HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Fort Stockton, Monahans not surprised by realignment shakeup

Every two years, high school districts are shaken up in the state of Texas because of the UIL’s realignment.

One of the biggest changes that occurred this year took place in District 1-4A Division II, where Monahans and Fort Stockton were grouped together with Pecos, Clint, Clint Mountain View and Fabens.

Monahans and Pecos played in a five-team district with Sweetwater, Greenwood and Snyder the past two seasons.

Fort Stockton used to be in a four-team district with Big Spring, Andrews and San Angelo Lake View.

Now new opponents from out west will join the trio of area schools to make up the new grouping.

Although the realignment brought in a new look, Fort Stockton football head coach Mike Peters expected to see his team fall into its new district after deciding to stay down in Division II.

“There was always a chance that Monahans and Greenwood would be out or both would be in,” Peters said. “It was fairly what we were thinking.”

Instead of making trips east to play their most meaningful games of the season, the Panthers will now be heading in the opposite direction.

Peters was excited to see Monahans and Pecos fall into the new district because of the familiarity with each other.

“That’s a great thing, we even tried to keep those on the schedule,” Peters said. “They’re big rivals for us and we tried to keep them on the schedule in nondistrict.

“Being in district now puts a little added emphasis and historically these three always play.”

Monahans head football coach Fred Staugh also wasn’t caught off guard by the shakeup in district opponents.

Staugh was also happy to see that some of his team’s closer rivals will help make up the new grouping of teams.

Both coaches didn’t feel too worried about making the drive out west to play Clint, Clint Mountain View and Fabens.

A drive from Monahans, Fort Stockton and Pecos to Clint and Fabens would take about three hours, which is roughly how long some of their trips were to face previous district opponents out east.

Peters said his team’s nondistrict schedule wasn’t affected greatly by the realignment, as he normally tries to find opponents in the El Paso area.

“It’s just easier for us to schedule them, the travel for us to El Paso is a lot easier, we just take a left on the interstate,” Peters said. “We didn’t play those smaller schools, but that trip and all that, we’re used to it.”

Staugh believes his players will be well-prepared to face their new opponents, as the Loboes picked up valuable experience in their playoff run last season.

He thinks it will be good for his younger team members to get accustomed to taking road trips earlier in the season.

Peters said the District 1-4A Division II coaches will try to meet in Van Horn next week to draw their district schedules.

In nondistrict play, the Panthers will go up against El Paso Austin, Alpine, Crane, El Paso Ysleta and Clint Horizon.

Monahans has games set up against Shallowater, Andrews, Big Spring, Snyder and Denver City.

Staugh said it feels good knowing that he wasn’t caught off guard with the changes going on around his football team.

When he coached at McCamey and went through realignment in 2018, he saw his team move from a six-team district to a four-team setup and he had to find a week seven opponent.

“I’d rather guess right and have a good plan going in, than be shocked,” Staugh said.

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