The Georgia High School Association will place schools in regions for the 2010-14 academic years on Dec. 2. Each day this week, the GHSF Daily staff is going to look at a different classification and tell you how we’d do the regions, starting with Class AAAAA.
These are not projections. We’d have more luck predicting the exact scores of every game this week than how the GHSA will divide up the regions. Our goal is simply to bring to light some of the questions and challenges that define the GHSA’s task next week.
Here’s how we’d do Class AAAAA:
1-AAAAA (6 teams)
Camden County (moved from 3-AAAAA)
Valdosta (playing up)
Going down: Houston County, Northside, Warner Robins
Notes: Four current 1-AAAAA schools were assigned to Class AAAA because of declining enrollment. Schools may choose to play in higher classes than the ones they’ve been assigned. We expect Valdosta to play up while the Houston County schools (Warner Robins, Northside, Houston County) play in AAAA. Do we think the GHSA is going to put Camden County in this region? We’ll believe it when we see it. But here’s the logic: The average road trip for Camden County in the new Region 1-AAAAA would be 121 miles. The average trip in Region 3-AAAAA would be 107 miles. But in 1-AAAAA, there are only five opponents. Let’s do the math: Five road trips times 121 miles is 606. Seven road trips times 107 miles is 749. In other words, Camden will travel less in a six-team Region 1-AAAAA than an eight-team Region 3-AAAAA. We realize that Camden pays many Savannah schools to give up their home football games and come to Camden, but that’s irrelevant because the travel for the region overall is the same whether Savannah comes to Camden County or vice-versa. GHSF Daily asked Camden County football coach and athletics director Jeff Herron about his school moving to Region 1. His answer: “I still don’t see how we could with the consideration we must give to the other sports. It would force all of our other sports to play all of their games on the weekends [because of long travel on week days]. But, with that few of schools [in Region 1], the region schedule might be easier to pull off. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
Redan (playing up)
Shiloh (moved from 8-AAAAA)
South Gwinnett (moved from 8-AAAAA)
Stephenson (playing up)
Going down: Douglass, Greenbrier, Union Grove
Notes: Five of the eight current Region 2 schools have been dropped to AAAA, leaving Luella, M.L. King and Newton as the only legitimate AAAAA schools. We suspect Stephenson and Redan will play up and remain with M.L. King, their DeKalb County neighbor. We see Douglass, Greenbrier and Union Grove taking the plunge, although Union Grove might want to stay with fellow Henry County school Luella. Regardless, the big question is how to fill out this depleted region. There are two ways to do it: One is to merge what’s left of Region 2 with what’s left of Region 4, as both regions lost significant membership. That would form a catch-all southside metro Atlanta region that stretches 67 miles from Newnan to Covington. The alternative? Force some Gwinnett County schools to join. Those Gwinnett schools that border DeKalb (in order of the likelihood of joining Region 4) are South Gwinnett, Shiloh, Parkview, Meadowcreek and Norcross. It’s only 42 miles from Luella to South Gwinnett. Also don’t rule out Brookwood and Grayson, though neither borders DeKalb.
Beach (playing up)
Bradwell Institute (playing up)
Groves (playing up)
Jenkins (playing up)
Johnson, Savannah (playing up)
Savannah (playing up)
Windsor Forest (playing up)
Moved: Camden County (to 1-AAAAA)
Notes: It’s expected that the seven Savannah-area schools will play up again, leaving this region intact except for the possible move of Camden County to Region 1. One source in Savannah told us that even Richmond Hill from Class AAA and Benedictine from AA are considering AAAAA. If that happens, the GHSA will have even more reason to put Camden County – which is isolated in the southeast corner of the state – in Region 1.
Campbell (from 6-AAAAA)
Langston Hughes (new to AAAAA)
Marietta (from 5-AAAAA)
South Cobb (from 5-AAAAA)
Going down: Chapel Hill, Lovejoy, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill, Riverdale
Notes: Region 4 picked up Langston Hughes from South Fulton but lost four Clayton County schools, plus Chapel Hill, so it needs rebuilding. Unless this region merges with Region 2 (as discussed above), there’s no alternative but to draw from Cobb County schools. Note that Pebblebrook, a school in south Cobb, already competes in Region 2. South Cobb is the most eligible candidate. After that, we picked Marietta and Campbell, but McEachern and Hillgrove are suspects, too.
Hillgrove (new to AAAAA)
Going down: East Paulding
Moved: Marietta, South Cobb (to 4-AAAAA)
Notes: Region 5 would love for the GHSA to let Hillgrove (promoted) replace East Paulding (demoted) and let that be that. But holes in regions 4 and 2 make this complicated. Southern Cobb County schools such as South Cobb, McEachern and Marietta are nervous that they will be moved to Region 4. Meanwhile, the Cherokee County schools (Cherokee, Etowah, Woodstock) might hope those Cobb schools remain in Region 5, freeing them up to play in a region with Forsyth County and North Fulton schools.
Chattahoochee (playing up)
Going down: Kell, Pope
Moved: Campbell (to 4-AAAAA)
Notes: Kell and Pope are now AAAA material, and they might be content to play in the smaller class because East Marietta neighbor Sprayberry already is there. But they also have strong rivalries with Walton and Lassiter in all sports and might choose to remain in AAAAA. Campbell, a Cobb school that’s the geographical odd ball in the current 6-AAAAA, could end up in Region 5 or even Region 4. Also pay attention to Chattahochee, a North Fulton team that was demoted to AAAA. The largest school not assigned to AAAAA, Chattahoochee has reason to play up and compete with most of the other North Fulton schools (Alpharetta, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Northview and Roswell).
Mountain View (new to AAAAA)
West Forsyth (new to AAAAA)
Going down: Chattahoochee, South Forsyth
Notes: This might be a simple trade of Chattahoochee and South Forsyth for Mountain View and West Forsyth. But if Region 8 loses a couple of southern Gwinnett teams, those most subject to moving from 7 to 8 are (in order) Norcross, Duluth, Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill and Mountain View. Meanwhile, North Forsyth and West Forsyth would prefer to play with North Fulton and Cherokee schools, so there could be a shift in that direction. Current region member Chattahoochee was dropped to AAAA but could play up, but we’re putting the ‘Hooch in 6-AAAAA for now.
Archer (playing up)
Moved: Shiloh, South Gwinnett (to 2-AAAAA)
Notes: Archer, which opened this year in Gwinnett County, is the second-largest school assigned to AAAAA and might opt to play in this Gwinnett-dominated region rather than AAAA. Gwinnett would love to have two regions of nine Gwinnett schools each. Lanier High will open as Gwinnett’s 18th school next year and would project to go in Region 7. But the trouble is the void in Region 2 with DeKalb and Newton county schools. See Region 2 notes for that explanation. South Gwinnett and Shiloh are anxious. Also keep an eye on Stephenson and Redan. If those DeKalb schools choose to leave AAAAA, then Region 8 could simply absorb M.L. King, Luella and Newton but at the expense of sending a few of its current members over to 7-AAAAA, setting off a domino effect that could open the door for a Forsyth-Cherokee-North Fulton region.
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