By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
PREP FOOTBALL: GHSA reclassification affects area schools
SC moves up
Social Circle joins Region 8-AA beginning in 2022 —a move up from Class A-Public. - photo by Covington News/File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — On Nov. 11, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced new region alignments for 2022-2024 seasons. The announcement came after the GHSA released the final reclassification a couple of weeks earlier. 

When the final alignments came out, each of the four area schools were affected in different ways. 

Newton stays put in Region 4-AAAAAAA while Alcovy is one of two schools remaining in Region 3-AAAAAA. Eastside welcomes three new teams to Region 8-AAAAA and Social Circle prepares for competition in Region 8-AA. 

Here’s how each team is directly affected. 

Alcovy

The Tigers will get a chance to defend their Region 3-AAAAAA championship next year. However, they’ll have six new teams battling for the region crown. 

Making up the eight-team region is: Lovejoy, Forest Park, Jonesboro, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill and Woodward Academy. Along with Alcovy, Rockdale County returns to the region. 

The biggest difference for Alcovy is the distance it’ll travel next year. And, while it is “bittersweet” to not face the same region opponents next year, athletic director Thomas Lowe highlighted how glad he was to have closer road games. 

“It will be a relief to have our region games a little closer to home,” Lowe said. “If I’m not mistaken, the furthest school in the proposed region is an hour away, versus the over two hour ride to two of our current region opponents. I think that is important when we have games on school nights to get our student-athletes back at a decent time.” 

Eastside

As members of Region 8-AAAAA, the Eagles will have nearly a brand new region to contend with the next two years. 

Eastside, Clarke Central and Loganville are the only returning schools. Flowery Branch, Heritage, Jefferson and Winder-Barrow are the newcomers. 

Though Heritage and Winder-Barrow will be new to this region alignment, Eastside is no stranger to those two teams. 

Across all of their sports, the Eagles have competed against Heritage and Winder-Barrow the past few years. 

For athletic director Phil Davidson, he’s excited to compete against a new set of teams. But the No. 1 goal for all the athletic teams remains the same regardless of the opponent. 

“Our goal continues to be providing the highest level of athletic and academic excellence for our student athletes and community,” Davidson said. “We welcome the challenge of playing in a region with so many programs who have similarly high standards for their own student-athletes across all sports.” 

Newton 

For the next two years, Region 4-AAAAAAA pretty much stays intact. 

Rejoining Newton are Brookwood, South Gwinnett, Grayson and Parkview. Archer is the only newcomer for 2022. 

Adding a sixth school to the fold adds even more pressure to make the playoffs coming out of this region. 

Other than that, the Rams don’t foresee many changes to their approach in the upcoming couple of years. 

Athletic Director Vincent Byams relishes Newton’s place in the Class 7A classification as well as seeing the Rams go up against the schools in the new region. 

“As a school we’ll continue to work hard and strive to compete against some of the largest schools in the state,” Byams said. “Our region is one of the most competitive regions in the state for all sports. At the end of the day our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete against some of the best schools in the state in the highest classification.”  

Social Circle

Of the four local teams, the Redskins are the most affected by the new classification and region alignments. 

Moving up from Class A-Public, Social Circle will now join Region 8-AA beginning in 2022. 

The Redskins did appeal the GHSA’s decision to stay in Class A-Public, but to no avail. Now, Social Circle will prepare to compete across all sports with many different opponents, including Banks County, East Jackson, Barrow, Elbert County, Rabun County and Union County.

Plans have already been made to transition into the new region by athletic director Craig Hargrove. 

“​​As with any change, we will adapt and prepare our student-athletes for the challenges of Region 8-AA,” Hargrove said. “We have spoken briefly with fellow Region 8-AA athletic directors to begin the process of organizing the newly aligned region with the goal of having 2022 fall schedules ready by early January.”