AHSAA reboots system



The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) reclassifies and realigns every two years and this year’s changes are some of the biggest ever.

Gone is the six-classification (1A-6A) system. In comes the first major change in the AHSAA’s structure since 1984 with the addition of a seventh class.

The new 7A comprises the 32 largest schools in the state. The new class starts with Hoover – average daily enrollment of 1978 students in grades 10-12 – and ends with James Clemens (of Huntsville) – with an enrollment of 1008 students.

The changes filtered down to Blount County schools.

J.B. Pennington moves from 3A to 4A, Cleveland moves back down to 2A from 3A, and Southeastern moves up to 2A from 1A.

The other schools – Appalachian (1A), Hayden (5A), Locust Fork (4A), Oneonta (4A), and Susan Moore (3A) – did not change class.

Here are the numbers for Blount County schools: 1A Appalachian – 139.35 students; 2A Southeastern – 147.45 students; 2A Cleveland – 204.55; 3A Susan Moore – 264.85; 4A J.B. Pennington – 286.75; 4A Locust Fork – 296.30; 4A Oneonta – 330; and 5A Hayden – 519.10. Football

With the reclassification comes realignment and there will be new opponents on the football schedule for all of the teams in our area.

Appalachian (5-4 last year) moves from Region 6 to Region 5 and the Eagles will get several new teams on the region schedule. Shades Mtn. Christian (2-7) and Ragland (10-2) stay on as region opponents but the Eagles pick up Donoho (7-3), Talladega County-Central (5-6), Victory Christian (1-9 in 2A), Wadley (4-7), and Winterboro (0-10).

Cleveland (5-5) drops down from 3A and returns to familiar surroundings – the Panthers were a 2A school from 1984 to 2012. Cleveland gets a Sand Mountainheavy group in the new 2A Region 7 with Collinsville (7- 4 in 1A), Fyffe (12-2), Gaston (7-4), Ider (1-9), Section (6- 4), and West End (0-10).

Southeastern (1-8) doesn’t catch a break. At all. The Mustangs – now looking for a new head coach – move up from 1A to 2A and they jump into a loaded Region 6 with two-time defending state champion Tanner (13-1). Addison (9-2), Cold Springs (6-4), Falkville (9-2 in 1A), Sumiton Christian (3-6 in 1A), and Tarrant (3-7 in 3A) make up the rest of what looks to be a very tough group.

Susan Moore (2-8) holds steady in 3A Region 5 but the Bulldogs are the only holdover from a region that shifts from the east side of the state to the west. Hanceville (9-2), Holly Pond (0-10), Oakman (10-2 in 2A), Vinemont (3-7), Winfield (6-5), and Winston County (4-6) are the new competition in a seven-team region.

Defending 4A state champion Oneonta (14-1) moves from Region 6 to Region 7 and the Redskins will bring improving Locust Fork (6-4) with them. J.B. Pennington (3-8 in 3A) comes in but just barely – the Tigers are the third-smallest 4A in the state, just three students above the 3A cutoff. DAR (6-5), Good Hope (7-4 in 3A), North Jackson (2-8), Priceville (4-6), and Westminster Christian (5-5 in 3A) are the other teams in the far-flung region.

Finally, Hayden (1-9) stays in 5A Region 6 and, like Appalachian, the Wildcats keep some traditional region opponents while picking up some new schools to butt heads with. The old region foes – Springville (3-7), Mortimer Jordan (4-7), and Moody (6-5) – are joined by Alexandria (3-7 in 4A), Anniston (5-5 in 4A), Lincoln (4- 7 in 4A), and St. Clair County (5-6 in 4A). Other sports

Basketball, like football, will feature new teams in different areas.

1A Appalachian – Area 12 with Donoho, Faith Christian, Ragland, and Sacred Heart

2A Cleveland – Area 12 with Asbury, Gaston, and West End

2A Southeastern – Area 11 with Altamont, Sumiton Christian, and Tarrant

3A Susan Moore – Area 10 with Hanceville, Holly Pond, and Vinemont

4A Locust Fork, Oneonta, and J.B. Pennington – Area 10 with Good Hope

5A Hayden – Area 11 with Moody, Mortimer Jordan, and Springville

Baseball and softball areas have generally mirrored basketball over the years. That remains basically the same this year except for Appalachian where 1A Area 11 baseball will have a slightly different look compared to 1A Area 11 softball.

Baseball

1A Appalachian – Area 11 with Decatur Heritage, Meek, and St. Bernard

2A Southeastern – Area 11 with Altamont, Sumiton Christian, and Tarrant

2A Cleveland – Area 12 with Asbury, Gaston, and West End

3A Susan Moore – Area 10 with Hanceville, Holly Pond, and Vinemont

4A Locust Fork, Oneonta, and J.B. Pennington – Area 10 with Good Hope

5A Hayden – Area 11 with Moody, Mortimer Jordan, and Springville

Softball

1A Appalachian – Area 11 with Meek, Parrish, and St. Bernard

2A Southeastern – Area 11 with Altamont, Sumiton Christian, and Tarrant

2A Cleveland – Area 12 with Asbury, Gaston, and West End

3A Susan Moore – Area 10 with Hanceville, Holly Pond, and Vinemont

4A Locust Fork, Oneonta, and J.B. Pennington – Area 10 with Good Hope

5A Hayden – Area 11 with Moody, Mortimer Jordan, and Springville

There are also new regions (or sections) for other sports, as well.

Blount County’s two high school soccer programs – Oneonta and Susan Moore – have been placed in a very competitive Section 5 with Childersburg, Fultondale, Leeds, and Altamont.

The realignment keeps the playoff system intact for most sports, except for wrestling.

Wrestling is now divided into two divisions – north and south – for 1A-5A. All three of Blount County’s wrestling teams – Hayden, J.B. Pennington, and Susan Moore – have been placed in the north division. However, some schools in our area – Moody, St. Clair County, and Springville, for example – were sent to the south. There are 23 schools in the north division and 25 in the south.