Greenville’s Lions will have to travel east, far east, for road games in their new district during the next two athletic seasons.
The Lions found out on Monday that they’ll be switching from District 13-4A to 15-5A in the new realignment announced by the University Interscholastic League.
The Lions, who missed dropping from 5A to 4A by 11 students, will be leaving all of their 13-4A opponents behind. They’re joining six schools that had been in 14-4A, including Hallsville, Longview Pine Tree, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs and Texas High of Texarkana. Also joining the district is Longview, which had been in 12-5A.
The Lions have been in the district the last two seasons with Royse City, Sherman, Denison, McKinney North, Wylie, Wylie East and Lucas Lovejoy. Their longest road game in that district was barely more than 50 miles.
“The worst thing is the travel,” Lions football coach and athletic director Marvin Sedberry said of District 15-5A. “That’s my biggest concern. The expenses you’ll have. It would have been a little easier with six teams, but with eight teams man, that’s tough to me.”
Greenville has already learned its district schedule for next season in football and will be playing at Hallsville (116 miles), Longview (97.7), Longview Pine Tree (93.4) and Sulphur Springs (32.5).
The following season they’ll have to travel to Marshall (118), Mount Pleasant (69.7) and Texas High (131).
Greenville plans to play North Garland, Royse City and Princeton in non-district football games, according to Sedberry.
Of course, the Greenville High School volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball teams will have to travel to all those 15-5A schools in both of the next two seasons for away games. The Lion and Lady Lion soccer teams are usually in another district.
Not only are the Lions facing a lot of travel but some tough competition. Their seven district opponents in football went a combined 44-34 last season for a .564 winning percentage. Five of the teams made the playoffs, including Longview (11-2), Texas High (9-2), Sulphur Springs (8-4), Hallsville (6-5) and Marshall (3-8). Mount Pleasant went 4-6 and Pine Tree was 3-7.
“I don’t think it’s any tougher than the one we just got out of,” said Sedberry, noting that the 13-4A playoff representatives fared well in playoff games against 14-4A teams.
The new district didn’t catch Sedberry off guard.
“I figured we’d go east,” he said.
Royse City won’t have far to travel in its new District 12-5A that also features Forney, South Garland, Mesquite Poteet, West Mesquite, Terrell, Rockwall-Heath and North Forney.
Denison, Sherman, McKinney North, Wylie, Wylie East and Lucas Lovejoy stayed together in District 10-5A that will also feature McKinney and Prosper.
Quinlan Ford will face some tough competition in District 7-4A of Division I against Princeton, Paris, North Lamar, Pittsburg and Liberty-Eylau.
Community of Nevada and Rains from Emory will be in a tough District 5-4A Division II that also includes Melissa, Canton, Bullard and Gilmer.
Farmersville’s in District 5-3A of Division I with Callisburg, Pilot Point, Pottsboro, Whitesboro and Van Alstyne.
Commerce and Caddo Mills are in District 6-3A Division I with Scurry-Rosser, Dallas Life Oak Cliff, Sunnyvale and Red Oak Life.
“I think nowadays every district is competitive,” said Caddo Mills athletic director Steve Sumrow. “Obviously there are better scenarios than others. I’m fine with what they did with us. I’m kind of ready for a change.”
“I think the district makes sense, geographically,” said Commerce athletic director Scott Wells. “Sunnyvale was kind of in a weird situation before. To get to any school in the district they had to go around D-FW, so I figured they would take Sunnyvale out of our district. I thought we had a 50-50 shot of going with Sunnyvale or staying with the district we were in.”
Caddo Mills and Commerce will be in District 13-3A for basketball along with Farmersville, Leonard, Lone Oak, Tom Bean, Van Alstyne and Whitewright.
Farmersville is in District 5-3A Division I for football and Lone Oak’s in District 6-3A Division II with Alba-Golden, Edgewood, Grand Saline, Cooper and Paris Chisum.
Leonard, which reached the state semifinals this past season, is in District 5-3A Division II for football along with familiar foes Gunter, Howe, S&S Consolidated, Tom Bean and Whitewright.
Boles and Wolfe City are set for District 6-2A Division I football with Honey Grove, Como-Pickton, Rivercrest and Clarksville.
Celeste will leave Boles and Wolfe City behind to be in District 9-2A Division II football along with Cumby, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster and Detroit.
Celeste, Bland and Wolfe City are headed to District 13-2A in basketball to face Bells, Blue Ridge, Honey Grove, Sam Rayburn and Trenton.
Cumby and Boles will be in 14-2A basketball with Como-Pickton, Fruitvale, Martins Mill and North Hopkins.
Fannindel, which went a couple rounds deep in the six-man football playoffs, will play six-man in District 15-A Division I against Trinidad, Karnack, Mount Calm and Oakwood.
Campbell and its young six-man football program will join District 16-A Division I with Bloomburg, Apple Springs, Chester and Leverett’s Chapel.
Campbell and Fannindel will play District 23-A basketball against Miller Grove, Dodd City, Ector, Roxton and Savoy.
Staff writer Caleb Slinkard contributed to this story.