Texas High School Playoff Statistics

I know this post isn't goalie-centric but with the state's high school playoffs around the corner, I thought it'd be interesting to dive into stats about a tournament that's more mad than March Madness.

Texas high school soccer is split into two classes, 5A and 4A, the latter encompassing a handful of 3A and lower class schools. At the end of this season, they'll readjust the districts and classes like they do every two years. This includes taking teams out of districts and into new ones as well as promoting and relegating [sic] based off of school attendance numbers. You can see the most recent alignments here: 5A all regions, 4A regions I and II, 4A regions III and IV.

Texas has organized a state tournament since 1983 through UIL, the University Interscholastic League. They've tweaked the process of qualifying for the playoffs over the years but currently the top four teams from each district qualify. I've tallied up the results from 2010 to the present to find out the most successful teams from across the state. I awarded points for playoff and district success.*

Top 30 Most Successful Texas High School Teams

From 2010-2013

1. Kilgore (4A) - 55
2. Waco University (4A) - 52.5
3. Wichita Falls Rider (4A) - 47.5
4. Boerne Champion (4A) - 46.5
5. Dallas Jesuit (5A) - 45
6. Mount Pleasant (4A) - 44.5
7. Houston Strake Jesuit (5A) - 44
7. Conroe The Woodlands (5A) - 44
9. Mission Sharyland (5A) - 42
10. La Joya Juarez-Lincoln (5/4A) - 41.5

11. El Paso Bel Air (5A) - 40.5
12. Friendswood (4A) - 40
13. Frisco Wakeland (4A) - 39.5
13. North Dallas (4A) - 39.5
15. Houston Lee (4A) - 39
15. Brownsville Lopez (5A) - 39
15. Pharr-Valley View (4A) - 39
18. Fort Bend Clements (5A) - 38.5
19. Pasadena Dobie (Houston) (5A) - 37.5
20. Humble Kingwood Park (4A) - 37
20. San Antonio Alamo Heights (4A) - 37
20. Waller (4A) - 37
20. Deer Park (5A) - 37

24. Georgetown (4/5A) - 36
24. Katy Morton Ranch (5A) - 36
24. Mesquite Poteet (4A) - 36
27. San Antonio Reagan (5A) - 35.5
28. Southlake Carroll (5A) - 35
28. Red Oak (4A) - 35
28. North Richland Hills Birdville (4A) - 35
28. Humble Kingwood (5A) - 35
28. Coppell (5A) - 35

* - Teams were awarded 1.5 points for each round they appeared in. For district, teams were awarded four for finishing first, three for second, two for third, and one for fourth place. Download the entire document here. It's a little messy after the first tab, heads up.

It was difficult putting 5A and 4A teams on the same playing field. For starters, the 4A playoffs have byes splattered throughout their playoffs, so a team who got to the third round could have as easily been knocked out in the first had they been slotted in another district. More teams make the 4A playoffs because of more districts and the talent level is typically thought to be a drop off from 5A.

To analyze the gap, I looked at the 44 instances where a school was moved between classes. In the sixteen times a school dropped to 4A, the average round progression between the two years raised from 0.83 to 2.28. Inversely, the average round progression for a school jumping to 5A dropped from 2.08 to 1.04. So based on this, I award every 5A team an additional one point every year. That's not to say every team in 5A is better than a 4A team. It's just to average out the results since 5A is in a tougher setup.

I looked at three stats to find some correlations between the regular and postseason success. The first stat is comparing one team's playoff success to next year's run. The table is split into two, 4A and 5A. The first column is the past round success (when they were knocked out, 1st round, or won the tournament, the final round) and the "avg" column is the average result of those team's playoff run the following year. It only has three years to look at but here are the results:

(The numbers are a little funky for a variety of reasons, one being promotion and relegation.) Some things to notice:

  • 5A schools have a harder time of continuing their success compared to 4A schools.
  • The sample size for late rounds is pretty small. The number on the far right is the average round success for that row and all the ones below.
  • A team that makes the playoffs (round 1) is more likely to return the next year than not. But every other round success is more unlikely to repeat their run.

The next stat is the same idea but with the district results.

Again, 5A has trouble maintain supremacy in their district. A district winner, on average finishes 2.39th in district the next year.

The last stat is how successful the district seeds are in playoffs.

The 4A schools finishing either first or second did better than their 5A equivalents. If the overall round success seems low, the playoffs are set up that first place schools will face each other in the third round. So by the fourth round, at least half of the district winners will be out, if not more.

Playoffs start a week from Tuesday. I'll update the information at the end of the playoffs but don't expect most of the numbers to move too much. StudentSports.com releases weekly rankings of both state and national high school teams, which contains some familiar names to this post.