Reclassification: Schools placed in new regions for 2016

DSC_7062-copy-2The Georgia High School Association placed its member schools in regions for the 2016 season on Wednesday. Schools still can appeal for region-to-region transfers in the same classification, so this is not final. But here are some observations about the new region alignment. Below that are the regions, with each school’s football team ranked in their new classifications by the Maxwell Ratings.

*Region championship and play-in games – which have flourished the past several seasons in the final week of the regular season – are a thing of the past for now, except in Class A, where four regions are subdivided. The move to seven classes meant fewer teams per region and less need for subregions.

*Gwinnett County will have three regions in the highest class, up from two for the past several years. Regions 6, 7 and 8 in AAAAAAA are made up entirely of Gwinnett teams except for Lakeside of Atlanta (R7), Newton (R8) and Rockdale County (R8). So Gwinnett could get 12 teams in the playoffs in the highest class.

*Valdosta chose not to play in the highest classification. That means that Georgia’s most storied football program will play below the top tier for the first time since 1957. According to the Maxwell Ratings, Valdosta would have the No. 4 football team in the new Class AAAAAA, based on 2015 results. Other prominent football programs that will now play in the second-highest class (with their projected football ranking in this class) are No. 8 Dacula, No. 9 Lee County and No. 16 Tucker.

*With Valdosta and Lee dropping down,Region 1-AAAAAAA has four schools – Colquitt County, Camden County, Lowndes and Tift County. A new GHSA rule will give automatic state-playoff berths only to three teams in four-team regions. The replacement will be the highest-rated school that didn’t get an automatic bid. Tift is rated the No. 24 team in the new highest class, according to Maxwell, so Region 1 still would stand a good chance of getting its No. 4 team in the back door.

*Region 1-AAAAAA has only five teams, and all five are among the top 13 teams in the new class. In fact, based on 2015 results, Northside of Warner Robins would not have made the playoffs, finishing fifth behind Valdosta, Houston County, Lee County and Coffee.

*Region 3-AAAAAA has six teams, none of which had a winning record this season. The best would be Lakeside of Evans (5-5), which Maxwell rates as the No. 37 team in the new class.

*Buford, which has won seven state titles in the past eight seasons, will be in AAAAA, getting a one-class bump because of a new rule that addresses the school’s high out-of-county population. Buford is the highest-rated team in the new highest class, but now must contend with the likes of Ware County, Allatoona and Stockbridge.

*Catholic school powers Blessed Trinity, St. Pius and Marist are in AAAA, but Marist went in Blessed Trinity’s region, while St. Pius is in Region 8 with Jefferson and Oconee County.

*Class AAA’s strongest football region will be Region 6, with No. 6 Pace Academy, No. 7 Westminster, No. 8 Lovett – the Buckhead three – duking it out with No. 3 Cedar Grove of DeKalb County.

*Class AA is void of private schools, except for Benedictine of Savannah.

*In Class A, Region 6 has 15 teams, while Region 5 has seven. That’s significant since region champions get a higher seeding in the public or private playoffs. So, if Eagle’s Landing Christian wins its seven-team all-private Region 5, ELCA gets that special treatment. But if Mount Paran wins its eight-team all-private subregion, Mount Paran still needs to contend with the winner of the other subregion.

1-AAAAAAA 5-AAAAA 1-AA
2 Colquitt Co. 28 Miller Grove 1 Fitzgerald
8 Camden Co. 30 SW DeKalb 3 Brooks Co.
9 Lowndes 32 Arabia Mountain 9 Early Co.
24 Tift Co. 33 Columbia 34 Berrien
37 Lithonia 36 Thomasville
2-AAAAAAA 50 Chamblee 52 Albany
14 Westlake 57 Clarkston
20 Newnan 58 Cross Keys 2-AA
29 Wheeler 2 Benedictine
30 East Coweta 6-AAAAA 14 Vidalia
41 Pebblebrook 13 Carver (Atlanta) 24 Swainsboro
48 Campbell 14 Riverwood 26 Metter
26 Grady 28 Bacon Co.
3-AAAAAAA 36 Decatur 30 Bryan Co.
6 McEachern 44 Jackson (Atl.) 35 Jeff Davis
23 Hillgrove 49 Lithia Springs 42 Toombs Co.
25 North Cobb 51 North Springs
34 North Paulding 52 Banneker 3-AA
36 Marietta 7 Dodge Co.
42 Kennesaw Mtn. 7-AAAAA 22 Dublin
7 Rome 25 Washington Co.
4-AAAAAAA 8 Kell 32 Southwest
4 Roswell 9 East Paulding 38 Northeast
11 Walton 12 Carrollton 43 East Laurens
16 Etowah 17 Paulding Co. 47 Bleckley Co.
28 Lassiter 20 Cass
35 Cherokee 34 Villa Rica 4-AA
37 Woodstock 38 Hiram 5 Jefferson Co.
47 Woodland (Cart.) 10 Screven Co.
5-AAAAAAA 16 Laney
12 South Forsyth 8-AAAAA 37 Harlem
22 West Forsyth 1 Buford 44 Josey
27 Lambert 16 Loganville 53 Butler
32 Milton 23 Flowery Branch 55 Westside (Aug.)
39 Forsyth Central 29 Clarke Central 56 Glenn Hills
40 North Forsyth 42 Cedar Shoals
46 Walnut Grove 5-AA
6-AAAAAAA 53 Johnson (Gain.) 8 Callaway
1 Mill Creek 11 Spencer
7 Peach. Ridge 15 Heard Co.
13 Collins Hill 1-AAAA 17 Lamar Co.
21 North Gwinnett 11 Carver (Col.) 29 Jordan
33 Mountain View 16 Cairo 51 Temple
43 Duluth 20 Northside (Col.)
45 Discovery 23 Columbus 6-AA
24 Westover 12 Hapeville
7-AAAAAAA 27 Shaw 21 Douglass
10 Cent. Gwinnett 31 Amer.-Sumter 27 B.E.S.T. Acd.
15 Norcross 48 Hardaway 31 Washington
17 Parkview 39 Therrell
19 Brookwood 2-AAAA 46 KIPP Atlanta
38 Meadowcreek 9 Spalding 48 South Atlanta
44 Berkmar 10 Mary Persons
46 Lakeside (Atl.) 13 West Laurens 7-AA
14 Upson-Lee 13 Model
8-AAAAAAA 22 Howard 18 Pepperell
3 Grayson 32 Perry 19 Chattooga
5 Archer 23 Dade Co.
18 Newton 3-AAAA 40 Rockmart
26 Shiloh 7 Thomson 45 Coosa
31 South Gwinnett 12 Burke Co. 50 Armuchee
47 Rockdale Co. 34 Baldwin 57 Gordon Central
46 Richmond Acd.
47 Cross Creek 8-AA
1-AAAAAA 51 Hephzibah 4 Elbert Co.
4 Valdosta 6 Rabun Co.
5 Houston Co. 4-AAAA 20 Putnam Co.
9 Lee Co. 1 Woodward Acd. 33 Banks Co.
10 Coffee 17 Eastside 41 Monticello
13 Northside (W.R.) 25 Salem 49 Social Circle
30 Luella 54 Oglethorpe Co.
2-AAAAAA 36 Henry Co.
3 Glynn Acad. 39 Druid Hills 1-A
17 Effingham Co. 40 North Clayton (Division A)
34 Brunswick 50 Randolph-Clay
39 Richmond Hill 5-AAAA 52 Terrell Co.
48 Bradwell Inst. 2 Cartersville 63 Chatt. Co.
4 Sandy Creek 84 Calhoun Co.
3-AAAAAA 18 LaGrange 87 Stewart Co.
37 Lakeside (Evans) 21 Central (Carroll) (Division B)
44 Grovetown 28 Chapel Hill 29 Pelham
45 Evans 37 Troup 47 Seminole Co.
51 Heritage (Con.) 43 Cedartown 56 Mitchell Co.
54 Alcovy 57 Miller Co.
55 Greenbrier 6-AAAA 80 Baconton
26 Pickens
4-AAAAAA 29 NW Whitfield 2-A
7 Stephenson 35 Ridgeland 5 Clinch Co.
12 Drew 42 Heritage (Ring.) 6 Irwin Co.
16 Tucker 44 Gilmer 13 Charlton Co.
19 Jonesboro 45 SE Whitfield 17 Turner Co.
26 Lovejoy 50 LaFayette 33 Telfair Co.
30 Mundy’s Mill 55 Atkinson Co.
41 M. L. King 7-AAAA 71 Wilcox Co.
53 Mt.Zion (Jones.) 3 Blessed Trinity 78 Lanier Co.
58 Forest Park 6 Marist
38 White Co. 3-A
5-AAAAAA 41 West Hall (Division A)
1 Northgate 52 Riverside Military 16 Sav. Christian
6 Mays 53 Chestatee 20 Calvary Day
15 Creekside 30 McIntosh Co. Ac.
20 South Paulding 8-AAAA 60 Sav. Country Day
22 Alexander 5 St. Pius 70 Portal
23 Hughes 8 Jefferson 72 Claxton
32 New Manchester 15 Oconee Co. (Division B)
40 Tri-Cities 19 Stephens Co. 10 Emanuel Co. Inst.
42 Douglas Co. 33 North Oconee 36 Johnson Co.
49 Madison Co. 51 Treutlen
6-AAAAAA 68 Jenkins Co.
2 Allatoona 74 Wheeler Co.
14 Dalton 1-AAA 83 Montgomery Co.
18 Creekview 4 Worth Co.
25 Harrison 12 Monroe 4-A
27 Sequoyah 15 Crisp Co. (Division A)
35 Sprayberry 17 Cook 19 Marion Co.
38 South Cobb 35 Dougherty 25 Manchester
50 Osborne 35 Brookstone
52 River Ridge 2-AAA 41 Pacelli
5 Liberty Co. 61 Greenville
7-AAAAAA 19 Pierce Co. 76 Central (Talb.)
24 Cambridge 24 Appling Co. (Division B)
28 Northview 30 Brantley Co. 8 Macon Co.
29 Centennial 33 Tattnall Co. 39 Dooly Co.
31 Alpharetta 41 Long Co. 48 Crawford Co.
36 Johns Creek 53 Hawkinsville
43 Chattahoochee 3-AAA 58 Taylor Co.
47 North Atlanta 20 SE Bulloch 85 Schley Co.
49 Pope 26 Jenkins
56 Dunwoody 40 Beach 5-A
48 Savannah 2 ELCA
8-AAAAAA 52 Johnson (Sav.) 3 Wesleyan
8 Dacula 53 Windsor Forest 18 Landmark Christ.
11 Lanier 55 Islands 40 Holy Innocents
21 Gainesville 56 Groves 54 O.L. of Mercy
33 Winder-Barrow 65 Mount Vernon
46 Habersham Cent. 4-AAA 79 Strong Rock
57 Apalachee 9 Peach Co.
10 Westside (Mac.) 6-A
14 Jackson (Division A)
1-AAAAA 16 Central (Macon) 11 Darlington
4 Bainbridge 38 Kendrick 15 Trion
19 Warner Robins 43 Rutland 21 Mt. Zion (Carroll)
21 Thomas Central 47 Pike Co. 23 Christ. Heritage
27 Veterans 27 Bowdon
40 Harris Co. 5-AAA 37 Gordon Lee
3 Cedar Grove 64 N. Cobb Christian
2-AAAAA 6 Pace Academy (Division B)
2 Ware Co. 7 Westminster 7 Mount Paran
10 South Effingham 8 Lovett 14 Pinecrest Acd.
22 Wayne Co. 27 Redan 26 Mount Pisgah
35 Statesboro 39 Towers 31 Fellowship Christ.
55 New Hampstead 46 McNair 46 Walker
51 Stone Mountain 59 St. Francis
3-AAAAA 69 Whitefield Acd.
5 Starr’s Mill 6-AAA 73 King’s Ridge
25 Griffin 1 Calhoun
39 Fayette Co. 11 Adairsville 7-A
41 McIntosh 21 Sonoraville (Division A)
43 Riverdale 32 Ringgold 9 Stratford Acd.
48 Whitewater 37 Bremen 28 First Presbyterian
54 Morrow 44 North Murray 34 Wilkinson Co.
45 Murray Co. 43 Twiggs Co.
4-AAAAA 49 Haralson Co. 62 Mount de Sales
3 Stockbridge 54 Coahulla Creek 66 Tattnall Square
6 Jones Co. 57 Lakeview-FO (Division B)
11 Woodland (Stck.) 4 Aquinas
15 Dutchtown 7-AAA 24 Lincoln Co.
18 Locust Grove 2 GAC 38 Greene Co.
24 Eagle’s Landing 18 North Hall 42 Wash.-Wilkes
31 Ola 23 Dawson Co. 45 Hancock Central
45 Union Grove 28 Union Co. 67 Warren Co.
56 Hampton 29 East Hall 81 Georgia Military
36 Fannin Co. 86 Glascock Co.
42 Lumpkin Co.
8-A
8-AAA 1 Prince Avenue
13 Hart Co. 12 Commerce
22 Morgan Co. 22 Athens Academy
25 Jackson Co. 32 Athens Christian
31 Franklin Co. 44 Hebron Christian
34 Monroe Area 49 George Walton
50 East Jackson 75 Lakeview Acd.
77 Towns Co.
82 Providence Chr.

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