Trick-or-treat arrived early this year, and Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans high schools may have been left holding the bag.
The Georgia High School Association Executive Committee met Monday in Forsyth to vote on proposed region realignments for the 2004-06 season, and the unexpected outcome was no treat for Columbia County schools in Class AAAA.
The executive committee added an amendment to the original proposal that moved Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans from Region 8-AAAA to Region 2-AAAA - and that's where the trick comes in.
The approved new proposal placed Columbia County schools in an 11-school region, with Central Macon, Baldwin, Effingham County, Jones County, Northside Warner Robins, Statesboro, Warner Robins and Westside Macon.
Heading into the vote, Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans were hoping to be moved from Region 8 to Region 2. They got what they wished for - but only after Region 2 was reconfigured to became totally different under the new GHSA alignment.
Instead of competing in a region with four south Georgia schools, Columbia County's AAAA squads enter a far-flung region consisting of teams from Macon to Milledgeville to the Savannah area.
"They changed everything," Evans football coach Marty Jackson said. "This is not what the original proposal was. What we heard was that the region would be Statesboro, Ware County, Wayne County and Effingham County, and us three Columbia County schools."
Harlem High School, meanwhile, stayed in its originally proposed Region 3-AAA, which will entail more travel to athletic events.
The real shocker was the Class AAAA change. Athletic directors at Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside expected to be moved out of Region 8-AAAA, because the Athens and east-Atlanta area programs didn't want to travel to Columbia County for region competitions.
"Some of the powers that be probably knew what was going to happen, but not in our county," Jackson said.
Because an amendment was added to the original proposal, affected schools have 10 days to file an appeal with the GHSA.
The next move should come as no surprise.
"I'm sure the county will appeal this, and the grounds will be travel," Jackson said.
Approved Monday by the Georgia High School Association:
Northside Warner Robbins
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