TIFTON -- If the 2004-05 and 2005-06 region plans announced by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Wednesday go through as planned, AAAAA will have a heavy Atlanta flavor. Six of the eight AAAAA regions will be comprised of schools from the Atlanta area.
Region 1-AAAAA, however, will be one region that will remain almost unscathed. The proposed region will be basically the same as the only change will be Houston County joining 1-AAAAA, while Lee County will move down to AAAA.
Tift County, Colquitt County, Lowndes, Coffee and Valdosta would be the other five teams in the region.
"We kind of figured it would go that way," said Tift athletics director and head football coach Tommy Seward.
Having coached there for five years before coming back to Tift County, Seward is familiar with Houston County.
"They have got a good program, they will be a credit to this region," stated Seward.
With the metro area housing six of the eight regions, the only other South Georgia region will be in 3-AAAAA.
"We expected that, because Atlanta has had all of the growth. We will just have to keep our region strong and competitive with those Atlanta regions," said Seward.
Worth County would return to Region 1-AAA. Joining Worth would be Cairo, Crisp County, Dougherty, Monroe (Albany) and Westover.
Berrien and Cook High are in the proposed 1-AA. Those schools would be joined by Albany, Brooks County, Early County, Mitchell-Baker and Thomasville.
The proposed 2-AA would include Irwin County and Fitzgerald. The Indians and Canes would be joined by Appling County, Bacon County, Brantley County, Charlton County, Jeff Davis and Pierce County.
Irwin and Fitzgerald have always been heated rivals due to the proximity of the communities.
"Fitzgerald has always been a great rivalry and it is usually a great game. If we do end up in the same region, there is no telling what that will add to that game," said Irwin County football coach Jute Wilson.
It will be a move down for Fitzgerald, which has been in Class AAA for the past several years.
"There are pros and cons about staying in AAA or moving down to AA. But, I think we will be better off at the top of AA, rather than the bottom of AAA," said Fitzgerald athletics director Jim Wells.
New Fitzgerald football coach Robby Robinson feels like life will not be easier for his team with the move down.
"I think AA is probably the toughest classification in the state. You have got schools like Charlton, Buford, Early, Cook, Lamar County and Greater Atlanta Christian. They have all been in the Dome in recent years," said Robinson. "We did not get any favors by the move down to AA."
The coach added, "I like this region, because it will match us against similar communities."
Wells also indicated that he is pleased with the proposed region when he said, "this region would be very competitive. We have had some of those schools in our region before, so we are somewhat familiar with them."
Wells also does not know what a Fitzgerald-Irwin region football game would be like.
"That is always been a big rivalry. If it becomes a region game there would be a lot more at stake," Wells said.
Turner County High would give the Tiftarea a representative in Class A. In the proposed regions, Turner would be in 1-A along with Atkinson County, Baconton Charter, Clinch County, Echols County, Lanier County, Miller County, Pelham, Seminole County and Ware Magnet.
These regions are not finalized as member schools may appeal their placement to the GHSA Reclassification Committee. Those appeals must be submitted to the GHSA office on or before July 11.
The committee will then hear any appeals on July 16 at a 10 a.m. meeting.
React to this story:
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