The University Interscholastic League football realignment for Class 2A Division I sent some familiar foes into the Collinsville Pirates’ district.
Collinsville went from a five-team district with the likes of Celeste, Tom Bean, Trenton and Valley View to a six-team district with Alvord, Lindsay, Tioga, Tom Bean and Trenton.
Athletic director and head football coach Garrett Patterson had a good idea of what the changes were going to be and said he thought it would be a very competitive district slate for the Pirates.
“It was kind of expected in a roundabout way,” Patterson said. “Adding in Tioga and losing Valley View made sense. We kind of knew what to expect and nothing crazy happened with the district. In the end, you can only control what you can control. UIL will put you where they want, but I think we’re in a good district and it’s going to be competitive.”
While the Pirates lose Valley View to Class 3A, they pick up local rival Lindsay, which Patterson said would be one of the best teams in the district.
“Lindsay is going to be good because they have so many returning, but there are some good teams and good programs,” Patterson said. “Everybody in our district is pretty competitive across the board. Trenton got much better and Tioga is going to be better. Tom Bean always has really good-looking kids and Alvord always has kids.”
Patterson said the program has ways of familiarizing itself with some of the lesser known teams and by the time the season rolls around, he said the Pirates will be ready.
“We’re pretty familiar with most of them and some of them we have on film because we have common opponents,” Patterson said. “You kind of get an idea with what they’re going to do, but you have a general idea going on. With MaxPreps, you can always find out who they have returning. It’s really no different from playing someone you already know. Everybody has
tendencies, but we’ll pick those up.”
While the opponents have changed, Patterson said the focus will be on his own team.
“It’s really irrelevant, because in the end, you’re trying to put the best quality product you can on the field,” Patterson said. “It doesn’t matter who is out there because if you play bad, the score will be indicative. Going into last year, if you look at our team, we were a young football team. We had a new system offensively and defensively, so you’re going to go through a lot of growing pains. We were our own worst enemy last year and we fixed it and started playing very well at the end of the year.”
The changes won’t affect the Pirates’ travel too much, according to Patterson. What will change is when the Pirates will have their bye week.
Last season, it came in Week 9. This season, the bye will be in Week 6.
“The biggest effect it has is where it sets the bye,” Patterson said. “It’s going to benefit us. We
played eight straight games before our bye week and then we started playing better once we got our bodies rejuvenated. It’s going to be big to have it between non-district and district. It’s a lot better for us.”
The football schedule came together easily for the Pirates thanks to what Patterson said was a lot of legwork before the realignment was announced.
Patterson said he was happy how smoothly it all panned out.
“It’s pretty easy for us,” Patterson said. “It can be very, very stressful. A lot of times, when the season is going, you’re trying to continue the games going. In the backend of year two, you’re
already talking to people about continuing playing. It made life way easier not having to scratch anyone.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip