The Lufkin Panthers avoided any major reshuffling, including a possible move down to 4A, when the University Interscholastic League released its latest realignment on Thursday morning.
The Panthers remained in District 14-5A with mostly Houston-area schools, as only minor reshuffling changed its district.
The Panthers will stay in the same district with Conroe, Oak Ridge, The Woodlands and College Park, while also adding Bryan and A&M Consolidated. Kingwood and Atascocita, which have each been in the district the past two seasons, moved to District 13-5A with Klein Collins, Klein Forest, Klein, Klein Oak, Spring Dekaney, Spring and Westfield.
Last season, Bryan was a 4-6 team, while A&M Consolidated finished the year at 5-6 and lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs, 54-10, to DeSoto.
Lufkin avoided a move to 4A, which was a possibility when it turned in an enrollment number that was close to the cutoff point in 2010. Lufkin will compete as one of the smallest 5A schools as its enrollment of 2,127 students was 37 students above the cutoff line for 4A.
Lufkin's non-district schedule will be similar to last season.
The Panthers will scrimmage Beaumont West Brook on Aug. 24 at a location still to be decided. Lufkin will then open the season on Aug. 31 when it travels to face John Tyler. The Panthers' home opener will be on Sept. 7 when they host Tyler Lee. Lufkin follows that with a Sept. 14 date at Nacogdoches. The Panthers will wrap up the non-district portion of their schedule with a Sept. 21 game against Longview. It is still to be determined if that game will be in Lufkin or Longview.
The district portion of Lufkin's schedule is still to be determined, although the Panthers will face each of the teams in the district with one bye week during the 14-5A slate.
In other area realignment news Wednesday, the local district that features the area 3A teams also remained relatively unchanged as Center, Diboll, Huntington, Hudson, Central and Jasper stayed in the same district, which changed from 18-3A to 20-3A. The lone change in the district was the addition of Carthage after Kirbyville moved down to 2A.
The district featuring Corrigan-Camden and Groveton also just had minor changes, as it will now compete in District 12-2A Division II along with Deweyville, Hemphill, New Waverly and Anderson-Shiro. The lone change to the district came as San Augustine dropped to 1A, being replaced by Anderson-Shiro.
Pineywoods Community Academy, Lufkin's only charter school, will compete in UIL varsity competition for the first time as it will be in 23-A along with Zavalla, Broaddus, Brookeland, West Sabine and San Augustine.
"We're looking forward to the challenge," Pineywoods Community Academy director Bruce Marchand said. "We realize it puts us in a tough district, but we'll be up for the challenge. We're excited about the opportunity."
Pineywoods Community Academy will compete in the varsity and JV levels in boys and girls basketball, cross country and track. Marchand said the school was also developing a tennis and golf program, but the emphasis this year will be on basketball, cross country and track.
In six-man football, Apple Springs will compete in District 16 along with Chester, High Island and Oakwood.
Josh Havard's email address is email@example.com.