E.A. Sports Today

Oxford fully North

AHSAA alignments announced; 4A Anniston, Saks, 5A Cleburne County split sports between north and south

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The new AHSAA alignments are out for the next two years and at least one Calhoun County athletic director is happy with the results.

Oxford has returned to the north portion of the state in the 6A classification released by the governing body Wednesday.

The Yellow Jackets had been in Region 3, a south designation, for football and in the north for its other sports.

Their new football region includes Albertville, Brewer, Cullman, Fort Payne, Pell City and Southside. Their basketball area includes Pell City and Southside (replacing Chelsea).

“Oh yeah we’re happy,” Oxford AD Larry Davidson said. “The first thing, we just want to be in the North in all of them. We’ll take what we got, but that was a lot of bus drives for us. We’ll play where they put us, but we’re very happy.

“When you’re in two different regions like that … you don’t develop rivalries that way, plus everybody looks at travel. It’s a lot closer for us to Gadsden and go north, than it is for us to go to the south and spend two hours (traveling). We had to take three charter buses this year. When you’re having to get on a charter bus, you’re having to travel too far.”

It is said it would have cost the Yellow Jackets $20,000 in travel expense for their complete party if they had made the playoffs this past fall and gone to Mobile for an opening-round game.

Now, Anniston, Saks and Cleburne County will experience what the Yellow Jackets have for the last two years. Anniston and Saks will be in a north region for football, a south region for basketball; Cleburne County will be in a south region for football, north for basketball.

As expected, Anniston dropped to Class 4A and Cleburne County jumped to 5A. With the moves, Anniston becomes the fifth largest school in 4A and Cleburne County the seventh smallest school in 5A.

Anniston, in 4A prior to the previous round of realignment, will be in a north football region with Jacksonville, Saks, White Plains, Ashville, Cherokee County, Hokes Bluff and Oneonta.

The Bulldogs’ basketball area will include Saks, Munford and Handley. White Plains, Jacksonville, Cherokee County and Hokes Bluff will make up another area.

Anniston’s drop down to 4A opened the possibility for an area alignment with the Bulldogs, Jacksonville, Saks and White Plains. While that might have been an exciting possibility for fans, it might not have been the best thing for those who actually have to play.

And in reality they are going in opposite directions.

“Sometimes when you’ve got an area that is all county teams it’s really hard because you play each other and could possibly face each other in the county (tournament) and again in the area and possibly again after the area,” Jacksonville boys basketball coach Ryan Chambless said. “It’s kind of good in a way not to have a basketball area that’s just full of teams from your county.”

Saks coach Jonathan Miller, who will make both sets of trips as the Wildcats’ football and boys basketball coach, didn’t have a lot of time to dissect the new alignments because his team played in the County Tournament Wednesday night, so for now he’s reserving judgment. He did allow 4A overall (with the addition of Madison Academy) and his area/region in particular got a lot tougher.

“I don’t know what to make of it yet,” he said. “It seems a little strange on the surface we’re two minutes away from Jacksonville State (site of the Northeast Regional) and if we were to play in a regional we’d go south. I don’t know exactly what the reasons were for that. I guess after I take a closer look at it I may be able to find out an answer.”

Class 3A football remains basically the same for the county teams within it, with the addition of Randolph County (up from 2A) and deletion of Westbrook Christian (down to 2A).

The local 3A areas for basketball, however, are three-team affairs — Ohatchee, Wellborn, Weaver (Area 9); Piedmont, Pleasant Valley and Glencoe (Area 10). Win the regular season and go straight to the playoffs.

All the county 1A teams are now in one basketball region: Donoho, JCA, Faith Christian and Sacred Heart will be joined by Spring Garden in Area 10.

“I like it,” Faith AD Bradley Dawson said. “I always wondered why we always go to Appalachian and Ragland and not play JCA.

“The travel is much better. I like the pick up of Spring Garden. Without Donoho we never had a rival. I think it’ll be good.”

Alexandria’s 5A football region is revamped. Cleburne County, 5A for the first time in its history, is in a south region with Lincoln, Talladega, Sylacauga and Clay Central.


Class 1A
Region 4: Donoho, Appalachian, Ragland, TCC, Victory Christian, Wadley, Winterboro.
Region 6: JCA, Cedar Bluff, Coosa Christian, Gaylesville, Spring Garden, Valley Head, Woodville.

Class 2A
Region 5: Ranburne, Woodland, Fayetteville, Horseshoe Bend, Lafayette, Lanett, Reeltown, Vincent

Class 3A
Region 5: Glencoe, Ohatchee, Piedmont, Pleasant Valley, Randolph County, Wellborn, Weaver

Class 4A
Region 5: Anniston, Jacksonville, Saks, White Plains, Ashville, Cherokee County, Hokes Bluff, Oneonta

Class 5A
Region 4: Cleburne County, Clay Central, Lincoln, Sylacauga, Talladega, Beauregard, Valley
Region 7: Alexandria, Arab, Boaz, Crossville, Douglas, Etowah, Guntersville, Scottsboro

Class 6A
Region 7: Oxford, Albertville, Brewer, Cullman, Fort Payne, Pell City, Southside Gadsden

Class 1A
Area 7: TCC, Victory Christian, Winterboro, ASD
Area 10: Donoho, JCA, Faith Christian, Sacred Heart, Spring Garden

Class 2A
Area 10: Ranburne, Woodland, Vincent

Class 3A
Area 6: B.B. Comer, Beulah, Central Coosa, Randolph County
Area 9: Ohatchee, Wellborn, Weaver
Area 10: Glencoe, Piedmont, Pleasant Valley

Class 4A
Area 8: Anniston, Saks, Handley, Munford
Area 12: Jacksonville, White Plains, Cherokee County, Hokes Bluff

Class 5A
Area 10: Cleburne County, Clay Central, Lincoln, Talladega
Area 13: Alexandria, Boaz, Douglas, Etowah

Class 6A
Area 13: Oxford, Pell City, Southside Gadsden


Class 1A
Region 5: Donoho, Appalachian, Wadley, Victory Christian, TCC, Ragland, Winterboro
Region 7: JCA, Spring Garden, Cedar Bluff, Woodville, Valley Head, Gaylesville, Coosa Christian

Class 2A
Region 5: Randolph County, Ranburne, Woodland, LaFayette, Reeltown, Lanett, Horseshoe Bend

Class 3A
Region 6: Ohatchee, Piedmont, Pleasant Valley, Wellborn, Weaver, Glencoe, Ashville, Westbrook Christian

Class 4A
Region 6: Jacksonville, Saks, White Plains, Cleburne County, Cherokee County, Sardis, Hokes Bluff, Crossville.

Class 5A
Region 3: Talladega, Clay Central, Sylacauga, Beauregard, Tallassee, Shelby County, Marbury.
Region 6: Anniston, Alexandria, Mortimer Jordan, Hayden, Lincoln, Moody, St. Clair County, Springville.

Class 6A
Region 3: Oxford, Opelika, Benjamin Russell, Chelsea, Pell City, Valley, Chilton County

Class 1A
Area 8: ASD, TCC, Victory Christian, Wadley, Winterboro
Area 12: Appalachian, Donoho, Faith Christian, Ragland, Sacred Heart
Area 13: Cedar Bluff, Coosa Christian, Gaylesville, Jacksonville Christian, Spring Garden.

Class 2A
Area 10: Ranburne, Randolph County, Woodland

Class 3A
Area 11: Ashville, Glencoe, Ohatchee, Westbrook Christian
Area 12: Piedmont, Pleasant Valley, Wellborn, Weaver

Class 4A
Area 8: Childersburg, Handley, Leeds, Munford
Area 11: Cleburne County, Jacksonville, Saks, White Plains
Area 12: Cherokee County, Crossville, Hokes Bluff, Sardis

Class 5A
Area 8: Clay Central, Shelby County, Sylacauga, Talladega
Area 12: Alexandria, Anniston, Lincoln, St. Clair County

Class 6A
Area 10: Chelsea, Oxford, Pell City

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