New regions under reclassification
Appling County, Brantley County, Coastal Savannah (new school opening), Jeff Davis, Long County, McIntosh County Academy, Pierce County, St. Vincent’s Academy and Tattnall County
Region 2-AAAA Sub-region A
Brunswick, Glynn Academy, Liberty County, Richmond Hill, Ware County and Wayne County
Effingham County, Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside, Evans, South Effingham and Statesboro
Region3-AAAAA Sub-region A
Beach, Benedictine, Camden County, Groves and Savannah Arts Academy
Bradwell Institute, Jenkins, Johnson, Savannah, Savannah High and Windsor Forest
The Georgia High School Association Reclassification Committee has announced its proposed region reclassification, which moves Liberty County High School from region 3-AAA to 2-AAAA.
Bradwell Institute, which, when based on enrollment, falls under AAAA, has opted to play up in the AAAAA region for the past few years. Now their area will be broken down into sub-regions.
Under the reclassification, nothing will change for Long County High School, which will remain in region 2-AA.
The proposals will go to the executive committee in Forsyth for approval Jan. 12.
According to information posted on the Georgia High School Association Web site, Liberty County High School and Ware County High School were moved to 2-AAAA sub-region A after the committee declared the schools to be isolated in accordance with By-law 4.22(f).
When a region has 10 schools, it is divided into sub-regions according to the by-laws of the GHSA.
If approved, the move places LCHS in sub-region A of 2-AAAA along with Richmond Hill, Wayne County, Brunswick, Glynn Academy and Ware County.
For Panther sports fans and family members, the moves means the most distant away game will be in
Waycross, a 90-minute drive.
"For travel purposes, it turned out to be the best thing," Liberty County High School football coach Kirk Warner said. "All these trips are trips parents can make after they get off work. For some of the trips we had in other region games, parents would either have to get off work early, make other arrangements or not go to the game at all. I think this is going to be good for our fan base and will give them a lot more opportunities to see us on the road and not wait for just the home games."
BI Tiger athletic director Jim Walsh Jr. said they have opted to play up in AAAAA for the past few years to reduce travel time and help the fan base, but more importantly, it’s a financial decision.
"We have to look at costs," he said. "The last we heard, we are going to be responsible for the cost of traveling and that creates a financial burden for athletic programs."
Walsh said football has only five away games, but some sports, like basketball, have many more. The school had to consider the cost for all their sporting activities, not just one sport.
"If it was something that was guaranteed that we would be staying closer to home we would look at staying in AAAA," Walsh said. "The consensus among our coaches is that this is in the best interest for the student who would have to be pulled out of school earlier than they are now and for us financially."
As for the region itself, the Tigers are familiar with all their opponents and have played them in the past.
Warner said his football team played against everyone in their new sub-region except Ware County.
"It really doesn’t make a difference to me," Warner said about facing a new region schedule. "Hopefully, we’ve gotten our program to the point where it doesn’t make a difference who we play."
In football, the Panthers finished 4-2 in Region 3-AAA and 8-3 overall, making it to the second round of the playoffs before they were eliminated. The Tigers finished 4-3 in Region 3-AAAAA and 6-5 overall, losing in round one of the playoffs to Stephenson.
The GHSA committee will also amend by-law 4.21 to specify a reclassification cycle of two years rather than four years.
In accordance with by-law 4.23(f), a school may appeal its region placement and may ask for lateral transfer to another region in their classification.