Area teams affected by AHSAA reclassification


Messenger file photo by Colin Edwards 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control’s bi-annual re-classifications saw three local schools move up and eight stay put for the 2024 and 2025 football seasons.
Southside was placed back to 6A after a two-year stint in 5A, during which the Panthers went 13-9 with a pair of state playoff appearances.
“I’m excited to join a talented group of coaches and players and begin a new rivalry with Gadsden City,” said Southside head football coach Miles Holcomb. “I think this will give us a great opportunity to see how far our program has come in the last three seasons. We feel like we are coming off a good season that didn’t finish the way we wanted it to, but we bring back a ton of experience on both sides of the ball.”
Southside will join Gadsden City in Class 6A Region 8, which also includes Buckhorn, Fort Payne, Hazel Green, Lee-Huntsville and Mae Jemison.
“Being from Emma Sansom [High School], we had Southside in our [football] area for a while,” said GCHS football coach Ali Smith. “I don’t know much about [Southside] right now, but I know they made the playoffs the last couple of years and have a great tradition. It will be nice to have a region [opponent] right down the road instead of an hour away.”
Hokes Bluff moved to Class 4A after four years in 3A, where the Eagles compiled an 18-23 record with one postseason appearance. Hokes Bluff will share Region 6 with Etowah, Ashville, Alexandria, Cherokee County, Cleburne County, Munford, Oneonta and White Plains.
“Maybe this could be a tougher region than we had in 3A, but I don’t know by how much,” said Hokes Bluff head football coach Mike Robertson. “The top 3A teams in that region were up there. We played Etowah some when I was an assistant, but I really don’t know what kind of talent level they have.”
In accordance with the AHSAA Competitive Balance Success Factor, Class 1A state runnerup Coosa Christian moved up to 2A Region 6, where the Conquerors will compete alongside West End, Cleveland, Cold Springs, Falkville, Southeastern and Susan Moore.
“Nothing will change for us,” said Coosa head football coach Mark O’Bryant. “We’ll have the same approach and follow the system that’s in place. Our goals remain the same.”
Glencoe and Westbrook Christian remain in 3A with Region 6 opponents Piedmont, Locust Fork, Ohatchee, Saks Walter Wellborn and Weaver. Gaston stays put in 2A with Region 7 rivals Cedar Bluff, North Sand Mountain, Pisgah, Pleasant Valley, Sand Rock and Section.
According to the AHSAA, classification is based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) figures furnished by the State Department of Education for public schools for grades 9 through 11 plus eighth-grade hold-back students. Member private schools report that same data directly to the AHSAA. An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for classifying private school members. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes. A competitive balance success factor is also applied to private school sports teams that affects approximately 10 percent of private school teams.
The new classification lists 32 schools in Class 7A. The other classes break down as follows: Class 6A (57); Class 5A (62); Class 4A (66); Class 3A 65); Class 2A (62); and Class 1A (76) plus two associate members for a total of 420.
In volleyball, Gadsden City and Southside shares 6A Area 14 with Fort Payne; Sardis shares 5A Area 13 with Boaz, Crossville and Douglas; Etowah and Ashville share Area 11 with J.B. Pennington and Oneonta; Hokes Bluff shares 4A Area 12 with Alexandria, Cherokee County and White Plains; Glencoe and Westbrook share 3A Area 12 with Piedmont and Ohatchee; West End shares 2A Area 12 with Cleveland, Southeastern and Susan Moore; Gaston shares 2A Area 13 with Cedar Bluff, Pleasant Valley and Sand Rock; and Coosa Christian shares 1A Area 11 with Appalachian, Jefferson Christian, Ragland and Victory Christian.
In cross country, Gadsden City and Southside share 6A Section 5 with Clay-Chalkville, Cullman, Fort Payne, Huffman, Mortimer Jordan, Oxford, Pell City and Pinson Valley; Sardis shares 5A Section 2 with Beauregard, Central Clay County, Crosville, Elmore County, Holtville, Jacksonville, Lincoln, Moody, Springville, St. Clair County and Valley; Etowah and Ashville share 4A Section 3 with Anniston, Cherokee County, Fultondale, Good Hope, Hanceville, Handley, Jacksonville, Munford, Oneonta and White Plains; Westbrook Christian and Glencoe share 3A Section 2 with Beulah, Dadeville, Glenwood, Lee-Scott, Ohatchee, Piedmont, Saks and White Plains; West End and Gaston share 2A Section 3 with Athens Bible, Cedar Bluff, Cullman Christian, Decatur Heritage, Falkville, Lindsay Lane Christian, North Sand Mountain, Pisgah, Sand Rock, Section, Skyline, Susan Moore, Tanner and Woodville.
In flag football, Gadsden City shares 6A Region 7 with Albertville, Clay-Chalkville, Hewitt-Trussville, Huffman, Oxford and Pell City.
Alignments were also released for fall sports, which recently completed championship play for the current school year, based on the number of schools declaring to participate in a sport for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. Also included for the first time are alignments for Girls’ Flag Football as a championship sport.
Alignments for winter and spring sports will be determined following completion of those championship seasons. While most alignments are for seven classes, some sports programs may include two or more classes in a division.
This article was supplemented by

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