By R. Alan Richardson, Sports Editor
In last week’s issue of the Morgan County Citizen, it was noted that further changes by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) would continue to change the landscape as far as reclassification is concerned. Doug Connelly noted that those changes could dramatically change the region situation as far as Morgan County High School is concerned.
According to reliable sources, the GHSA was to hear final appeals on class changes (i.e. Class AAA to AA or AAAA to AAA as examples) over two weeks ago. However, over 20 schools were heard at this past week’s GHSA meeting to be granted or denied a class change. Some of those granted appeals included Westside Augusta and Burke County. Westside, originally in 4-AAA with Morgan County, will now compete in class AA while Burke County, originally in AAAA with the Savannah schools will now compete in 4-AAA against the Bulldogs. Why is this problematic? Burke County has been a dominating force in AAAA football and other sports over the past several years. They will still have AAAA student population numbers, but compete against smaller schools in 4-AAA. Burke County was most recently crowned Region Champs in their current region before being upset in the first round of the State Playoffs.
The Bears of Burke County certainly had a beef. Their closest region opponent in Savannah was a one-way trip of 103 miles. Due to isolation, they were granted the appeal. However, they will now be the longest trip distance for Morgan County of 103 miles. This will add a large amount of time to the travel for all of the Bulldog teams.
In a meeting this past week conducted by athletic director Doug Connelly, the coaches voted on whether they should appeal the region placement with the new changes. A majority of those coaches voted not to appeal the decision and continue to compete in 4-AAA. The region now includes Morgan, Thomson, Harlem, Richmond Academy, Cross Creek, Hephzibah, and Burke County. The Dogs will compete in this region for the next two years starting in 2020-21.