Tifton Gazette

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December 3, 2013

Cook moves to AAAA, 1-AAAAAA welcomes Lee Co.

TIFTON — The Georgia High School Association announced region alignments for 2014-16 Tuesday afternoon and some of the moves were quite surprising.

Travel has possibly been on their minds, as they have made some decisions that are football-specific. For example, Camden County will be in 1-AAAAAA for football, but in all other sports, will be in a subdivided 3-AAAAA.

Perhaps the most shocking move for area fans, however, is the one that affected Cook. The GHSA released a list of schools that requested to play up in classifications. Albany, Dougherty and Worth County, all AAA in size, had asked to go to AAAA. Cook, also listed as AAA, did not request to go with them.

If Cook was hesitant about making the move up, the GHSA has made up their minds for them: the Hornets are now in Class AAAA.  

They are part of Region 1, joining Albany, Americus-Sumter, Cairo, Crisp County, Dougherty, Monroe, Westover and Worth. Bainbridge and Thomas County Central are also in the region, but not for football. Those two are in Class AAAAA for that.

The alignment sheet noted that the Hornets were put in the region because of isolation. They were also considered AAA in the first phase of the last realignment, but were moved back to 1-AA for the same reason. This will be their largest ever class; the school was AAA from 1978-86, but have been AA ever since.

Football should not be a problem for Cook as they were practically an unofficial member of the region over the past few years. Recent years have seen them gain victories over Worth, Crisp, Dougherty and Americus-Sumter.

Tift County will have to look for one more football game over the next two years. Their region lost Coffee and Brunswick to AAAAA and only picked up Lee County.

There was a chance that Richmond Hill and Effingham County could have been added to the region, but their isolation put them back in AAAAA. They were both put in Region 3.

Football will be much the same for the Devils. The old familiars of Colquitt, Lowndes and Valdosta are still there. Camden, as noted, is only in for that sport.

Area teams in Classes AA and A will be seeing few changes.

Region 1-AA switched Cook for Seminole County, but remains the same for Berrien and Fitzgerald. In 2-A, Atkinson County returns to the fold, in addition to all the schools Irwin County and Turner County have been playing.

The GHSA does have one hole open in their classification plan. The Meriwether County school board is considering consolidating Manchester and Greenville. Both possibilities have been considered in the alignment. A combined school would be in AAA. Individual Manchester and Greenville would be AA and A, respectively.

All schools have until Dec. 13 to appeal to be put in a different region, but not a new class.

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Jensen Rainey (left) and Josie Arant will both be participating in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship next week in North Carolina.

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