Reclassification in the works
Tentative enrollment figures from the State Department of Education show two Marshall County schools would drop to Class 1A for athletic competition.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association reclassifies its member schools every two years based on the numbers.
Potts Camp and H.W. Byers, now in 2A, are projected to fall to the smallest classification for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
The MHSAA Executive Committee will meet November 16 to approve official classifications.
The tentative numbers released last week show Potts Camp as the largest school in Class 1A with enrollment of 199, while Byers would be near the middle of the 1A pack with 155.
“We’re on the bubble, but we hope to move to 1A,” said Luke Tentoni, principal of Potts Camp High School.
“Being a 1A school will provide our athletes with competition more suited to our level of play. Our students aren’t any less talented than elsewhere and in many instances are superior, but small schools produce fewer athletes, which levels competition for us on the playing field.
“A move to 1A can tremendously help us with our continuing efforts to build a consistently successful athletic program. With continued hard work, our students will be able to flourish on the athletic field as well as they already have in the classroom.
“I’m proud of the effort and continuing accomplishments our students are achieving in and out of the classroom at Potts Camp High School.”
Charles LeSure, principal at H.W. Byers High School, said all signs tentatively show the Lions will make a move to 1A.
He said with the way the districts will be drawn up in 1A, there will likely be more district games, “thereby making it more difficult to make the state playoffs.”
Chris Daniels, head football coach at Byers, said moving down to 1A “is going to save the football program.”
“Right now, we just can’t compete against teams like Baldwyn and East Union,” he said.
Holly Springs, it appears, will remain in Class 3A. Its enrollment figure of 418 puts it in the top 15 in 3A.
Head football coach Donald Deans said there is a possibility the Hawks will be changing districts.
And Byhalia, with an enrollment of 491, will tentatively stay in 4A. Based on the numbers released last week, it would be among the five smallest schools in 4A.
Reclassification is also taking place in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. Marshall Academy will most likely stay in Class AA but faces possible changes when it comes to district competition. The MAIS reclassification will also be finalized in the next few weeks.