TSSAA football moves return Rhea, Meigs to area regions

TSSAA football moves return Rhea, Meigs to area regions

November 8th, 2014 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

Class 6A

Region 1: Bradley Central, Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett, Hardin Valley, Jefferson County, Maryville, Science Hill, William Blount.

Class 5A

Region 4: Cleveland, McMinn County, Ooltewah, Rhea County, Soddy-Daisy, Walker Valley, White County.

Class 4A

Region 3: Central, Cumberland County, East Hamilton, Hixson, Livingston Academy, Sequoyah, Stone Memorial.

Class 3A

Region 2: Alcoa, Christian Academy of Knoxville, Kingston, Loudon, McMinn Central, Scott County, York Institute.

Region 3: Chattanooga Christian, East Ridge, Howard, Notre Dame, Red Bank, Signal Mountain.

Region 4: Cannon County, DeKalb County, Grundy County, Sequatchie County, Smith County, Upperman.

Class 2A

Region 3: Bledsoe County, Boyd-Buchanan, Brainerd, Marion County, Meigs County, Polk County, Silverdale Baptist, Tyner.

Class 1A

Region 3: Copper Basin, Grace Academy, Lookout Valley, Sale Creek, South Pittsburg, Whitwell.

Bradley Central will log a lot of miles, Sequatchie County is going over the mountain, Meigs County is coming back to the Chattanooga area and longtime rivals McMinn Central and Polk County are parting ways.

The TSSAA released its proposed region football alignments Friday afternoon, and those will be discussed by the organization's board of control at its meeting Thursday in Murfreesboro.

Bradley Central wound up as expected in Class 6A, the "Super 32," and the Bears will have a seven-team region and some lengthy road trips. Their closest opponents will be in the Knoxville area -- Hardin Valley, Maryville and William Blount -- but they'll also play at least the next two seasons against Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett and Johnson City Science Hill.

There wasn't that much change for area 5A teams other than Bradley moving up and East Hamilton dropping to 4A. Rhea County returns to that group, accompanied by White County.

"Everything is pretty much the same for us," Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said. "We were already playing Rhea County. I'm glad it's seven teams so we don't have that many (nonregion games) to schedule."

District 7-AA teams were split between Regions 3 and 4. Chattanooga Christian, Notre Dame and Signal Mountain join East Ridge, Howard and Red Bank, while Grundy County and Sequatchie County have been moved to Region 4 to join Cannon County, DeKalb County, Smith County and Upperman.

"The fact that we are so close is incredible. No long drives for at least five games," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said. "It should be fun, too, to get somebody new with East Ridge, Howard, Red Bank."

Fant was disappointed, however, to lose 7-AA rivals Bledsoe County, Grundy County and Sequatchie.

"That's really interesting," he said. "We kept saying to ourselves it was weird that Sequatchie and Grundy would have nothing but Chattanooga-area teams. I can see Grundy moving north, but I thought Sequatchie might stay with us."

The former District 5-AA also was divided. Class 3A McMinn Central will be in a region with Alcoa, York Institute, Christian Academy of Knoxville, Kingston, Loudon and Scott County, while Class 2A Polk County comes westward to an eight-team region with Bledsoe County, Boyd-Buchanan, Brainerd, Marion County, Meigs County, Silverdale Baptist and Tyner.

"That's where we thought we'd go. It makes it easier to schedule when you have eight teams. There are some good football programs in there," Meigs coach Jason Fitzgerald said. "It will be a good district."

Region 3-1A is a combination of teams from Districts 5 and 6.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.