The Georgia High School Association initially released new classifications and region alignments in mid-November, but the last few days have been eventful to say the least. The GHSA released new, and hopefully final, region alignments on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
The new regions only apply to the A, AA, and AAA classifications and greatly affect who Long County and Liberty County will play over the next two seasons. The Blue Tide and Panthers have been placed in a region featuring several public and private schools in Savannah.
The two neighboring county schools will be in nine-team region consisting of Beach, Calvary Day, Groves, Johnson, Savannah Country Day, Savannah Christian, and St. Vincent’s Academy. The latter school is a girls-only school and does not play football but will play all girls sports.
There have been several changes to the classifications over the last month after the GHSA changed upped the enrollment number of the single A classification, causing several larger private schools to fall from AA to the smallest classification.
This caused a lot of the smaller single A private schools to opt to leave for the Georgia Independent Schools Association, leaving the Single A Private with less than 30 football-playing schools.
The solution? Apply the 3.0 multiplier to all private schools in single A, which caused most to jump to AA and some to AAA, one being perennial playoff school Savannah Christian.
The GHSA also settled on once again combining the single A classification after having it split into private and public classifications for over a decade. They then split the classification into two “divisions” with the schools with higher enrollment placed in Division 1 and the smaller schools placed into Division 2.
For the regular season, single A schools will play each other across divisions, but a power ratings system will be used to determine playoff teams for each division at the end of the regular season.
For the Blue Tide, they will be affected by the split the most as they are the only team from the current Region 1-AAA remaining for next year.
Brantley County went down in the initial reclassifications, Appling County and Tattnall County went down in the reclassification in late November, and Pierce County and Vidalia, who was bumped up to AAA in the initial reclassification, both appealed down and won due to being two of the smallest schools in AAA.