Anxious about the UIL’s latest realignment and reclassification, Huntsville football coach Mitchell Coey and three of his assistants loaded up and left town early Friday morning to join a coaching colleague for breakfast.

Sitting across the table from Waller coach Jim Phillips, Coey became convinced there would be a major shakeup in District 18-4A, the league in which the Hornets and Bulldogs have battled the past two years with Brenham, Caney Creek, Livingston, Montgomery and Willis.

There was a big change, but it did not involve either Huntsville or Waller. They’re staying pat, but Livingston is not.

The Lions are heading south to District 20-4A with the likes of Beaumont Ozen, Lumberton, Nederland and Little Cypress-Mauriceville.

Bad news for the Lions was good news for the Hornets.

Coey said he breathed a huge sigh of relief when he opened his packet and saw the changes that will go into effect this fall.

“Our old district is a good district,” the Hornets coach said Friday afternoon. “Add Magnolia West, which will be playing its first year of varsity athletics, and Magnolia to the mix and you have another pretty good little district.”

Staying in District 18-4A are Huntsville, Brenham, Caney Creek, Montgomery, Waller and Willis. Joining those six schools in a new eight-team lineup are Magnolia, which is coming down from 5A, and Magnolia West, a new school that opened two years ago but has yet to compete in varsity athletics.

Coey heard the rumors that had Huntsville headed east to Crosby, C.E. King and Barbers Hill. There was also talk that had Waller and Brenham going south to the Rosenberg/Richmond district that includes Lamar Consolidated and Richmond Foster.

The UIL decided to keep the current 18-4A intact for the most part and turn it into an eight-team league. That suited Coey and another Huntsville coach just fine.

“That’s going to be a good district for basketball,” Hornet hoops coach Doug Anderson said late Friday night after Huntsville romped past Caney Creek. “Magnolia is going to be solid, and Magnolia West has been playing (subvarsity ball) for two years now. They shoot the ball pretty well.

“With four teams advancing out of an eight-team district, you should have a good chance to go to the playoffs.”

That’s true. The Hornets should be able to compete in everything from volleyball to tennis.

Coey believes Huntsville is on the verge of a serious breakthrough in football.

“When I took this job, I kind of hung my hat on the eighth-grade group that will be seniors this coming season,” the coach said. “We expect a lot from this group, and we’ve got another good group behind them. Good things are in store for the Hornets.

“If we get the chemistry right and play each game like it’s a championship game, good things will happen for us.”

The Hornets would have qualified for the postseason last fall had the top four teams in the district qualified. A close loss to Brenham sent the Hornets into a four-game tailspin to start the 18-4A season, but they pulled out of it late and beat Willis and Caney Creek to finish 2-4 in the league.

Coey said he’s glad Huntsville gets at least two more shots at the Cubs, the team that has sat atop District 18-4A for a long time now.

“Of course, we’ve got an old foe, Brenham, and we would play them whether we are in the same district or not,” Coey said. “Brenham’s kind of our measuring stick. Until they are knocked down, they are the kingpin of our district. I talked to coach (Glen) West today and he said (Brenham) is cycling down, but they’re still the district champs until somebody beats them.”

Huntsville is going to play the Cubs in Brenham again, on the second week of the district season this fall. The Hornets are scheduled to open at home against Caney Creek after nondistrict games against College Park, Houston St. Pius and Houston Waltrip.

After their trip to Brenham, the Hornets will play Waller in Huntsville, travel to Montgomery, then play at home against both Magnolia and Magnolia West. The Hornets complete the regular season at Willis.

“We’re not going to play on zero week,” Coey said, “which means we’ll have an extra scrimmage. Then we’ll play 10 games in a row without a bye week.”

Livingston was the only school that will leave District 18-4A later this fall. Oddly, the Lions were placed in District 20-4A with Beaumont Central, Beaumont Ozen, Lumberton, Nederland, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Port Neches-Groves and Vidor.

“We knew somebody had to leave, but poor old Livingston,” Coey said. “I thought they might have to get on Highway 59 and travel some, but I didn’t know they were going to all the way to Louisiana. They better get some more gas money, I guess.”

“We’re kind of pleased with the outcome,” Coey added. “This is going to be a competitive district.”