The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced the new region alignment Tuesday night after the appeals from different schools were heard. Locally there was not a great deal of change, but because of the Westover appeal led by principal William Chunn, Westover, Monroe and Dougherty will all be competing in Region 1-AAAA.
The new region looks far more southward than in the last cycle. The Columbus schools are now out of the region with Westover and Dougherty, and instead are replaced by Thomas County Central and Bainbridge. Cairo remains in Region 1-AAAA so there are three schools down near the Florida border and three schools in Albany in the region. Bainbridge and Thomas County Central have been playing the 5A classification but are dropping down. Monroe was in AAA but is moving up.
The Columbus schools, which were competing in region one, have moved to region two.
Westover had initially been moved to the 5A classification, but Chunn went in front of the executive committee Tuesday in Thomaston and explained that Westover would be forced to travel 100 miles or more for each region competition and explained how that would affect the student-athletes with all the travel time. The committee agreed with a 16-0 vote to keep the Patriots in Class AAAA.
The Lee County Trojans didn’t see much change in their region, but now the Trojans will have one less region game. Coffee has dropped from Class 6A down to 5A and no other schools were moved into Region 1-AAAAAA. The region now includes Lee County, Valdosta, Northside-Warner Robins and Houston County.
The big news in Class 6A may be that football powerhouse Buford has moved from 5A to 6A and Dacula, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the class, will be staying in 6A after initial classifications moved them to 7A. That means Region 8-6A will include four currently ranked teams – Dacula, Buford, Lanier and Denmark – which is moving up from 5A.
In Class AA, the Worth County Rams will join region one along with Cook County as both have dropped from AAA down one class. Others in the region include Thomasville, Fitzgerald, Berrien and Early County.
In Class A, Deerfield-Windsor will join Region one in the private school division will compete against Macon schools First Presbyterian, Mount de Sales, Tatnall Square and Stratford, as well as Strong Rock Christian from Locust Grove. Deerfield-Windsor announced earlier this fall that the Knights were leaving the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) to compete in the GHSA.
In the public Class A Region one there won’t be a lot of change, but there is a new force that might disrupt the domination of Pelham and Mitchell County in football. Brooks County has dropped from AA to Class A and will be in Region one with Pelham, Mitchell County, Seminole County, Terrell County, Baconton Charter, Miller County, Randolph-Clay, Calhoun County and Pataula Charter. Brooks County is currently ranked among the top ten in Class AA. Chattahoochee County is still Class A but was moved to Region five.