Rusk ISD is in District 7, along with Lorena, Waco Connally, Fairfield, Groesbeck, and Mexia.
Several East Texas 3A districts found themselves on Region II of Division 2. District 11 will include Crockett, Corrigan-Camden, Garrison, Hemphill, Newton, and Deweyville. Franklin, Hearne, Lexington, Buffalo, Jewett Leon, New Waverly, and Trinity will be in District 12.
At the Division 1, 2A level, the new District 10 will include Cushing, Beckville, Joaquin, Shelbyville, Pineland West Sabine, and San Augustine. District 11 will consist of Cayuga, Kerens, Malakoff Cross Roads, Grapeland, Alto, and Price Carlisle. Centerville, Groveton, Lovelady, Hull-Daisetta, Saratoga West Hardin, and Anderson-Shiro will be in District 12.
Division 2 at the 2A level includes District 11, which will consist of Fruitvale, Maud, Overton, Tenaha, Timpson, and Mount Enterprise. Colmesneil, Evadale, Sabine Pass, Iola, Normangee, and Burkeville will be in District 12.
Apple Springs will be in Region IV of Division 1. District 16 will also include Bloomburg, Chester, Laird, and Leverett's Chapel.
Other East Texas school districts were affected by the UIL basketball realignment. At the 4A level, District 20 will include Diboll, Huntington, Jasper, and Hudson. Corrigan-Camden, Garrison, Hemphill, Nacogdoches Central Heights, Newton, Pollok Central, Woden, and Woodville will be in District 22 at the 3A level.
At the 2A level, District 21 will include Alto, Cushing, Neches, New Summerfield, Overton, and Price Carlisle. District 22 will consist of Beckville, Joaquin, Martinsville, Shelbyville, Tenaha, Timpson. Broaddus, Brookeland, Pineland West Sabine, San Augustine, Zavalla, and Lufkin Pineywoods Community Academy will be in District 23. District 24 will include Colmesneil, Hull-Daisetta, Evadale, Dallardsville Big Sandy, Sabine Pass, Saratoga West Hardin, and Port Arthur Hope.
At the 1A level, District 28 will include Apple Springs, Chireno, Douglass, Gary, Laneville, Mount Enterprise, and Wells. Burkeville, Chester, Goodrich, High Island, Leggett, and Spurger will be in District 29.