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GHSA proposes region realignment

GHSA realignment
Class AAAA – Region 3
Subregion A
Liberty County
South Effingham
Wayne County
Subregion B
Burke County
Cross Creek
Glenn Hills
Richmond Academy

Class AAA – Region 3
Subregion A
Jefferson County
Washington County
Subregion B
Dodge County
Southeast Bulloch

Class A – Region 3
Subregion A
Calvary Day
Jenkins County
Savannah Christian
Savannah Country Day
Subregion B
Emanuel Co. Institute
Johnson County
Montgomery County
Wheeler County

    When Georgia high schools begin play in 2012-13, there are going to be some big changes in store.
    Earlier this spring, the Georgia High School Association voted to add a classification — expanding to a total of six for next season that will encompass all 432 member schools. After an official “count day” in October, school enrollments were calculated and all schools were placed in one of the six classifications last month.
    Monday, preliminary regions were assigned, giving schools until Dec. 16 to appeal for movement before the finalized regions are announced in January.
    No huge jumps or drop-offs are in store for Bulloch County schools, but there will be some big changes in their region rivalries.
    Statesboro remains in Class AAAA, but is slated to shift to Region 3. The Blue Devils’ sub-region will have South Effingham, Wayne County and Liberty County as fellow transfers from Region 2, along with Burke County — which is currently preparing to play in the Class AAA championship game.
    “We’re pretty happy with how things turned out,” Statesboro High School athletic director Ken LeCain said. “We aren’t looking at any travel over 70 miles or so and we’ve still got some schools in there that we’re familiar with.”
    Another bright spot in the realignment is the chance to be one of the big kids on the block. When the GHSA last realigned two years ago, Statesboro was classified as a AAA school, but played up in Class AAAA. Now, with the larger schools all bumping up, Statesboro is one of the largest schools in the new Class AAAA.
    “It’s definitely a nice thing to put on top of everything else,” LeCain said. “We’re concerned more about travel and expenses with the new regions and classes, but it can definitely help when we’re one of the biggest schools.”
    Augusta schools make up the rest of the new Region 3-AAAA as Butler, Cross Creek, Hephzibah and Richmond Academy bump up from Class AAA with Glenn Hills rounding out the region.
    The area school with the most tentative current positioning is Southeast Bulloch.
    The Yellow Jackets now boast a large enough enrollment to move from Class AA to Class AAA, but the final region they’ll end up playing in is still up for discussion.
    Currently, SEB is scheduled to compete in the six-team Region 3-AAA. Sub-region members include Dodge County and Swainsboro — both current rivals of SEB in Region 3-AA, while Thomson, Jefferson County and Washington County make up the opposing sub-region.
    Southeast Bulloch might decide to appeal for lateral movement to another region in Class AAA. One of the main factors in the GHSA expanding to six classifications was to minimize travel, yet the current setup would make the Jackets a travel-weary school.
    “Out of the five other schools in this region, three would be round trips of over 150 miles,” SEB athletic director Jack Webb said. “We were hoping that we might get placed in a region with some more teams from the south or in the Savannah area.”
    With closer schools such as Appling County and Tattnall County in it, Region 1-AAA seems like a better fit. If that is where SEB has its sights set, the biggest concern will be removing it from the sparsely populated Region 3 and into Region 1 — which already has 10 teams.
    One school that will feel right at home after all of the reshuffling is Portal.
    Not only will the Panthers stay put in Region 3-A, but 10 of their 11 region mates from the last two seasons will be back as well.
    Only Metter — which was bumped up to Class AA — will be absent next year.