8-5A (II) switches to zone schedule

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light

In response to a high number of COVID-19-related football game cancellations, District 8-5A (Division II) is changing to a zone format and will play an altered schedule.

The 8-5A district executive committee, consisting of administrators from member schools, announced on Wednesday that it voted to split the district into zones to reduce the number of games. Zone A will consist of Ennis, Crandall, Forney and Royse City; and Zone B will consist of Greenville, Corsicana, North Forney and Sulphur Springs.

Each team will now play three games against each of their zone mates on the weekends of Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, with cross-zone seeding games to determine playoff spots on Nov. 20. The new schedule of games is to be announced.

Ennis announced last weekend that this Friday’s District 8-5A (II) contest at Sulphur Springs was canceled. In its place, the Class 5A Division I No. 1-ranked Lions (now 3-0) hosted Mansfield Summit for a non-district game on Thursday night and won, 63-26.

Crandall announced Monday night that Friday’s game with North Forney was called off, throwing the original district schedule into chaos; and Saturday’s rescheduled game between Greenville and Royse City was canceled as well. Ennis, Crandall and Sulphur Springs all had two district games to make up with only one built-in make-up date under the old schedule. Changing to a zone format remedies this problem.

The Lions aren’t the only Ellis County team seeing changes made. On Monday, Palmer received word that it would gain a District 7-3A (II) forfeit victory because of a virus outbreak in Blooming Grove. The forfeit clinched a playoff berth for the Bulldogs (8-1, 4-1), but Palmer will still need Rice to beat Blooming Grove in the Nov. 6 finale to grab a share of the 7-3A (II) title. Rice stunned Palmer, 29-28, in overtime on Sept. 25.

5-4A (I) changes

Also on Monday, Midlothian Heritage learned that it will play Brownwood after all, after the District 5-4A (I) DEC reversed an earlier decision and allowed Brownwood to make up two games that were postponed because of a COVID-19 case. The Jaguars will host the Lions on Saturday, Nov. 7 in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Brownwood will now play Life Waxahachie on Wednesday, Oct. 28; La Vega on Monday, Nov. 2; and Heritage on Nov. 7 in order to squeeze in an extra playing date. The La Vega-Alvarado game was also moved to Oct. 28 to accommodate the changes.

The schedule shift means the Jags are potentially slated to play 11 games, one over the regular-season limit that the University Interscholastic League has maintained for about a century. Heritage scheduled a replacement game against Mesquite Poteet two weeks ago under the understanding that Brownwood forfeited.

Heritage and Brownwood have the option not to play on Nov. 7 if their game has no bearing on postseason berths or seedings.