In even-numbered years such as this one, high school coaches all over the state look forward to Feb. 1 with a mix of anticipation and trepidation.
On Thursday morning, the UIL will unveil its biennial realignment that will cover the next two school years. Highland Park and every other public school will learn their district opponents in all major sports for the next two years.
Plenty of online prognosticators have weighed in, but there always will be room for surprises. We do know that HP again will be in Class 5A, in which the Scots have won state titles in football, girls soccer, boys swimming, team tennis, and boys golf during the past two years alone.
In football, the UIL is dividing 5A into two divisions this year for the first time. Traditionally, the classification has only been split up for the playoffs, but this year, two-time defending state champion HP will be in a Class 5A Division I district for the whole year. That only applies to football, meaning that district combinations for other sports will likely be different.
The new football rule is meant to create more parity, although it also restricts the number of potential district opponents and might lead to some inconvenient travel situations. We’ll see.
Thursday’s announcement also could lead to the Scots finalizing their 2018 football schedule. Thus far, their tentative nondistrict opponents will include perennial 6A playoff contenders Rockwall and Mesquite Horn, as well as 5A powerhouse Frisco Lone Star.