The GHSA Reclassification Committee heard appeals from schools looking for lateral transfers to other regions on Thursday and two successful appeals will have big consequences for a number of local schools.

Gilmer, a member of Region 7-AAA the past two years, appealed to be moved into Region 6-AAA, while neighboring Pickens also asked to be moved into Region 6-AAA. Pickens dropped from Class AAAA (Region 7) into Region AAA when the new classifications for the next two-year cycle were announced earlier this month. They had been placed in Region 7-AAA with Gilmer last week by the GHSA, but won their case to be moved.

Gilmer and Pickens will make Region 6-AAA an 11-team region, tying it with the new Region 8-AAAA as the largest non-Class A region in the state.

Bremen, up from Class AA, and Ridgeland, down from Class AAAA, were both placed in Region 6-AAA on Nov. 10, replacing Rockmart, who dropped to Class AA, and Sonoraville, who bumped to Class AAAA. Bremen, who some thought might appeal for a lateral transfer, chose to accept their new spot, despite what will be some lengthy road trips for its teams over the next two school years.

The new-look 6-AAA will now feature Adairsville, Bremen, Coahulla Creek, Gilmer, LaFayette, LFO, Murray County, North Murray, Pickens, Ridgeland and Ringgold for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

Multiple sources confirmed on Friday that a majority of the region's football head coaches voted in favor of a 10-game, all-region schedule for the next two seasons. That means some local rivalry games, such as LFO-Gordon Lee and Heritage-Ringgold, which draw big crowds and can mean big revenue, will not be able to be played in the regular season for the next two years.

However, some of those traditional rivalry games may end up being played as fall scrimmages. GHSA rules allow for a school to play two preseason scrimmages in the fall if they elect not to have spring practice.

There has been no word on what Region 6-AAA schedules will look like for other sports as of press time.

Heritage will remain in Region 7-AAAA, along with holdovers Cedartown, Central-Carroll, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield, while Sonoraville will enter the region following the departure of Pickens and Ridgeland. The GHSA's Executive Committee still has to finalize and ratify the new region alignments.

Also on Thursday, the GHSA - after what was termed "spirited discussion" - also elected to table a proposal that would have recombined Class A Public and Class A Private schools and separated them again into large school and small school divisions based on enrollment numbers.

Some Class A Private schools have moved up in classification and approximately 10 more - reportedly upset at some new rules handed down to private schools by the GHSA - have announced their decision to leave that organization altogether and join, or in several cases rejoin, the all-private school GISA.

Following the appeals on Thursday, Class A Private has just 25 football-playing schools for next year and the Committee said more discussion will be need to come up with an equitable solution in the state's lowest classifications.

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


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