Big shake up in AHSAA classifications for 2018-2020
By Tim Gayle
Every two years, Alabama High School Athletic Association programs have to contend with new rivalries as they move up or down in the classification system.
The biggest change for the 2018-2020 classification period involves St. James, who drops from their customary position as a Class 4A program to become the largest school in Class 3A.
The Trojans haven’t been a 3A program since 1999 when they were in a region with arch rival Trinity, Montgomery Academy and Holtville. St. James will be paired with Montgomery Academy once again, but its other region opponents include Beulah, Bullock County, Dadeville, Pike Road, Prattville Christian and Southside (Selma), with region changes depending on whether the Trojans are playing baseball, basketball or softball.
As a result, teams that have become traditional rivals over the past two decades, such as Alabama Christian and Catholic, will not be included on the football schedule in 2018 or 2019. Trinity remains as the year-end battle between the two city private school rivals.
“Those are things that are out of our control and wherever we fall, whether it’s 3A or 5A or 4A, we’ll tee it up and play it,” St. James coach Jimmy Perry said. “I’m still playing Trinity 10th and MA will be in my region but as far as getting games with the other schools, it makes it very, very difficult. But we’ll still play each other in JV (junior varsity) and middle school. I’m in an eight-team region so I don’t have but three open dates.”
The remaining local teams in the old Class 4A Region 2 will remain region rivals as Alabama Christian, Catholic and Trinity kept Ashford and Dale County in their football region, lost St. James and Bullock County and picked up Headland and Booker T. Washington.
In other sports, LAMP, Catholic and Trinity will be region foes in baseball, basketball and softball.
Eufaula competed as a Class 3A team in the old four-classification system and as a Class 5A program in the six-classification system. For the first time in school history, the Tigers will compete in Class 6A with region rivals Carver, Dothan, Northview, Park Crossing, Russell County and Sidney Lanier, becoming a regular fixture in Cramton Bowl games on Friday night.
Stanhope Elmore, the seventh team in the former 6A Region 2, will move to Region 3 with Benjamin Russell, Opelika and Wetumpka. That region loses Chelsea, Chilton County, Helena and Pelham and adds Calera and Selma in addition to the Mustangs.
Tallassee, primarily a Class 4A program in the modern (1984) classification system, will rejoin Class 5A, where the Tigers competed in 2006-11 and 2014-15. During that time, Tallassee was 51-36 and 1-6 in the playoffs. The Tigers will be in Region 2 with Beauregard, Carroll, Charles Henderson, Greenville, Rehobeth and Valley.
Tallassee’s old region, Region 3 in 4A, will keep Childersburg, Elmore County, Handley, Holtville and Leeds, replacing Tallassee, Munford and Dadeville with Lincoln and Talladega.
Billingsley, which has struggled as a 2A program in 2002-05, 2010-11 and 2016-17, will once again be in Class 1A and will avoid the same region as arch rival Maplesville. The Bears will be in Region 4 with Autaugaville, Lanett, Loachapoka, Notasulga, Verbena and Wadley. As a 2A program, Billingsley compiled a 38-45 record and was winless in four trips to the playoffs. The Bears missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
The 7A teams remain unchanged from the previous classification, with Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee and Prattville joining Auburn, Central, Enterprise and Smiths Station in Region 2 in 2018-19 and 2019-2020.