Joe Medley: Some regions too close for comfort
Aug 27, 2010 | 3207 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s ring and purpose behind the phrase “eight is enough.”

It made for a wonderful television series — a late-1970s take on The Waltons and, perhaps, the dramatic grandfather to some modern reality shows.

If you don’t believe eight is enough, then just watch 19 Kids & Counting or reruns of John and Kate Plus 8.

Eight is also enough in Alabama high school football. Just ask any coach, and he’ll say eight is plenty for any region.

Alabama High School Athletic Association heads went so far as to promise members aligned in rare nine-team regions that it won’t happen in consecutive realignment cycles. No doubt, our friends in Class 3A, Region 6 are glad to know their new, nine-team reality show will last only two seasons.

Then again, they face two seasons of it.

Every team in the group faces two seasons of their own Jimmys and Joes plus eight.

Their number came up in the realignment for 2010-11, and this week’s season-openers serve up reasons why all involved try to avoid nine-team regions.

Take Glencoe’s 14-6 victory over White Plains at Glencoe on Thursday. It could very well have been a showdown for a playoff berth.

Yes, it’s a long season, and lots can happen, but teams in nine-team regions have to cram eight region games into a 10-game schedule. They also open with region opponents.

With that in mind, let’s size up 3A, Region 6.

Piedmont, the defending 3A champion, and Saks, a 4A playoff team each of the past three seasons, look like the top two teams. Then there’s Glencoe and Susan Moore, both 3A playoff teams in 2009.

There’s also Hokes Bluff, a 4A dropdown that won a 3A state title earlier this decade.

Then comes White Plains, a rising program that came within one victory of making the 3A playoffs a year ago and wants to break through this season.

Only four teams from each region make the playoffs.

Just looking at things on paper, White Plains entered this season as one of four teams vying for the final two playoff spots. Thursday, the Wildcats went on the road to open their season against another team likely in that mix.

White Plains fell into a hole with nine games to go.

That’s a tough prospect to face on a week when most teams around the state worked out their kinks in non-region games, and White Plains and Glencoe aren’t the only Region 6 teams facing that prospect. Tonight’s Piedmont-Hokes Bluff game makes for another interesting matchup.

There’s no one to blame.

The AHSAA tries to avoid nine-team regions, but the area’s 3A census exploded. Saks, Hokes Bluff and Ashville dropped down from 4A and into 3A, Region 6. Just to the south, 4A semifinalist Handley dropped down, and 2A finalist Clay County bumped up.

Just two years ago, White Plains moved up from 2A.

Class 3A football got crowded around here, and eight just wasn’t enough for one region.

Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 235-3576 or jmedley@annistonstar.com.

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