Saturday, March 2, 2024

UIL REALIGNMENT The Granbury Pirates and Lady Pirates will once again be in Class 5A

Pirates, Indians to see new faces; Rattlers moving up to 3A

Posted

The Granbury Pirates and Lady Pirates will once again be in Class 5A and will be paired with some new league opponents following the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment released Thursday, Feb. 1.

In football, the Pirates will be in District 3-5A Division I, and will have a completely new list of district mates. They will be joined by two-time defending state champion Aledo and perennial power Denton Ryan, along with 2023 fellow playoff qualifiers Richland and Denton, with Azle, Brewer, Keller Fossil Ridge and Birdville rounding out the league.

“Realignment is always an exciting time. There are many teams I am familiar with, coming from Northwest and being with them the last couple of years,” new Pirates football coach Bobby Allison said.

“Every realignment brings its own challenges, and this one is no different. A lot of great teams and a district you better come ready to play every week. We are excited about it and already off to a great start in the offseason.”

Along with Aledo, which has a dozen state championships in its history, the most in Texas history, Ryan has several state championships as well. Richland advanced to the third round of the playoffs last season with a 12-1 record.

The Pirates lose rival Cleburne from their league

Allison announced the Pirates will scrimmage Saginaw before the start of the coming season. Their two predistrict contests will be against Waco High and Waco University.

In other sports, Granbury will again be in 5-5A, competing against returning foes Aledo, Azle, Saginaw and Brewer. Joining them will be Chisholm Trail and Fossil Ridge.

“The main thing for us is the travel will be much less for our programs in both districts we are involved in. Being in a nine-team district in football actually helps in having to find only two non-district games. The competition will be tough but, in this part  of Texas it always is,” Athletic Director Dwight Butler said. “ Our volleyball/basketball district is more like a traditional six-team district, and the travel will be much less, but again, as in this part of Texas, is extremely competitive.

“I feel we have great coaches and extremely hard-working athletes that will compete at a high level.”

All of the new alignments begin play in the fall of the 2024-25 season and are in place for two years. Other sports alignments will be announced at a later date.

TOLAR

The Rattlers and Lady Rattlers are moving back up to Class 3A. In football, the Rattlers will share 3-5A Division II with Brady, Clifton, Dublin, Early and Eastland.

The district will feature five playoff teams, headlined by the Rattlers, who are coming off a 14-2 season in which they finished as state runner-up in 2A Division I. Early reached the second round of the playoffs and one of their regular-season losses was 48-14 to Tolar. Also, Brady, Clifton and Eastland advanced to the playoffs.

The Rattlers, who were previously in Class 3A, reached the playoffs three times during four years in that classification (2016-19). Also, they have consistently played higher-level teams in predistrict.

In basketball and volleyball, Tolar will be in the same league as Breckenridge, Comanche, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Millsap and Peaster. Comanche and Eastland are both girls basketball powers and Peaster is a perennial state contender in volleyball.

LIPAN

The Indians and Lady Indians are still in Class 2A. In basketball, they will remain in District 11 with returning league mates DeLeon, Hico, Poolville and Santo, along with newcomers Graford and Hamilton.

“We assumed we would gain Graford. Hamiliton was a little of a surprise,” Lady Indians basketball coach Amber Branson said. “We lost Tolar, who is always a tough opponent, but feel like we gained two very competitive ones in their place. It will be an adjustment, as always, but welcome the change and challenges it brings.” 

Both the Indians and Lady Indians are defending 2A state champions. Graford, which is moving up from Class A is a two-time defending state champion among the boys and is No. 1 this season.

“Us and Graford have a lot of history over the years, especially back from when we used to be 1A,” Indians coach Brent Gaylor said. “It should be fun battling it out with them twice a year now in district.”