Coweta schools add new faces to current regions
by Chris Goltermann
Despite one of the more challenging reclassification processes in recent years within the Georgia High School Association, Coweta County went relatively unharmed when it came to being placed in new regions.
In the end, East Coweta, Newnan and Northgate aren’t going anywhere. But they are getting some new neighbors starting in 2014.
The new realignment in the GHSA will cover the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years and the association will keep the current six classification system it began starting in 2011-12.
Next year, East Coweta and Newnan will return to Region 3-AAAAAA with three other current schools, but will also welcome three newcomers from south Cobb County that aren’t that unfamiliar.
The new 3-AAAAAA will reunite both schools with Douglas County, Langston Hughes and Westlake while adding Pebblebrook, Campbell and Northgate, meanwhile, again finds itself in a subdivided 4-AAAAA alignment with Fayette rivals McIntosh and Starr’s Mill, though Whitewater is leaving for new waters in Class AAAA. But along with the return of Creekside, a new B-subregion adds both Banneker and Tri-Cities, which drops from 3-AAAAAA with East Coweta and Newnan to 4-AAAAA.
A 12-school region alignment in 4-AAAAA that includes Carver-Atlanta, Mays and four Douglas County schools — Alexander, Chapel Hill, Lithia Springs and New Manchester — in the opposing A-subregion could make it tough to create a full 10-game region schedule in football. In the current 13-team alignment, coaches in the B-subregion with Northgate, McIntosh and Whitewater found themselves outvoted 7-6 when ultimately choosing to decide playoff seedings by a 10th-game region play-in scenario.
The GHSA had arguably the toughest time trying to divide 86 schools among eight regions in Class AAAAA while trying to keep teams in close proximity of each other.
The result had a bulk of teams between DeKalb, Clayton and Henry — including former 4-AAAAA schools Ola, Union Grove, Mundy’s Mill and Forest Park now making up an oversized 17-school alignment.
Only four schools from each region are allowed to advance to state playoffs in most sports. (Rifle and volleyball are among exceptions).
Class AAAAAA, meanwhile, has a shortage in some of its regions, enough that the GHSA allowed state power Camden County to stay in 1-AAAAAA for football to keep it at six schools. Camden will play in Class 3A-AAAAA in all other sports. Equally, Effingham County, Evans of Augusta and Richmond Hill — both of whom have class sizes well over 1,800 to rank as Class AAAAAA schools — were allowed to stay in Class AAAAA because of travel concerns. Both will play in 3-AAAAA while Evans of Augusta was allowed to join 2-AAAAA.
While AAAAA will not have any regions with eight schools or less, Class AAAAAA will have five including 3-AAAAAA with East Coweta and Newnan. The good news for both, however, is with scheduling, especially in football.
Whereas both programs were forced to find five non-region games the past two years, each will now have to pick up just three opponents for the upcoming 2014 and 2015 seasons.
This year’s non-region opponents included Marietta (8-3), LaGrange and Sandy Creek (11-1-1) for Newnan as well as Archer (11-1), Sandy Creek (11-1-1), Lovejoy (10-2) and Central-Phenix City (6-4) for East Coweta.
Schools may appeal to make lateral transfers from one region to another in the same class by Dec. 13. The GHSA will ratify reclassification on Jan. 13.