By Lou Roesch
February’s UIL realignment changes means former District 19-5A power Houston Stratford will move up to 6A along with fellow district foe Houston Spring Woods. Together they will now do battle on the gridiron with the likes of Klein Oak and Klein Collins in the newly aligned District 15-6A.
The alignment brings Huntsville and Willis from District 18-5A to the newly revamped District 20-5A as replacements for Stratford and Spring Woods.
The shakeup means the new District 20-5A may well prove to be one of the most interesting venues come the 2016 edition of Texas high School Football. Someone who made the playoffs from the old District 19-5A and 18-5A will not be playing football late into December.
Magnolia coming off its best season in as long as anyone can remember looks to be the prohibitive favorite in the newly formed District 20-5A. Under second-year head coach Sterling Doty, the Bulldogs enjoyed their first winning season in seven years as co-champions of District 19-5A. In 2016, defenses will have to find a way to contain running back Anthony Johnson and dual-threat quarterback Jacob Frazier if they want to topple the Bulldogs from the top spot.
With more than 30 district championships to their name, Brenham is one of those teams who has the history, the tradition and the program needed to reclaim the top spot. A perennial force in 4A football for years, the Cubs finished second in their first year in 19-5A before falling on tough times a season ago. Now with this UIL alignment and Stratford gone to 6A, Brenham is looking to take advantage of their opportunity. The Cubs struggled through their first losing season in more than a decade although their district record in 2015 was good enough to get them to the playoffs where they bowed out in the bi-district round.
For Magnolia West, 2016 will usher in a new era for the Mustangs with former head coach Shawn Bell off to Cedar Ridge and former Temple head coach J.D. Berna sliding in to take over the rising program.
Under Bell’s reign, Magnolia west never suffered a losing season. In 2015, the Mustangs went 7-4 overall and 5-2 in district play.
After these three, it could be a dogfight between the remaining teams in District 20-5A for the final playoff spot. Huntsville and Willis newcomers to the original group of six from District 19-5A (now 20-5A) The two battled it out on the gridiron last season to see which team would claim a playoff berth in 2015 and which would go home and wait for 2016. Willis eliminated the Huntsville Hornets on that final Friday night, 38-17, to claim the berth and this season look to make it two in a row.
Could this be the season that the Tomball Cougars return to winning and claim a district playoff spot something that has eluded them since 2012 or will it be the Tomball Memorial Wildcats who have been just on the outside looking in the last couple of season that make their way into a UIL football bracket come the second week of November.
The Waller Bulldogs are the dark horse of District 20-5A. If they play like the Bulldogs of 2014 when they went 8-4 overall and 4-3 in district, one of the big boys could find themselves in trouble come late October.