GHSA

Just one week after finding out the new classifications for all of the schools in the GHSA, the state's high school governing body rolled out their new region alignments on Tuesday afternoon.

The reclassification committee met Tuesday morning in Thomaston to hear appeals of classification placements and to approve region alignment for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

The new regions are not yet set in stone however. The reclassification committee will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. to hear appeals for lateral transfers. Schools may appeal to be moved to a different region from the one they were placed in on Tuesday, but they must stay in their newest classification.

The only exception will be Class 1A schools, who will have one final chance to appeal any previously denied request play up to Class 2A. Any school wishing to appeal must file with the GHSA office no later than 4 p.m. this coming Monday, Nov. 18.

Barring any approved lateral transfers, many teams in the northwest Georgia area will be looking at some new region opponents over the next couple of years.

Five of the teams currently in Region 6-AAAA - Heritage, Northwest Whitfield, Pickens, Ridgeland and southeast Whitfield - will be joined by Cedartown and Central-Carroll in what will be known as Region 7-AAAA.

Two of the teams that are leaving the current configuration of 6-AAAA have been reclassified into Class 3A.

While Gilmer will now be in 7-AAA along with Dawson County, Lumpkin County, White County, Cherokee Bluff, North Hall and West Hall, LaFayette will slide into 6-AAA.

That region will have holdovers in Adairsville, Coahulla Creek, LFO, Murray County, North Murray, Ringgold and Sonoraville with the Ramblers and Rockmart filling in the spaces vacated by Calhoun and Haralson County.

Haralson County was dropped to Class 2A and will be in a region with more teams around the Carrollton area, including Bremen, Heard County, Temple and Callaway.

Rockmart bumped to Class 3A and Armuchee dropped down to Class 1A leaving Chattooga, Coosa, Dade County, Gordon Central, Model and Pepperell in 7-AA.

Armuchee, back in Class 1A after several years as a Class 2A school, will join some old foes in 6-A. The Indians will do battle with Bowdon, Gordon Lee, Mount Zion-Carroll and Trion, along with B.E.S.T. Academy of Atlanta.

Class 1A is being completely divided between public schools and private schools starting next fall. The GHSA has put together eight public school-only regions and eight private school-only regions in the classification, doing away with the need for at times controversial power rating system for selecting playoff teams.

Most of the private school teams currently in the combined 6-A region have been split in half. Christian Heritage, Darlington, Mount Paran Christian, North Cobb Christian and Walker will now form the 7-A private school region, while Fellowship Christian, King's Ridge Christian, Pinecrest Academy, St. Francis and Lakeview Academy of Gainesville will makeup Region 6-A in the private school classification.

The only exception is Mount Pisgah Christian, who has been placed in 5-A on the private school side, along with the likes of Holy Innocents', Pace Academy and Wesleyan among others.

As for Calhoun, who have slowly moved from Class 1A to Class 2A to Class 3A over the last 20 years, their enrollment numbers, calculated with the new 2.0 multiplier for out-of-zone students, has them moving all the way to Class 5A. Calhoun appealed to the GHSA in hopes of being placed in Class 4A, but their appeal was denied.

If no teams successfully appeal to transfer laterally, Region 7-AAAAA will be very top-heavy in football over the next couple of years as the Jackets will be joined by Cartersville and private school stalwart Blessed Trinity, along with Cass, Hiram, Northview and Woodland-Cartersville.

Blessed Trinity also had their appeal to stay in Class 4A denied, while two other current class 4A private schools will also be playing up for the next cycle. Woodward Academy and St. Pius X were both placed in Class 6A originally, but will settle into Class 5A following appeals. Greater Atlanta Christian also won its appeal to stay in Class 3A after originally being reclassified as a 4A school last week.

Dalton, who has played in Class 6A the past few seasons, will have some competition a little closer to home over the next two years as Carrollton and Rome will join them in 5-AAAAAA. The rest of that region will include Alexander, Douglas County, East Paulding, Paulding County and South Paulding.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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