It’s official: Memorial joins 22-5A

Published 2:33 pm Monday, February 1, 2016

By Gabriel Pruett

The News sports writer

BEAUMONT — Welcome to District 22-5A, Kenny Harrison and the Port Arthur Memorial Titans.

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The University Interscholastic League made it official Monday with the release of the new districts to take shape at the start of the 2016-17 school season. Memorial was moved down to Class 5A and is grouped with Baytown Lee, Central, Lumberton, Nederland, Ozen, Port Neches-Groves and Vidor.

“This is definitely my favorite realignment day,” Harrison, Memorial’s head football coach and athletic coordinator, said. “By far the best one Memorial has had in school history.”

The main reason for Harrison’s excitement is the cut in travel time the Titans sports teams will face this season. There will be no more district games in the Houston area besides the lone trip to Baytown to face the Ganders.

“We are excited to create some local rivalries,” Harrison said.

Harrison and the Titans also set the team’s non-district schedule. The Titans face Bay High of Panama City, Florida, at the Thomas Center in Beaumont the first week before games against Houston Westside and Houston St. Thomas. PN-G set non-district games against Silsbee, Goose Creek Memorial and Sheldon C.E. King.

The district alignment went exactly as planned for Indians coach Brandon Faircloth.

“It was the first realignment since I have been here that it went exactly like we all thought it would,” Faircloth said. “It played out like we hoped.”

Faircloth said he likes the district because the coaches are familiar with each other and work well together.
“We have a great group of coaches in this district and we had a great coach in coach Harrison,” Faircloth said. “Memorial is going to raise everyone’s level of play. They are coming out a very tough 6A district and will be the big school in our district. Every game in our district is tough, and Memorial coming down just adds to that.”

The Indians last faced a team from Port Arthur in 2001. The Indians lost to the Thomas Jefferson Yellow Jackets, 28-21, and lost to the Lincoln Bumblebees, 45-13.

Nederland is in the same boat, facing a Port Arthur team for the first time since Memorial was established in 2002. The Bulldogs defeated the Yellow Jackets in 2001, 36-7, and lost to the Bumblebees, 42-8.

“At my age, I am for close games, and the bigger the better,” Nederland coach Larry Neumann said. “You can expect big crowds at every district game. I also expect the Titans to be contenders for the title. It will be a huge game. I like our district because how close the schools are together. Every game is so big for the community. Memorial adds another formidable foe for us.”

Neumann and the Bulldogs are scheduled to face West Orange-Stark in Week 1 and Dayton in Week 2. Neumann was still searching for a game the third week of the season.

West Brook was definitely hurt by the departure of Memorial from the Class 6A ranks.

The Bruins were moved to Region II and are in District 12-6A with Conroe, Conroe Oak Ridge, Lufkin, Montgomery, The Woodlands and The Woodlands College Park.

District 22-5A competes against District 21-5A in the bi-district round. District 21-5A will be comprised of Barbers Hill, Caney Creek, Crosby, Dayton, Humble, Kingwood Park, New Caney, New Caney Porter and Splendora.

Bridge City and Little Cypress-Mauriceville is in District 10-4A D-I along with Cleveland, Huffman Hargrave, Livingston, Navasota and Silsbee. West Orange-Stark is lumped together again with Hamshire-Fannett, Hardin-Jefferson, Liberty and Orangefield to make up District 12-4A D-II.

Classes 4A and below also have different districts for the rest of the sports.

The local 4A district for every sport besides baseball and softball will consist of Beaumont Harmony Science Academy, Bridge City, Hamshire-Fannett, LC-M, Orangefield, Silsbee and WO-S in District 22-4A. This takes away the Silsbee/Hardin-Jefferson basketball rivalry. The Hawks will compete in District 23-4A.

Bob Hope will compete in the basketball/volleyball District 23-3A along with Anahuac, Buna, East Chambers, Hardin, Kirbyville, Kountze and Warren. Bob Hope boys basketball coach Charles Wise said he is thrilled to compete in such a competitive district starting next season.

“There are two state-ranked teams in that district,” Wise said of current Class 3A No. 5 Kountze and No. 11 East Chambers. “It won’t change how we play. We are going to play each team the same way. This will be a great opportunity for our school, the students and myself.”

Sabine Pass for football was put in District 12-2A D-II along with Burkeville, Colmesneil, Evadale, Hull-Daisetta and Iola. The Sharks, for all other sports except for baseball and softball, are in District 24-2A with Deweyville, Evadale, Hull-Daisetta and West Hardin.

Baseball and softball districts for classes 4A and below will be announced at a later date.


About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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