MHSAA moves to region format

By Staff
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of stories looking the MHSAA's recent realignment. Tomorrow, the Star looks at basketball.
By Robbie Robertson/The Meridian Star
Dec. 5, 2000
By order of the executive committee, the Mississippi High School Athletic Association is going to a region format for football the next two years.
The regions were approved last Friday and effect several schools in The Meridian Star coverage area. Schools have until Dec. 13 to appeal their placement.
The new format will keep Class 5A in a four-region format where four teams will make the playoffs from each region. Class 1A will go to a similar format with four regions. These classifications will be allowed to continue to play a "classic" game to begin the season.
The big changes come for Class 2A, 3A, and 4A schools. These classifications will be made up of eight-team regions and four schools from each region will make the playoffs. Instead of a classic game, schools in these classifications will play a regular-season game instead of a classic game to begin the season. They will start the playoffs a week before the Class 5A and 1A schools and all championships games will be held on the same weekend.
Classifications are based on school size with the largest 32 schools going into the 5A and the rest evenly divided among the other four classifications.
In Class 5A, Meridian will go into an almost new region with only Wayne County, Brandon and Natchez holding over. They will be joined by long-time rival Hattiesburg and 5A newcomers Petal, Oak Grove, and Hancock.
In Class 4A, there was a slight shakeup in Region 5. Northeast Lauderdale, Quitman, Northeast Jones and West Jones remain while Mendenhall, Magee and Florence are newcomers.
Laurel and South Jones were shifted to Region 7.
Quitman coach Charles Faulkner is also on the executive committee and likes the format.
Neshoba Central and Louisville remain in 2-4A with Aberdeen, West Point, New Hope, Noxubee County and Kosciusko.
In Class 3A, the majority of local teams are lumped in Region 5. Class 3A newcomer Philadelphia will join traditional 5-3A teams Newton County, Choctaw Central, Carthage, Southeast Lauderdale, and West Lauderdale along with Heidelberg.
Forest and Morton, which moved up to Class 3A, will join Richland, Raleigh, Collins and 5-3A refugee Velma Jackson
In Class 2A, Region 5 will bring together several new 2A members. Kemper County, which moved down from 3A will join Scott Central, which moved up from 1A. They will join Ackerman, South Leake, Williams Sullivan and Newton.
In Region 7, Clarkdale returns to region play after playing independent for the last couple of years. They will be faced with traditional rival Enterprise along with powerhouses Taylorsville, Bay Springs and Bassfield along with Seminary and Sumrall.
All of the area's Class 1A teams fall in Region 3 as Nanih Waiya, Noxapater, Edinburg, Union, Sebastopol and Lake will tie up. Filling out Region 3 is Thomastown, Pisgah, Pelahatchie and Puckett.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at