Change is on the horizon for Harlem High School, and that's not good news for Jimmie Lewis.
The Georgia High School Association Executive Committee meets Monday in Forsyth to vote on region realignment proposals for the 2004-06 seasons.
Harlem is slated to enter Region 3-AAA, along with 14 other schools.
Lewis, Harlem's athletic director and head football and baseball coach, doesn't have a clue how the vote will go, but he does have a glimmer of hope.
"I'm hoping they'll vote that down," Lewis said. "We could drop to (Class) AA, and I'm praying for that."
If the GHSA Executive Committee votes to approve the region realignments, Lewis says Harlem won't have a prayer in some future athletic competitions.
Harlem would be one of the smallest Class AAA schools in the state, and size matters on the field of play.
Imagine Harlem squaring off with Thomson in football, and you get the picture.
Things are complicated by the sheer number of schools in proposed Region 3-AAA. With 15 programs, 13 of which field football teams, the region would have to be subdivided to accommodate a 10-game football schedule.
Also, with region schools situated from Thomson to Savannah, travel becomes an issue.
"If it goes through, we'll have to make trips to Savannah, which isn't a good situation at all," Lewis said. "Some of the Savannah teams will have to make three or four trips up here, and they don't like that either."
Discontent with the GHSA proposal might save Harlem.
"It takes a two-thirds vote of the executive committee to approve the realignment, and a big contingent in South Georgia is against it," Lewis said.
Percentages are what sparked realignment in the first place. The GHSA plan was designed to move the smallest 15 percent (by student population) of schools from Class AAAAA into AAAA, and so on for the other classifications.
Opponents of the plan are expected to speak up at Monday's meeting, and that could sway the GHSA.
"If they vote (that) they don't like this 15 percent deal, they could go back and take 20 percent down and redo all the regions," Lewis said. "That would probably move us to AA. It's a bleak situation otherwise."
If there is a "yes" vote, Lewis and the other athletic directors from Region 3-AAA will meet this week at Burke County High School, where scheduling issues would be debated.
"To be honest, that will be when the war starts," Lewis said.
Realignment proposal for 2004-06 in Region 3-AAA
Harlem, Benedictine, Burke County, Butler, Cross Creek, *Davidson Fine Arts, Glenn Hills, Hephzibah, Jefferson County, Liberty County, Richmond Academy, Richmond Hill, South Effingham, *St. Vincents, Thomson
*Denotes schools that do not have football programs
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