Cobb schools take umbrage with GHSA’s changes
by Carlton D. White
December 19, 2013 12:32 AM | 4461 views | 8 8 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Allatoona’s Justin Wade (9), Carter Anderson (45) and Hunter Allen wait for the coin flip before their game at Rome on Sept. 13. Allatoona administrators and coaches looked forward to continuing their rivalry with Rome when the GHSA set new regions two weeks ago, but plans changed Tuesday.
<BR>Special photo by Daniel Varnado
Allatoona’s Justin Wade (9), Carter Anderson (45) and Hunter Allen wait for the coin flip before their game at Rome on Sept. 13. Allatoona administrators and coaches looked forward to continuing their rivalry with Rome when the GHSA set new regions two weeks ago, but plans changed Tuesday.
Special photo by Daniel Varnado
Allatoona had the best of both worlds.

Nestled right up against Paulding County and 10 minutes from the Bartow County line, it had the perfect scenario two weeks ago when the Georgia High School Association announced its region alignments for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

Allatoona was slotted into a new Region 5AAAAA with four schools from Paulding County and two from Bartow, as well as Rome and Dalton.

It was an ideal situation for Allatoona, a natural rival for the Paulding and Bartow county schools. The Buccaneers had also established rivalries with Dalton and Rome under previous region alignments.

“It was the best we could possibly ask for,” Allatoona athletic director Benji Morrell said.

However, the GHSA’s reclassification committee met again Tuesday to review the eight Class AAAAA regions, and Allatoona will now be in a Region 5 not all that different from what it’s faced the past two years.

Instead of taking on Dalton, Rome and the schools from Bartow County, the Buccaneers will maintain rivalries from the current Region 5 with Lithia Springs, New Manchester and Villa Rica. Chapel Hill and Alexander, two Douglas County schools, will also be added.

Allatoona will still face the same Paulding County schools — aside from North Paulding, which is going into Class AAAAAA — in the restructured region.

Cass, Dalton, Rome and Woodland were switched into a 13-team Region 7AAAAA that also includes Sprayberry and Kell.

“Right now, we’re disappointed,” Morrell said. “You would hope that the first time they put the regions together, it would be the best possible structure for everybody.

“We were really excited about how our region shaped up, but this restructure is disappointing.”

Morrell hoped that Allatoona would be able restart a rivalry with Dalton from the schools’ two years in Region 7AAA, and he looked forward to matchups against Rome, Woodland and Cass.

“We’ll be able to stay with the Paulding County schools, but we also still have the Douglas County schools,” Morrell said. “We had a good rivalry going with Dalton a few years after the school first opened up, and Cass and Woodland are close, so there’s a rivalry there, too. We liked the idea of kind of going up that I-75 corridor to play those schools.”

Morrell said he’s heard that the feeling is mutual with some his contemporaries. He has heard that as many as three schools from the original restructured Region 5 could petition the GHSA to move from Region 7 back to Region 5 by the state association’s Jan. 3 deadline.

“I think we’re stuck in our region,” Morrell said, “but I’m being told a few teams are looking at petitioning to get back to our region, so we’ll have to wait.”

The reclassification committee will hear appeals for lateral transfers — from one region to another in the same classification — after the new year before ratifying the new regions Jan. 14.

“We’re in a waiting period right now with regards to our schedule because our region could change again,” Morrell said. “We’re stuck until at least Jan. 3, when the petitions are due.”

The realignment change also affected Kell and Sprayberry.

Originally placed in a 10-team Region 7, the schools’ football coaches had planned a 10-game regular-season schedule, which they must now throw away.

“Everybody in the region is upset about (the change),” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “It’s ridiculous. They set up the region and make a wholesale change two weeks later, making it harder for everybody to get games.

“On top of that, we go from a straight 10-game region to having two unbalanced subregions, which causes problems not only for us, but also for the other sports. It’s frustrating for sure.”

Now, the region will be subdivided, with Kell and Sprayberry matched up with Cambridge, Forsyth Central, North Springs and Riverwood. The four schools relocated from Region 5 will be in a subregion with Creekview, River Ridge and Sequoyah.

North Atlanta, which was originally placed in Region 5, was instead shifted to Region 6.

The region’s coaches plan to meet Friday to discuss scheduling, but Shackelford feels like the meeting could prove pointless.

“It could all be in vain,” he said. “We started out with Plan A, and now we’re moving to Plan B on Friday. Because of petitions, we could come back after the break and have to plan for Plan C because of schools petitioning out.

“I just don’t understand why the GHSA couldn’t get it right the first time. We could be looking at adding another classification or expanding the regions.”

Whitefield Academy is also in scheduling limbo, having already petitioned for a lateral transfer from Region 5A to 6A. The only Cobb County school in Region 5, Whitefield administrators hope to be placed with county rivals Mount Paran Christian, North Cobb Christian and Walker in Region 6.

“We made the request for two reasons,” athletic director Lynn Dupree said. “The first is that there are seven schools in 6A closer to us than the closest school in 5A. The second is that there are three Cobb County private schools in 6A and we have a great relationship with them. We have a strong rivalry with two of these schools, and we wanted to keep that rivalry intact.”

Another notable transfer request includes Milton, which wants to move from Region 5AAAAAA — a region comprised primarily of schools from east Cobb and Cherokee counties — to Region 6, which would consist of schools mostly of Fulton and Forsyth counties.

Milton, however, would be separated from Roswell, which did not petition to join its longtime rival in the move to Region 6.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 19, 2013
Billy Shackleford needs to worry about coaching and not realignment, his record sucks at Sprayberry. If the principle would get his head out of Billy's rear-end he would see it's hurting the kids!!!!
December 19, 2013
Well aren't you just a jerk!! Coach Shackelford was 32-32 going into this year with several playoff appearances under his belt. This year was a rough year for the team and program after losing several good players to other programs. Hate to break it to you but there aren't a bunch of coaches just dying to be head coach at Sprayberry. Shack and his staff work their tails off with the resources they have. While we're at it, you may need to worry about your grammar and not Billy. The PRINCIPAL is a new hire and fully supportive of all of his coaches. Now what is it that you do for a living so we can all come and criticize you and your performance. Does it involve teenage boys?
December 21, 2013
Hahaha jerkalert. You are hilarious! It's funny how Sprayberry counts the play in games as play offs. 32-32 was the result of coaches like Jimmy Chambers developing future jacket players. The problem has evolved to where players leave Sprayberry before they start ninth grade so they don't have to play for shackleford. Even moving to 5A hasn't helped Sprayberry under shackleford. It should have but that just goes to show the magnitude of failure.

GHSA is Useless
December 19, 2013
The GHSA should focus more on enforcing the recruiting rules they put in place instead of region alignments. The alignments mean nothing when certain teams are cheating. DO you think the McEachern girls basketball team cares what region they are in? No, because they are going to recruit players from every region to win another championship. Come on GHSA, do your job or get lost.
Hater Not I
December 20, 2013
What people have to realize McEachern does not have to recruit. The facilities are far superior to some colleges and universities in the country. If I had a son or a daughter and they played football or basketball they would attend McEachern. I attend alot of sporting events in the state and McEachern is a sports destination. And if your program wins players and parents will move. Everyone wants to be a winner. You better be worried about Pebblebrook Boys program. They look really good. I have heard several players from other programs talking about leaving to go to Pebblebrook. I saw their middle school program and it looks just as good especially 8th, 6th, and 5th.
steve j
December 21, 2013
i agree GHSA is useless. look at lassiter the past couple of years. they wouldn't have won many games if it weren't for transfers.
Ignorance is Bliss
December 21, 2013
Hater Not, you are a misguided fool! You must not actually know what McEachern girls did or not understand the rules. When one of your boosters, OMAR COOPER, goes out of his way to buy a Kell player, CALIYA COOPER, sneakers, electronics, etc, and asks her repeatedly over a two year period to go to McEachern, then that is UNDUE INFLUENCE and a violation of the rules. Sure, McEachern has nice facilities and it may be easy to convince a family to move, but the family didn't move! The family still lives in the Kell district and Caliya was adopted by OMAR COOPER just so she could play at McEachern. Caliya's mom is a sinlge woman with 4 children who is on disability and he ripped her daughter away for her to help McEachern. So, the McEachern folks exploited this girl and made her believe basketball is more iomportant than her family. That is screwed up. What is worse is that the McEachern and Kell principal, the GHSA, and the CObb County HR department is now aware of this and is dragging their feet on fixing the situation by putting the girl back with her family. The people who are supposed to protect this poor child have let her down!
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