(Thomaston, GA) – The Georgia High School Association put its 451 member schools into regions on Tuesday for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.
Although the Heard County Braves were placed in Region 5-AA as usual, the region itself will take on a new look due to the new placement of the three Columbus schools into the higher AAA classification.
Kendrick High School moved to AAA based on their enrollment numbers but Spencer and Jordan chose to play up in order to eliminate costly travel expenses. All three schools will be in Region 2-AAA.
Another major twist for the Braves and Region 5-AA is still up in the air. A possibility exists that Manchester and Greenville High Schools could be combined next year to form one large AAA high school.
The new region alignments issued by the GHSA reflect all possibilities. Manchester is still penciled into Region 5-AA and Greenville is still penciled into 4-A. However, also listed in Region 5-AAA is “New Meriwether County.”
At this point it appears consolidation is only one of the options facing the Meriwether County school board which will hold a public forum to discuss the topic Tuesday at 5:30 at the Greenville Middle School. It appears that most citizens are opposed to the consolidation idea. A facebook page entitled “Save Manchester High School” has over 1,000 likes as of today.
Another new wrinkle for the Braves will be the difficulty of scheduling more non-region opponents. While more difficult, the change should translate to better match-ups and most certainly more ticket sales.
In football, for example, the regular season region game schedule will include Bowdon, Bremen, Temple, Chattahoochee County, and possibly Manchester. The possibility of four or even five non-region games makes for some intriguing match-ups throughout the season.
Coach Barron has already confirmed two quality opponents for non-region games including long time arch rival Callaway as well as a first time Brave opponent, the Cedartown Bulldogs from Region 5-AAA.
The new schedule will feature one down side for Brave fans in that a more normal 50/50 travel schedule will be likely. In the past two seasons, the Braves have been able to buy out home games from the Columbus schools meaning extra games at Staples Stadium.
Most other area teams of interest remained in their regions and classifications with a couple of notable exceptions. Lagrange will move up one class to Region 1-AAAAA, while Pike County and Haralson County both move up to AAAA from AAA.
The GHSA reclassification plan will not become official until January 14, 2014 pending appeals for lateral transfers.