TSSAA elevates 'Canes: East Hamilton will jump to Class AAA in nonfootball sports, join the 5A football bracket

TSSAA elevates 'Canes: East Hamilton will jump to Class AAA in nonfootball sports, join the 5A football bracket

October 18th, 2012 by Stephen Hargis in Sports - Preps

TSSAA logo

TSSAA classification for 2013-17

Class A

School // enrollment // non-football class // football class

Richard Hardy Memorial // 100 // Class A

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy // 112 // Class A

Lookout Valley // 199 // Class A // Class 1A

Copper Basin // 234 // Class A // Class 1A

Sale Creek // 239 // Class A

South Pittsburg // 249 // Class A // Class 1A

Grace Baptist Academy // 292 // Class A // Class 1A

Whitwell // 383 // Class A // Class 2A

Chatt. School for the Arts & Sciences // 430 // Class A

Silverdale Baptist Academy // 454 // Class A // Class 2A

Meigs County // 502 // Class A // Class 2A

Marion County // 523 // Class A // Class 2A

Boyd Buchanan // 531 // Class A // Class 2A

Class AA

School // enrollment // non-football class // football class

Tyner Academy // 563 // Class AA // Class 3A

Bledsoe County // 588 // Class AA // Class 3A

Polk County // 599 // Class AA // Class 3A

Brainerd High // 627 // Class AA // Class 3A

Howard // 644 // Class AA // Class 3A

Sequatchie County // 655 // Class AA // Class 3A

Grundy County // 676 // Class AA // Class 3A

Notre Dame // 713 // Class AA // Class 3A

Signal Mountain // 715 // Class AA // Class 3A

McMinn Central // 728 // Class AA // Class 3A

Red Bank // 728 // Class AA // Class 3A

Chattanooga Christian // 799 // Class AA // Class 3A

East Ridge // 829 // Class AA // Class 4A

Hixson // 855 // Class AA // Class 4A

Central // 948 // Class AA // Class 4A

Class AAA

School // enrollment // non-football class // football class

East Hamilton // 1107 // Class AAA // Class 5A

Soddy Daisy // 1341 // Class AAA // Class 5A

Cleveland // 1357 // Class AAA // Class 5A

Rhea County // 1382 // Class AAA // Class 5A

Ooltewah // 1404 // Class AAA // Class 5A

McMinn County // 1472 // Class AAA // Class 6A

Walker Valley // 1565 // Class AAA // Class 6A

Bradley Central // 1664 // Class AAA // Class 6A

Division II-A

School // enrollment // non-football class // football class

St. Andrew's-Sewanee // 186 // Class A

Division II-AA

School // enrollment // non-football class // football class

Girls Preparatory School // 690 // Class AA

Baylor School // 729 // Class AA

McCallie School // 1298 // Class AA

In less than four years of existence East Hamilton has already become Hamilton County's premier public school football program. Starting next fall the school will have the chance to compete against the area's largest enrollment teams. The Hurricanes, who won last year's District 6-AA championship and can defend that title Friday at Red Bank, had enough of an increase in enrollment to warrant being moved up to Class AAA in all non-football sports and will compete in the 5A football bracket beginning next year.

"When you're in a growth situation you know those things will come, so it's the next step for us," said Hurricanes football coach Ted Gatewood, whose team is currently 7-1 overall and has beaten all five of its district foes by at least 29 points. East Hamilton is currently ranked fourth in Class 4A and will have an enrollment (1,107) that places it among the 10 smallest in 5A. East Hamilton will now compete in District 5-AAA with Bradley Central, Cleveland, McMinn County, Rhea County, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley.

"That's what our school is progressing toward," continued Gatewood. "We're in that area that is one of the fastest-growing in Chattanooga. We'll just get ready for it when the time comes, and I think it will be a great opportunity for our program. I'm anxious to see where we can go. We'll be playing against schools we're already familiar with and I think it will create some new rivalries. And now the Ooltewah game will be a district game, so that will add something extra to an already good rivalry, which I think is good for local football."

The TSSAA released its statewide classification breakdown Wednesday, based on enrollment figures from the current school year. The new classification alignments will be used from 2013-2017.

East Hamilton was one of five area schools that will change classification, either moving up or down. Red Bank is one of three area schools that will move down one class, having nearly 300 fewer students than the last classification period four years ago. The Lions, as well as Brainerd, will remain in Class AA for all non-football sports but move down to 3A in football, while Meigs County moves down to Class A in non-football sports and 2A in football. Whitwell remains in Class A for non-football but moves up to 2A in football, making the Tigers the sixth-smallest football school in 2A. Meigs County could opt to remain in 3A to cut down on travel because if it goes to 2A, it will likely be in District 5-A with Boyd-Buchanan, Copper Basin, Grace Academy and Silverdale Baptist.

Teams can opt to play up in classification and have until next week to notify the TSSAA if that is their intention. Once the TSSAA has that information, teams will be placed in their new districts for next season on Nov. 24.

"We're still thinking about whether we want to stay in 4A or go ahead and move down to 3A," Red Bank coach E.K. Slaughter said. "There are some heavy hitters in both classes, and of course Alcoa is in 3A. But we probably wouldn't have to see them until later in the playoffs if we ever got that far, so we'll probably go ahead and go down to 3A.

"I do know it's nice to have East Hamilton out of our district."

While Chattanooga Christian and Boyd-Buchanan enrollments were large enough to move them up to 3A and 4A respectively, after the 1.8 multiplier, both stayed put in their current classes because of a TSSAA rule that prevents schools that have their enrollment multiplied to move up more than one class.

"Thank goodness for that rule," Boyd-Buchanan coach Grant Reynolds said. "That saved us. I was worried about having to move up, and we had actually talked about having a contingency plan of going to Division II if we were forced to move to 3A. But we were reminded of the new rule a few weeks ago and after we confirmed it, I felt a lot better that we were staying where we are."