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Lots of changes for local teams in new region alignments

   The Georgia High School Association released its new region alignments on Friday, and there were plenty of changes for area teams.
    Statesboro will move to Region 2 from Region 3 and join Brunswick, Effingham County, Glynn Academy, Ware County and Wayne County from the former 3-AAAA. South Effingham moves up from AAA to 2-AAAA, while Evans, Lakeside and the Academy of Richmond County will stay put in 3-AAAA. Greenbrier will move up to Class AAAAA and be placed in Region 2.
    The new placement means the Blue Devils will now have four non-region games for football starting in the fall of 2008, up from just one.
    “Well it’s definitely going to cut down on travel,” said SHS football coach Steve Pennington. “But the problem is going to be coming up with four games with schools that are close by.”
    An advantage for SHS, however, will be the crowning of a true region champion.
    Out of the new standings, 25 regions are split into sub-regions, creating region playoffs in football at the end of the regular season.
    “Well, compared with the other regions across the state, we’re very fortunate,” said Pennington. “Most of the regions have been subdivided and I think the ones that aren’t are more valid in that they reward those that earn their keep.”
    One of those subdivided regions is Class AA’s Region 3, containing Screven County and Southeast Bulloch. The Gamecocks and Yellow Jackets will be in Subregion A along with Jefferson County, Swainsboro and Tattnall County. In Subregion B, Bleckley County, Dublin, East Laurens, Toombs County and Vidalia fill the rest of the standings.
    Those schools will meet on Tuesday to discuss the GHSA’s recommended region.
    “It’s definitely going to be very interesting,” said John Kenny, SEB’s football coach. “We’ll know a lot more on Tuesday than we do right now. Of course, any region will have its pros and cons. There should be more money at the gates and there should be some good, traditional rivalries.”
    Kenny added that Tattnall County could appeal to move to Region 2 and Laney (realigned to Region 4) may want to move back to Region 3.
    Former Region 3-AA members Josey and Westside Augusta are slated to join Region 3 in AAAA.
    In Class A, Region 3 has all sorts of stipulations.
    During football season, 3 will be split into subdivisions with Bryan County, Calvary Day, Claxton, Portal, Savannah Christian and Savannah Country Day in division A, while Emanuel County Institute, Jenkins County, Metter, Montgomery County, Treutlen County and Wheeler County will be placed in division B.
    During all other sports seasons, Jenkins County moves to Subregion A and Telfair County and Johnson County will join Subregion B. Telfair and Johnson will play football in Region 2-A.
    “It’s certainly going to be interesting,” said Portal football coach Justin Chester. “I’m kind of disappointed we’ll be losing out on the rivalry games with Metter and ECI and Jenkins County (in football), because there’s no guarantee we’ll play those teams. It’s very fun for the kids to go out and play teams and schools that we know.”
    The split region will likely mean a region playoff for the 10th game of the regular season in football.
    “It’ll make it exciting for the fans but it’ll definitely be a headache for the coaches,” Chester added. “But the top four teams that come out of this region will definitely have a chance to go deep in the state playoffs.”
    Schools have until Dec. 14 to file a written appeal for a lateral transfer.
    The Reclassification Committee will meet on Dec. 17 to hear any appeals for a lateral transfer and the full Executive Committee will meet on Jan. 10 in a specially-called meeting to ratify the reclassification.
    For a complete listing of the new GHSA athletic region alignments, visit www.ghsa.net.
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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