TSSAA's new proposed district alignments
Grace Christian (2A)
Meigs County (2A)
Boyd Buchanan (2A)
Arts & Sciences
Chattanooga Girls' Leadership Academy
Copper Basin (1A)
Grace Baptist Academy (1A)
Silverdale Baptist Academy (2A)
Tellico Plains (2A)
Lookout Valley (1A)
Marion County (2A)
Sale Creek (1A)
South Pittsburg (1A)
Van Buren County
McMinn Central (3A)
Polk County (3A)
East Ridge (4A)
Red Bank (3A)
Bledsoe County (3A)
Chattanooga Christian (3A)
Grundy County (3A)
Notre Dame (3A)
Sequatchie County (3A)
Signal Mountain (4A)
Bradley Central (6A)
East Hamilton (5A)
McMinn County (6A)
Soddy Daisy (5A)
Walker Valley (6A)
Cumberland County (5A)
Rhea County (5A)
Stone Memorial (5A)
Warren County (6A)
White County (5A)
St. Andrew's-Sewanee remains in Division II-A
Baylor, McCallie, GPS remain in Division II-AA
The TSSAA has released its proposed new district alignments, and while there were few changes it proved to be yet another reason for area football coaches to vent. Those coaches knew the six-classification system would remain, but that didn't prevent some from dwelling on the issue and picking apart some of the area's new districts.
The TSSAA's board of control will vote on whether to finalize the new districts at its Nov. 15 meeting.
Because Meigs County's enrollment fell, the Decatur school dropped down one classification and will play in District 3-A against mostly Knoxville-area teams. District 5-AA is losing Meigs but did not pick up any teams, leaving it a four-team football district with McMinn Central, Polk County, Sequoyah and Sweetwater.
"It's a joke, really. We're a joke district," Polk County coach Derrick Davis said. "We could go 3-7 or even 2-8 and be a district champ. That's just too few teams. Obviously our state just doesn't have enough teams to have six classes, and that's obvious by there being four-team districts.
"I'm complaining like this and I'm the coach of the team who has a good chance of winning the district. But I'd rather have more good teams in the district. There's just too many negatives to all this. Now we have to go out and find seven nondistrict games, and that will be tough because nobody wants to play good competition with the way the playoffs are decided.
"I keep hearing the TSSAA people say coaches wanted six classes. I haven't heard a single one tell me they like this. I'd like for somebody to tell me a name -- show me who wanted this. They need to just ask us straight-up how many classes we want and go with the majority.
"We never had any of this embarrassing mess-ups or nearly this much complaining when we had the five classes. I've been through a lot of changes, and in my opinion this is by far the worst thing we've gone through as a sport in this state in my career. The absolute worst. It's an embarrassment."
Tellico Plains will be joining District 5-A with Boyd-Buchanan, Copper Basin, Grace Academy and Silverdale Baptist. While Brainerd remains in District 6-AA, the school's drop in enrollment will allow the football program to move down in playoff class to 3A.
East Hamilton's enrollment increased, pushing the Hurricanes to Class AAA, where they will compete in District 5 along with Bradley Central, Cleveland, McMinn County, Ooltewah, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley.
Rhea County, which had been a part of that district, was moved to District 6, where it will face more travel against Cookeville, Cumberland County, Stone Memorial, Warren County and White County.
The original reason for going to six classes in football was to cut down on travel, but that is increasingly not the case. But while the Golden Eagles will face more travel, coach Doug Greene was one of those who found a silver lining.
"I think overall it could be a good thing for us because it could give us a better chance to compete," Greene said. "There's no good way to get to some of those places for us, but it will really affect our basketball team more because they'll have to go to all those places every year."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 20 years, starting at the News-Free Press as a 19-year-old reporter. He has been with the Times Free Press since its inception and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation ...