Big fish in a little pond, or little fish in a big pond? Most schools would gladly choose the former.
But it wasn’t their choice Monday for Texas schools, as University Interscholastic League alignments for the next two school years came out to mixed results for Muleshoe, Farwell and Bovina.
For the Class 2A Mules, it’s little fish-big pond. When the 2010 Muleshoe football squad starts practicing in August, it will be part of Region 1’s eight-team District 1. Only two of those schools will make the playoffs.
Previously, the Mules were in a six-team district, and three teams made the playoffs. It was a tough enough district anyway, Muleshoe football coach and athletic director David Wood said, with three district members reaching the state semifinals in the last four years.
“Everyone’s got to be on their top game, week in, week out,” Wood said. “Before, there was a little leeway. You could mess up a game or two and still get in the playoffs. Now, you’ve got to play nearly flawless.”
Additionally, the Mules go into the season as a member of Class 2A’s Division I, better known as the “large school” division. Previously, Wood said, teams weren’t designated large or small until the playoffs.
There were two positives, Wood said. First, Shallowater moved up to Class 3A and Friona, a natural rival due to proximity, is a district opponent again.
In basketball, Wood said, the district got tougher with Idalou, Abernathy, Littlefield and Friona. Also, Slaton is always strong in girls basketball.
School officials with Farwell and Bovina are happy with the UIL changes. Both are in Division II (small school) of Class 1A football.
“It’s always better to be at the low end on the cutoff than the high end,” Farwell football coach/athletic director Shane Perkins said. “We’re on the low end, which is a plus.”
Farwell and Bovina are district foes in both football (Region 1, District 3) and basketball (Region 1, District 5). When the football season rolls around, the Steers and Mustangs will battle for two playoffs spots against Springlake-Earth, Nazarth and Sudan.
Bovina athletic director Dale Fullerton said he heard all sorts of rumors, and was afraid the Mustangs would be put in a district filled with Amarillo-area schools.
“I think we’re in a better boat than we were last season, espcially for travel,” Fullerton said. “We were going to Vega, Boys Ranch, up in there. Now we’ve got Sudan, which isn’t that far.”
The Steers and Mustangs are considered Division I schools in basketball.
Schools have 10 days to appeal the realignment.
How the UIL ruling affects area schools:
Muleshoe — In football, the Mules are in Region 1, District 1 with Amarillo River Road, Bushland, Childress, Friona, Littlefield, Lubbock Roosevelt and Slaton. In basketball, the Mules are in Region 1, District 2 with Abernathy, Dimmitt, Floydada, Friona, Idalou, Littlefield and Tulia.
Bovina/Farwell — In football, both are in Region 1, District 3 with Springlake-Earth, Nazareth and Sudan. In basketball, both are in Region 1, District 5 with Springlake-Earth, Olton and Sudan.