Richmond Hill High School got some good news and some not-so-good news earlier this week when the Georgia High School Association’s reclassification committee met in Thomaston.
The good news is the Wildcats won’t have to compete in Class AAAAAA, the state’s classification for its largest schools, for the next two school years.
The GHSA decided both Richmond Hill and Effingham County high schools were geographically isolated from other schools their size and left both in Class AAAAA.
The not-so-good news is RHHS will instead be part of a beefed up Region 3-AAAAA that is already being called the top football region in Class AAAAA by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
That could make it tougher for the football program, on the best two-year run in its history, to duplicate recent successes, not that local school officials were complaining about the new lineup.
“Richmond Hill High School is excited about the new region and we anticipate great rivalries between all of the schools in the next two years,” said RHHS athletic director Mickey Bayens. “All of our athletic teams accept the challenges of what this new region alignment will bring beginning next August.”
RHHS football coach Lyman Guy said the Wildcats welcome the challenges.
“Hopefully with the Lord’s blessings and hard work, we will stay competitive,” he said.
And assistant superintendent Dr. Trey Robertson, who has been keeping tabs on the GHSA reclassification process for Bryan County Schools, said the decision to leave RHHS in Class AAAAA is a good one.
“We’re real pleased with the way GHSA viewed Richmond Hill High School,” Robertson said. “It would’ve been an undue burden on student athletes and school financially. This is right where Richmond Hill needs to be, in a competitive region with a lot of good local rivalries.”
In addition to RHHS and ECHS, the new region will include current 3-AAAAA members Ware County, Glynn Academy and Bradwell Institute. Newcomers include Camden County High School in all but football, Brunswick, Coffee County, South Effingham and Statesboro.
Bryan County High School, meanwhile, remains in Region 2-AA in a region that loses Atkinson County but otherwise will be unchanged.
Every two years, the Georgia High School Association uses spring enrollment numbers to put schools into six classifications, broken down geographically into eight regions per classification.
Richmond Hill has an enrollment of 1,832, which would have made it one of the smallest in Class AAAAAA had the GHSA chosen that route. By contrast, Mill Creek High School is the state’s largest with more than 3,700 students, and there are six other high schools in AAAAAA with enrollment exceeding 3,000.
Local officials had intended to appeal if RHHS wound up in Class AAAAAA for the next two years because they believed the Wildcats would have wound up in Region 1-AAAAAA, a region centered around Valdosta with schools as far southwest as Colquitt County.