PREMONT — The Premont Cowboys’ football comeback is continuing its comeback.

The once dead high school football program hit a milestone Thursday with its inclusion in the reshuffled District 16-2A, Div. II. It was a big day for Premont football since it hadn’t been included in a UIL district since the school district shelved its program following the 2010 season.

Premont was added to District 16-2A, Div. II, which includes a list of geographical small school rivals like Agua Dulce, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco and Benavides to statewide football powerhouse Refugio, which played in the last two Class 2A, Div. II state championships. The Bobcats won the state title in 2016 and lost in the finals in 2017. Premont received news of its new district during the UIL's realignment and reclassification which was announced Thursday.

Regardless of the competition, Premont superintendent Steve Van Matre, who has played an integral role in bringing football back to the school, said finally being included of a UIL district means the Cowboys and the high school’s student body are a step closer to normalcy, especially on Friday nights in the fall.

“They’re so much that goes on at high schools, things that kids take for granted,” Van Matre said. “Well, for the past couple of years at Premont, our kids have had to go without so that the school district could get by.”

Premont ISD halted its football program, other sports and extracurricular activities after the 2010 season when the state began threatening to close the district because of poor academic performance, truancy and financial woes.

As the district began a remarkable turnaround to save itself, a community interest in resuming football prompted the school district to back a junior high school football team two years ago. Then last year, the high school started its program by fielding a junior varsity-level team, which played four games in 2017 against small-school varsity teams.

The Cowboys were 0-4 in against varsity squads from Monte Alto, Freer, Marine Military Academy and Agua Dulce. Since Premont’s stadium had been neglected, the Cowboys didn’t have a home field. They played each of last season’s games on the road.

The program began organizing a varsity squad earlier this year and recently set its first home game since the 2010 season. Premont will begin the 2018 season on Friday, Aug. 31 against Monte Alto. And as far as a new stadium to play that first home game in, that should fall into place soon as well.

The district is building a new elementary school in Premont, and Van Matre, who oversaw Freer landing a new state of the art stadium and athletic complex a few years ago, said the plan is to use funds leftover after the school is built to build a few stadium.

“Right now, we can’t say what the stadium will look like or how big it’ll be,” he said. “What’s for sure is that we’re building a stadium before the start of football season.”

Van Matre said he anticipates the stadium to resemble the small 1,000-seat stadium recently built at London High School in Corpus Christi.

District 16-2A, Div. II
Agua Dulce
Benavides
La Villa
Premont
Woodsboro
Bruni