October 24, 2020

New Region Appears Settled;Braves to Open 2012 Season with Saturday Night Showdown at Callaway

After some trials and tribulations,  it appears that the Heard County Braves finally know which other schools they will share a region with for the next two school years (2012-2014).

The GHSA reclassification committee met on December 6, 2011 and tentatively placed the Braves into Region 5-AA with Bowdon, Bremen, Temple, Manchester, Jordan, Kendrick, Chattahoochee County, and Spencer.

This tentative proposal was given to all the schools in the state and they were allowed until December 16 to appeal for a “lateral transfer” which means that all GHSA schools had the opportunity to petition to be placed in a different region within the same classification.

During this time period, in a strange turn of events, all five of the teams which were placed into Region 6-AA (the metro Atlanta area) asked to be moved to different regions which would have left that region completely empty.

Of these mostly private schools, Westminster, Lovett, and Hapeville Charter (a brand new school) asked to be placed into Region 5-AA with the Braves.

The other two 6-AA teams (Wesleyan and Greater Atlanta Christian) petitioned to be moved to Region 8-AA. Essentially the teams were not happy with the fact that their region contained only five schools while all the other regions in AA contained at least a minimum of seven schools.

The Braves and the other region 5-AA schools were concerned at the dominance the private schools might have over an all public school region especially in the sports other than the big three (football, basketball, and baseball).

However, before the reclassification committee met on December 19 to discuss approval of the lateral transfers, all of the Region 6-AA schools withdrew their requests so as it ends up Region 5-AA will stand as proposed at least for the next two years although this must still be finalized by the committee in January.

One of the biggest controversies that has been faced by the GHSA in recent years is the public versus private argument. As it stands now in the GHSA, all schools enrollment numbers are measured equally when placing teams in classes and all teams compete in the state playoffs together for the same state championship trophies.

In many other states, publics and privates play for different championships or at least force private schools to multiply their students by 1.5-2 to decrease the advantage.

The public schools argue that the playing field is unfair given the fact that private schools in urban areas have far more athletes to “pick and choose” from even though enrollment numbers are similar.

This argument is most heavily waged at the class A level where private schools have dominated the state titles as of late even though the number of private schools in the class is relatively small.

Jonathon Hunt and the rest of the Braves will be looking for revenge form the 35-13 loss to Callaway this year when they open the 2012 season at Callaway Stadium next year. (Photo Courtesy of Rodney East)

In fact, the financial and zoning advantages of the private schools seems clear as indicated by the total dominance of the private schools in recent years in all sports even though outnumbered greatly in number by the public schools.

The most interesting outcome of this entire situation has been the possibility of a mass exodus of anywhere from 35-100+ schools who are considering forming their own brand new association. It should be interesting to see how that will play out in the next several weeks.

As far as the Braves are concerned things will likely remain unchanged as far as the new proposed Region 5-AA so all of our teams should have some great opportunities to shine during the next two seasons in a much more balanced Region 5-AA especially at the state playoff level with the movement of several of the powerhouse AA teams such as Buford and Carver to higher classifications.

Even though Callaway has moved to a higher classification the rivalry will remain strong. In fact the Braves will open next season with a Saturday night game at Callaway Stadium in Lagrange versus the Cavaliers.

The date has not yet been verified but the game will take place during week 0 of the season which is typically when most scrimmage games are held so a huge crowd of fans will be expected to attend. The new region rivalries with Bowdon and Bremen should also be very competitive in all sports.

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