That breeze that meandered through Evans on Tuesday afternoon wasn’t a random act of nature.
It was a result of the collective sigh of relief emanating from Lakeside High School.
It came after the Georgia High School Association posted the new region alignments for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
Why must Lakeside be thrilled with the new alignment?
Because Marist is no longer a threat.
For years and years a thorn in the Panthers’ paw, Marist has eliminated Lakeside from the state playoffs so many times, and in so many sports, that it’s hard to quantify.
The Atlanta private school has even had some fun at Lakeside’s expense.
Once, when the two played against each other, Marist students in attendance wore home-made T-shirts that said, “Lakeside’s road to the championship ends here,” or something to that effect.
However, for the next two years, the Panthers won’t have to deal with the War Eagles.
In the GHSA’s new six-classification plan, Lakeside has been slotted in Class AAAAA. Marist initially was slotted in Class AA, but elected to play up two classifications.
While Marist is out of the picture, Lakeside, along with Evans, Greenbrier and Grovetown, must deal with a new bully in town.
The four Columbia County schools make up Subregion A of Class AAAAA.
In Subregion B is Northside-Warner Robins, a football powerhouse and a stalwart in other sports. Also there are Warner Robins, Houston County and Jones County.
None of the four are slouches.
While Marist likely will continue winning state titles, Lakeside won’t have to worry about them now.
Goodbye, and good luck
This is my final column for The Columbia County News-Times. My last day was Wednesday.
I’m moving on to pursue a career in education, though I’ll be staying in the area.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I don’t think people realize how hard-working the staff here is.
I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had here to develop my writing and continue to learn.
I’d also like to thank the sports staff at The Augusta Chronicle.
I’ve worked hand-in-hand with them, and that process wouldn’t have gone so smoothly without their help.
I think what I’ve enjoyed the most is the ultimate challenge for a high school sports beat writer: covering a football game.
Keeping up with statistics on every play, constantly updating the online scoreboard, and for the first time this past season tweeting during the games, all while writing a story, is challenging.
Football is the toughest to cover, though each sport offers its own challenges.
Come to think of it, maybe now I’ll be able to go to a game and just watch it.