W.S. Neal moves to Class 3A

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The stakes in the Battle of Murder Creek will be higher next year — W.S. Neal and T.R. Miller will be in the same region.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced its realignment on Wednesday, and W.S. Neal went down to 3A Region 1, which includes Opp, Bayside Academy, Cottage Hill, Excel, Southside Selma and Straughn, as well as Neal and Miller.

Reclassification is done according to school enrollment every two years.

W.S. Neal Coach Doug Hoehn said the reclassification will make the Battle of Murder Creek even better. “It’s a great rivalry,” he said.

Neal has been in 4A for two years, playing powerhouses like Thomasville, Jackson and UMS-Wright.

Hoehn, who has coached in Alabama for just one year, said he expects the competition to be tough in 3A as well.

“I expect our opponents to be very good,” he said.

Southside Selma, which finished 1-9 this year in Class , is perhaps the farthest school in the region, about 80 miles from some of its competitors. Bayside finished 12-1 in Class 3A, while Straughn — also moving down from 4A — was 6-5 and Opp was 6-5 in 3A. Cottage Hill finished 4-5 in 3A, and Excel was 3-7 in 3A.

The reclassification alignment was approved by the AHSAA’s central board at its fall meeting Wednesday. The process is implemented every two years to in order to consider the changing enrollments of schools, school consolidations and closings, new schools and association members and current member schools adding sports to their interscholastic program. Classifying member schools for the purpose of athletic competition is one of the Central Board’s duties under Article VII of the AHSAA Constitution.

Although there has been talk of adding a “superclass” above 6A, schools will remain divided into six classifications for competition in championship programs. The current two-year classification period ends with the 2011-12 school year. The new alignments will go into effect in the fall 2012.

Classification was based on the average daily membership (ADM) figures furnished by the state Department of Education for the upper three grades (10-12) plus ninth grade holdbacks. Schools with the largest enrollments are placed in Class 6A, the next largest in Class 5A, etc.

Alignments are made for each sport in each class, based on the number of schools participating in a sport.

The reclassification alignment for football is listed below:

Class 1A
Region 1
J.U. Blacksher
John Essex
Fruitdale
A.L. Johnson
Linden
Saint Luke’s
McIntosh
Marengo

Region2
Brantley
Florala
Geneva County
Georgiana
Kinston
McKenzie
Pleasant Home
Red Level

Region 3
Akron
Autaugaville
Billingsley
Ellwood Christian (new member)
Holy Spirit
Keith
Maplesville
Sunshine

Region 4
Fayetteville
Loachapoka
Notasulga
Saint Jude
Talladega County Central
Verbena
Wadley
Winterboro

Region 5
Berry
Brilliant
Hubbertville
Lynn
Marion County
Parrish
Pickens County
South Lamar

Region 6
Addison
Appalachian
Falkville
Jefferson Christian
Meek
Ragland
Shades Mountain Christian
Southeastern (new member)
Sumiton Christian

Region 7
Cedar Bluff
Collinsville
Coosa Christian
Donoho
Gaylesville
Jacksonville Christian
Spring Garden
Valley Head
Woodville

Region 8
Decatur Heritage
Hackleburg
R.A. Hubbard
Phillips
Shoals Christian
Tharptown
Vina
Waterloo

Class 2A
Region 1
Choctaw County
Flomaton
Leroy
Millry
Mobile Christian
Southern Choctaw
Sweet Water
Washington County

Region 2
Ariton
Cottonwood
Houston Academy
Houston County
G.W. Long
Providence Christian
Samson
Wicksburg

Region 3
Calhoun
Central-Hayneville
Elba
Goshen
Highland Home
Luverne
New Brockton
Zion Chapel

Region 4
Aliceville
Cold Springs
Hale County
R.C. Hatch
Lamar County
Francis Marion
Oakman
Sulligent

Region 5
Isabella
LaFayette
Lanett
Montgomery Academy
Prattville Christian (new member)
Randolph County
Reeltown
Horseshoe Bend

Region 6
Fultondale
Ohatchee
Pleasant Valley
Ranburne
Victory Christian
Vincent
Walter Wellborn
Woodland

Region 7
Fyffe
Gaston
Ider
North Sand Mountain
Sand Rock
Section
Westbrook Christian
West End

Region 8
Cherokee
Colbert Heights
Hatton
Lexington
Phil Campbell
Red Bay
Sheffield
Tanner

Class 3A
Region 1
Bayside Academy
Cottage Hill Christian
Excel
T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal
Opp
Southside-Selma
Straughn

Region 2
Abbeville
Barbour County
Dale County
Daleville
Geneva
Montgomery Catholic
Pike County
Slocomb

Region 3
American Christian
Fayette County
Gordo
Greene County
Greensboro
Holt
Northside
Sipsey Valley

Region 4
B.B. Comer
Central Coosa
Leeds
Midfield
Montevallo
Tarrant
Thorsby
Trinity Presbyterian

Region 5
Ashville
Cleveland
Glencoe
Piedmont
Saks
Susan Moore
Weaver
White Plains

Region 6
Brindlee Mountain
Geraldine
Holly Pond
New Hope
J.B. Pennington
Pisgah
Plainview
Sylvania

Region 7
Cordova
Danville
Good Hope
Hamilton
Hanceville
Vinemont
Winfield
Winston County

Region 8
Clements
Colbert County
Deshler
Elkmont
Lauderdale County
Madison Academy
Westminster Christian
West Morgan

Class 4A
Region 1
Clarke County
Escambia County
Hillcrest-Evergreen
Monroe County
Saint Paul’s Episcopal
Thomasville
UMS-Wright
Wilcox Central

Region 2
Alabama Christian
Andalusia
Ashford
Beauregard
Bullock County
Charles Henderson
Headland
Saint James

Region 3
Beulah
Childersburg
Clay County Central (new school)
Dadeville
Elmore County
Handley
Holtville
Tallassee

Region 4
Bibb County
Calera
Corner
Dallas County
Dora
Jemison
Oak Grove
West Blocton

Region 5
Alexandria
Anniston
Cherokee County
Cleburne County
Hokes Bluff
Lincoln
Jacksonville
Munford

Region 6
Crossville
Douglas
Fairview
Guntersville
Locust Fork
Oneonta
Saint Clair County
Sardis

Region 7
Ardmore
Butler
DAR
J.O. Johnson
Madison County
North Jackson
Priceville
Randolph

Region 8
Brooks
Carbon Hill
Central-Florence
East Lawrence
Haleyville
Rogers
West Limestone
Wilson

Class 5A
Region 1
Faith Academy
Gulf Shores
LeFlore
B.C. Rain
Saraland
Spanish Fort
Vigor
Williamson

Region 2
Carroll
Eufaula
Marbury
Rehobeth
Benjamin Russell
Russell County
Valley
Booker T. Washington

Region 3
Citronelle
Chilton County
Demopolis
Greenville
Jackson
Satsuma
Selma
Sumter Central

Region 4
Briarwood Christian
Chelsea
Homewood
John Carroll
Ramsay
Shelby County
Sylacauga
Talladega

Region 5
Brookwood
Paul Bryant
Central-Tuscaloosa
Fairfield
McAdory
Parker
Pleasant Grove
Wenonah

Region 6
Center Point
Curry
Hayden
Moody
Mortimer Jordan
Pinson Valley
Springville
Walker

Region 7
Arab
Boaz
Brewer
Columbia
Etowah
Fort Payne
Scottsboro
Southside-Gadsden

Region 8
Athens
Cullman
East Limestone
Hartselle
Lawrence County
Muscle Shoals
Russellville
West Point

Class 6A
Region 1
Baker
Blount
Alma Bryant
Davidson
Mary Montgomery
McGill-Toolen
Murphy
Theodore

Region 2
Baldwin County
Daphne
Dothan
Enterprise
Fairhope
Foley
Northview
Robertsdale

Region 3
Auburn
Carver-Montgomery
Central-Phenix City
Jeff Davis
Sidney Lanier
Lee-Montgomery
Opelika
Smiths Station

Region 4
Oak Mountain
Pelham
Prattville
Spain Park
Stanhope Elmore
Thompson
Wetumpka

Region 5
Bessemer City
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
Hoover
Hueytown
Jackson-Olin
Minor
Northridge
Tuscaloosa County

Region 6
Carver-Birmingham
Gardendale
Hewitt-Trussville
Huffman
Mountain Brook
Shades Valley
Vestavia Hills
Woodlawn

Region 7
Albertville
Clay-Chalkville
Gadsden City
Grissom
Huntsville
Lee-Huntsville
Oxford
Pell City

Region 8
Austin
Bob Jones
Buckhorn
James Clemens (new member)
Decatur
Florence
Hazel Green
Sparkman