On Wednesday, the Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved the new 2010-2012 classifications in football and area alignments in basketball. The AHSAA realigns its classifications every couple of years due to changes in school enrollment.
In football, the Warriors are in a totally new region: Class 4A, Region 7.
Gone are traditional rivals like Alexandria and Hokes Bluff. Enter new region opponents Butler, Crossville, DAR, Douglas, Fairview, Guntersville and North Jackson.
Butler drops from Class 5A and Crossville moves up from Class 3A in the previous alignment. The rest of the region competed in Class 4A the past few seasons.
Even though Cherokee County coach Tripp Curry said he doesn’t know much about several teams in the Warriors’ new region, he feels it should be competitive.
“Other than Guntersville, we really haven’t played many of those teams,” Curry said. “Guntersville’s going to be well-coached and have good players. Butler is going to have a lot of great athletes. North Jackson’s going to be well-coached and have good players. The other ones, I don’t know how they’re going to be. It’ll be good, and it’ll be fun.”
“I’m just glad we didn’t get put in one of those nine-team regions. That would have really messed us up.”
One concern Curry does have is the travel involved.
Butler, which is in Huntsville, is 101 miles from Centre (a near 2-hour bus ride). North Jackson, located in Stevenson near the Tennessee border, is almost 75 miles away (an hour-and-a-half trip). Guntersville is almost a 50-mile trip for the Warriors.
“As far as money games go, in this day and time, you have to be concerned with finances,” Curry said. “Money-game wise, I think you’re going to have to try and get folks like Guntersville and North Jackson on opposite years. If you draw them both on the same year at home or the same year away, that away year is going to get you a little bit.”
Overall, however, Curry said it should be a positive change of pace, especially for the players.
The Warriors won’t be the only ones adapting to new teams in their respective regions.
Sand Rock remains in Class 2A, Region 6 with Fyffe, Ider, North Sand Mountain, Section and Westbrook Christian, but three new teams have been added to the region in Ohatchee, Pleasant Valley and Victory Christian. Those three replace Geraldine (now in 3A, Region 7) and West End (now in 2A, Region 7) from the previous alignment.
Pleasant Valley dropped from Class 3A and Victory Christian moved up from Class 1A in the previous alignment.
In Class 3A, the Piedmont Bulldogs will play in Region 6 along with Ashville, Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, J.B. Pennington, Saks, Susan Moore, Weaver and White Plains. The Bulldogs competed the last two seasons in Region 5 with Glencoe, Leeds, Pleasant Valley, Tarrant, Weaver, Wellborn and White Plains.
The new Class 1A, Region 7 has all the old members of Region 6. Those teams are Cedar Bluff, Collinsville, Gaston, Gaylesville, Skyline, Spring Garden, Valley Head and Woodville.
There’s also a lot of changes in store for area teams in basketball. The new Class 1A, Area 14 has four area teams in Cedar Bluff, Collinsville, Gaylesville and Spring Garden. Valley Head rounds out the five-team area.
In Class 2A, Area 13, Sand Rock will compete alongside Ohatchee, Pleasant Valley, West End and Westbrook Christian.
In Class 3A, Area 9, Piedmont is grouped with Saks, Wellborn, Weaver and White Plains.
Class 4A, Area 12 has Cherokee County along with Alexandria, Anniston, Cleburne County and Jacksonville.
Complete listings of the entire 2010-2012 football and basketball alignments can be found on the AHSAA website, www.ahsaa.com.