The significant gap in Georgia Region 6A-A is not the difference in the talent of teams or their experience.
It's the gap in their schedules.
Southwest Atlanta Christian canceled its football season earlier this week, which tossed the entire region into a tumble.
"For the news to come down in early August is extremely unfortunate timing," Trion coach Justin Brown said. "It's unfortunate for their kids who have been practicing and expecting to play. And through their misfortune, it's impacted 10 other teams that were on their schedule."
The five other schools in Region 6A-A -- Gordon Lee, Trion, Christian Heritage, Darlington and Mount Zion Carroll -- have been working to fill their previously scheduled SWAC slots with other teams.
Brown said he started making contingency plans for such an event back in the spring. They came into play in August. The Bulldogs will fill the scheduled spot with Walker, a 6B-A team, in a road game. Walker was slated to face SWAC on the same day Trion had a bye.
"If they would have come here, that would have given them just four home games, so we did the right thing and decided to play over there," Brown said. "When the news came down, it was just a matter of details."
Christian Heritage has filled its previous date against SWAC with a contest against Providence Christian Academy in Dalton.
"I talked to the head of the GHSA today, and he told me to schedule the game because we would have had three straight weeks off during the season," CHS coach Preston Poag said. "We got lucky. If not for PCA, we would have had only four home games this season."
Gordon Lee has not been so lucky, and coach Charlie Wiggins has been calling all of his contacts across the region looking for a game on Sept. 20.
"It's an away game that is possibly lost," Wiggins said Thursday night. "We're calling different places. We've looked in Tennessee and Alabama. If worst comes to worst, it's a forfeit in our favor.
"We could play somebody twice, but that's a weird dynamic."
The impact of SWAC's departure could also impact the playoff seeding for Class A, which is based on a ranking system with points earned through various measures.
Winning a game earns points; playing a team in a higher classification earns points; beating a higher-class team earns more points. Points also are earned when defeated opponents beat other teams.
"Our teams shouldn't have to be penalized, because we couldn't control that," Poag said. "I still don't know how it will impact the power rating."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...