Alignment shake up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Andalusia-Straughn football rivalry has a new twist.

In November, the Alabama High School Athletic Association announced the 2010-12 realignment for high schools in the state, and both Andalusia and Straughn were placed into Class 4A, Region 2.

Every two years, high schools are reclassified based on enrollment, and Straughn gained enough students to move up to Class 4A with Andalusia. Opp dropped to Class 3A, and all other county schools remained in the same classifications.

Straughn moved up to an enrollment of 315 students, while Andalusia dropped to 313, respectively. Opp moved down to 275 students.

Andalusia coach Brian Seymore said the matchup between his team and Straughn next season, in week seven, will have “huge implications.”

“I think that game seven is going to be a big matchup,” Seymore said. “I think it’s going to have huge implications as far as the region championship. Our kids know it and (Straughn’s) kids know it. It’s going to be exciting.”

Straughn coach Trent Taylor agreed with Seymore.

“I don’t know if that game can get any more hype,” Taylor said. “But certainly when it’s a non-region game, then you play it and you go on and finish the rest of the season. “Now, obviously, it will probably determine the season,” he said. “With what Andalusia has coming back, they’ll be certainly fighting for a place in the playoffs and certainly we hope we are, too. That game could come down, in week seven, to determine who is the No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed in the region.”

Both Straughn and Andalusia will compete together in the new Class 4A, Region 2, along with Alabama Christian, Ashford, Bullock County, Headland, Hillcrest-Evergreen and Saint James. In 2009, those six region opponents combined for a 25-38 record. For comparison’s sake, Andalusia’s Class 4A, Region 1, opponents were a combined 42-38 in 2009, and Straughn’s Class 3A, Region 1, opponents were a combined 36-42.

Beginning in 2010, Opp will compete in Class 3A, Region 2, along with Abbeville, Dale County, Daleville, Geneva, Luverne, Pike County and Slocomb.

“I think it’s going to be a more athletic region,” Opp coach Jack Whigham said. “I think it’s going to help us in our other sports, other than football.

“One of the positives in football is that it will be a lot closer (for travel),” he said. “It will also allow us to bring in more fans for home games.”

Whigham added that in order to make the playoffs, his team would have to work “even harder.”

“We’ll be playing some very athletic teams,” he said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us to even make the playoffs.”

Pleasant Home and Florala will remain in their current classification and region. They will be joined in Class 1A, Region 2, with Brantley, Butler County Magnet School, Geneva County, J.F. Shields, Kinston and McKenzie.

Red Level will stay in Class 2A, but will move over to Region 2 with Calhoun, Elba, Goshen, Highland Home, New Brockton, Samson and Zion Chapel.

In basketball, Andalusia and Straughn will be in Class 4A, Area 3, with Ashford and Headland; Opp will be in Class 3A, Area 2, with Geneva, Luverne and Pike County; Pleasant Home and Florala will be in Class 1A, Area 2, with Geneva County and Kinston; and Red Level will be in Class 2A, Area 2, with Elba, New Brockton, Samson and Zion Chapel.

These changes will not take effect until the start of the 2010-11 school year.