The University Interscholastic League released the conference and division cutoff numbers for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 UIL realignment on Tuesday morning, and change is coming for three Johnson County schools.
For football, Cleburne and Burleson Centennial will each move up to Class 5A Division I, while Rio Vista will drop overall from Class 3A to Class 2A.
With an enrollment of 1,916 students, Cleburne moves up from Class 5A Division II to Class 5A Division I in football. The UIL’s cutoff numbers in Class 5A for football have Division I from 1,900 to 2,219 while the numbers for Division II are 1,210 to 1,899. So Cleburne jumps up a division and will be one of the smaller Class 5A DI schools in the state for football.
“We try to only worry about things in our control, and this is not really one of them,” Cleburne coach Casey Walraven said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re fixing to be playing in the SEC or anything. We’re a bigger school and that’s where the cutoff numbers happened to fall. At the end of the day, with where our program is, we need to be ready to compete with whoever the UIL puts us against. All in all, [moving up to Division I] is kind of what was anticipated.
“I’m confident in what we can do going up a division. I’m real confident in where the program is at. We’re going to have a great group coming back to lead us in this new district.”
Walraven said if it were up to him, it would be ideal for Cleburne to go west as opposed to east with its new region and district.
“Being realistic, we would prefer to stay west,” Walraven said. “And I think we’ve got a better chance to go west with us going up to Division I. You never really know what the UIL is going to do with districts. I can look at it and see what makes the most sense geographically, but it doesn’t always happen that way. I do think it’s tougher going east, athletically and speed-wise. There are a few more traditionally stronger opponents sitting out east, especially with Longview coming down along with Tyler John Tyler, Lancaster, and the Mansfield schools. You’ve got a lot of proven tough teams out east. West has its fair share, too, but it’s definitely more of what we match up with better.”
Burleson Centennial (1,942) will join Cleburne in moving up to Class 5A DI for football.
“A lot of coaches do a lot of predicting and all this stuff, but I’m more like, ‘We’re going to get who we’re going to get,’” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said. “My No. 1 concern is finding non-district games. We’re going to get who we get in district. There’s nothing I can do about that, so I don’t worry about it. We’re just going to do our best regardless of who and where we play. So I tend not to worry about that.”
The Spartans moving up a division means the crosstown Burleson High vs. Burleson Centennial rivalry won’t be a district showdown like it has been since its inception in 2012. The Elks and Spartans could potentially play in a non-district game, if Burleson ISD and both coaches agree to it.
Additionally, with Burleson (1,700) staying in Class 5A DII, it also puts in danger the War of 174 rivalry between the Yellow Jackets and Elks — again, unless they play in non-district, which is a strong possibility. Joshua (1,573) will remain Class 5A DII along with the Elks for football.
“Location-wise, with us, Everman and Joshua being right here pretty close together, I figure somehow we’ll be tied together, but who knows,” Burleson coach Gary McElroy said. “Best I can tell, right here in this southern DFW area, there’s not a lot of Division II schools around. I could see a couple different things happening.”
The other big change in Johnson County is Rio Vista dropping down from Class 3A to Class 2A with an enrollment number of 219. In football, Rio Vista will be Class 2A Division I, which is 165.5 to 229.
Rio Vista head football coach and athletic director Kasey Black said the move down to Class 2A will put the Eagles on a more level playing field, particularly in volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, cross country and track.
“We’re going to be able to be more competitive in all sports, not just football,” Black said. “It’s better to be the bigger fish in the pond than the smallest one. Our kids are going to be able to compete better. It’ll make us more competitive across the board.
“Right now, we’re having to compete with people twice our size. Grandview, Whitney and West have twice as many kids as we do, but we’ve had to play them in every other sport but football. That’s where I think you’re going to see the biggest change for us.”
While the drop down to Class 2A will certainly benefit sports such as basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball for Rio Vista, it will also help the football program as the Eagles will now be one of the bigger Class 2A Division I programs instead of one of the smallest Class 3A Division II programs.
Alvarado (1,110) stays put in Class 4A DI, Godley (619) and Venus (603) each remain in Class 4A DII, and Grandview (409) will remain in Class 3A DI.
Full realignment results — where schools find their official districts — are scheduled to be announced Feb. 3, 2020.
Johnson County enrollment numbers:
Burleson Centennial 1,942
Rio Vista 219
6A 2,220 and above
1A 104.9 and below
5A-1A Football Division I and II numbers:
5A Division I 1,900-2,219
5A Division II 1,210-1,899
4A Division I 865-1,209
4A Division II 515-864
3A Division I 350-514
3A Division II 230-349
2A Division I 165.5-229
2A Division II 105-165.4
1A Division I 59.5-104.9
1A Division II 59.4 and below