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Schools pleased with reclassifications

CONYERS - So far, the Georgia High School Association's biannual reclassification has been smooth sailing for the Rockdale and Newton schools.

The two local schools changing regions for the next two-year cycle starting next fall - Alcovy and Eastside - are pleased with their placements.

Alcovy is moving to Region 4-AAAA after playing its first two years in Region 8-AAAA.

"We are anxiously excited. We established relationships with people in Region 8-AAAA, and we hope to build the same type of relationships in 4-AAAA," Alcovy athletics' Chris Haymore said. "We tend to view things through the filter of our own situation, but people need to understand that the GHSA has the entire state that has to be considered when they make their decisions. One of our main concerns is that Alcovy is in a situation that will allow the growth of the (county) rivalries with Newton and Eastside."

The rest of the realigned Region 4-AAAA will include Dutchtown, Forest Park, Griffin, Jonesboro, Mt. Zion-Jonesboro, North Clayton, Ola and Stockbridge.

"We believe that we can be competitive in the new region," Haymore said. "We will be leaving a region with a lot of good teams, but we will also have the opportunity to play good programs in the new region. Griffin and North Clayton are very athletic. The new region will be challenging."

Eastside is moving down a class to Region 8-AAA after being a member of Region 8-AAAA for the past two reclassification cycles.

"I am happy with our placement and feel that it will be a good move for Eastside High School and our athletic program," Eastside athletics director Dennis Roddenberry said. "We look forward to competing with schools that are closer to our student population. We competed in 8-AAA prior to moving to 8-AAAA. The county schools that make up the majority of this (new) region's membership all have strong community support and they follow their teams. We anticipate positive results financially because of that community support."

The rest of Region 8-AAA will include Elbert County, Franklin County, Hart County, Jackson County, Morgan County, Oconee County and Stephens County.

"Our prior participation (in the region) will be of some assistance," Roddenberry said. "However, there are a few new members and this helps create some initial interest. Since we have been in this region before, we understand that the level of competition will not drop, but, at least, we all are drawing from similar numbers of students."

The three Rockdale schools - Heritage, Rockdale and Salem - will remain in Region 8-AAAA. They were placed in a subregion with Loganville and one of the region's new members - Monroe Area.

"It couldn't have been better for us really," Salem athletics director Jim McBrayer said. "In an ideal world, you'd like only 10 teams in the region, but 11 is about as good as it gets. It's been a good region as far as being able to make some money. We've been in regions in the past where crowds didn't travel. This region has been very competitive. It's one where you feel like you have a chance to win every time you go out."

Heritage athletics' Chuck Landy agreed with McBrayer's assessment.

"If nothing else, just the fact the new region will be 11 teams instead of 13 teams will make it better," Landy said. "I think the GHSA made a real effort to try to balance out the regions. The way it's subdivided cuts back on travel with the three Rockdale schools, Loganville and Monroe Area."

Region 8-AAAA lost Alcovy, Eastside, Dacula and Jackson County and gained Monroe Area and Apalachee.

Newton will remain in Region 2-AAAAA, which will see only a couple of changes. Lithonia dropped to Class AAAA, while Redan, which had the option to drop down to 4-A, has decided to play up and stay in the region. The only new school in the region next year will be Greenbrier.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: Later moves could affect local teams

By Jeff Gillespie

RC Sports Editor

CONYERS - The final step in the Georgia High School Association's bi-annual reclassification process happens Monday.

The GHSA reclassification committee will meet to hear appeals for lateral transfers from schools that want to play in different region than the one assigned originally by the GHSA.

In Class AAAA, several schools are requesting moves that could affect local schools.

Jones County is requesting a lateral move to either Region 4-AAAA or Region 8-AAAA, which could affect either Alcovy in 4-AAAA or the three Rockdale schools in 8-AAAA. Also, Upson-Lee and Westside-Macon are also appealing their placements and are seeking moves to 4-AAAA.

Right now, Region 4-AAAA is a nine-team region. If all the appeals are granted, it would force the region to subdivide.

The new additions to Region 4-AAAA might place the continuation of Alcovy's football game with county rivals Eastside and Newton in jeopardy. If the region grew to 11 teams, it could opt to play a 10-game region schedule, which would wipe any chance of the Tigers playing Eastside and Newton on the gridiron for the next two seasons.

If Jones County is moved into Region 8-AAAA, it has requested to be placed in subregion with the three Rockdale County schools and the two Walton County schools.

If that happens, Region 8-AAAA would have to go back to the drawing board for its football schedule. Eleven days ago, the region football coaches met at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens and voted, by an 11-1 count, to play a 10-game region schedule for the next two seasons, if there were no changes to the region.

The final step in the reclassification process is Jan. 10, when the GHSA's full executive committee will meet to ratify the reclassification.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.