Thursday, December 30, 2010
Hawks shift districts
By BARRY BURLESON
The two largest schools in Marshall County will both be in Class 3A after reclassification but not in the same district.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association recently posted classifications and district alignments on its website.
Byhalia is dropping from Class 4A to 3A for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Holly Springs will remain 3A.
The Indians will compete in Region 3-3A with Charleston, Independence, M.S. Palmer, North Panola and Winona.
“It’s the best thing that could happen for Byhalia (in all sports),” said Markeith Washington, head football coach and athletic director. “We’re back where we need to be. I love it.”
Byhalia formerly competed in 3A but jumped up to 4A the past two seasons.
“When I first came, we were in the development stage and then we moved up to 4A,” he said. “It’s almost like we had two years of rebuilding all over again.”
He knows the new 3A district will still be tough – with powerhouse football programs like Charleston and Winona. But the Indians are exiting the district with the 4A state champion, Lafayette.
“Being at the top end of 3A is better than the low end of 4A,” Washington said. “Hopefully, this will level out the playing field.”
The Hawks will play in Region 1-3A with Alcorn Central, Belmont, Booneville, Kossuth and Ripley.
Marcus Autry, head football coach, said Holly High is excited about the new district, particularly when it comes to travel time.
“Travel is the main thing,” Autry said. “We’re not going to be on the highway as much – to places like Ruleville and East Side. We had two- and three-hour trips in our own district.”
But the new district will be very strong, with solid programs like Belmont, Ripley and Booneville.
“It will be a more competitive district, but I believe our kids will be excited about going different places and competing,” Autry said, “and I think we will have more people following us because of the reduction in travel time.”
Both Washington and Autry said Byhalia and Holly Springs will continue to play their rivalry games.
Next year, the Indians and Hawks will play on the football field September 9 in Holly Springs.
“We will play that game regardless,” Washington said. “We will always have a spot for Holly Springs.”
Autry said, “It’s a good rivalry, and Coach Washington and I definitely want to keep that going.”
H.W. Byers remains in 1A – the largest school in that classification. Region 1 foes in football will be Biggersville, Coldwater, Falkner, Smithville, Thrasher, Vardaman, Houlka, Jumpertown and Tupelo Christian. Next season will the football Lions’ first season to play a district schedule, having faced an independent slate during start-up stages.
H.W. Byers will play in Region 2-1A in basketball. Opponents will be Ashland, Ingomar, Myrtle, West Union and Coldwater.
Potts Camp will make the jump from 1A to 2A in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. The football Cardinals, another start-up program in Marshall County, will compete as an independent.
In basketball, joining Potts Camp in Region 2-2A will be Strayhorn, Walnut, Hickory Flat, Bruce and Calhoun City.
The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools also released its alignment for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 athletic seasons. Marshall Academy remains a Class AA school, with just one change in its district. Carroll Academy will join District 1-AA with West Memphis Christian going down to Class A. Other district foes are Indianola Academy, Kirk Academy and North Delta School.
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