MPSA goes back to three classes
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
March 26, 2002
After six years of operating with four classifications, the Mississippi Private School Association will go back to three classes for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 school years.
Of the MPSA's 99 member schools from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, 57 will be in Class A. Of those 57, 11 do not compete in football. Class A will be divided into seven districts.
Twenty-seven schools will be in Class AA, which is divided into four districts. Class AAA will have 15 schools and will be divided into two districts.
The realignment primarily affects two of the area's nine MPSA member high schools – Lamar School in Meridian and Winston Academy in Louisville.
Lamar, which has been in Class AAA, will remain in that classification. However, joining Lamar in the AAA District 2 league are Adams County Christian School of Natchez, Central Private School of Baker, La. (near Baton Rouge), Copiah Academy of Gallman (between Crystal Springs and Hazelhurst), Hillcrest Christian School of Jackson, Jackson Prep, and Parklane Academy of McComb.
The good news for Lamar is that eight of the 15 AAA teams will make the state playoffs, at least in football.
Hillcrest, Jackson Prep, and Parklane are in AAA-District 2, but are considered Division I for football along with Jackson Academy, Pillow Academy, and Washington School from AAA-District 1. They are the MPSA's six largest schools.
Lamar is in AAA Division II along with Adams Christian, Central Private, and Copiah from District 2 and Indianola Academy, Lee Academy, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Magnolia Heights School, and Starkville Academy from District 1.
In football, all district games will count toward a team earning one of the two playoff berths from its district as either a Division I or Division II school. The top two teams from each division will qualify from both AAA District I and AAA District II, leaving a four-team playoff field in AAA for both the small and large schools even though they're all considered AAA.
The AAA divisions will not apply to other sports.
Lamar hasn't had a winning football season since 1988. The Raiders made the AAA playoffs in 2001 despite a 3-9 record. Lifetime, Lamar is 0-4 against Jackson Prep, 0-2 against Hillcrest, and 2-2 against Copiah in football. The Raiders have never played Adams Christian, Central Private, or Parklane.
In basketball, the Lady Raiders are 11-49 over the past two seasons, while the Lamar boys are 14-43.
The competition is about to get much tougher as well as the rides getting a whole lot longer.
Winston Academy, which has fluctuated from A to AA over its existence, will go back down to Class A after a current four-year stint in AA.
The Winston teams will compete in Academy 3-A along with Central Academy of Macon, Heidelberg Academy, Kemper Academy in DeKalb, Wayne Academy in Waynesboro, Newton County Academy at Decatur, and Sylva-Bay Academy at Bay Springs.
The Patriots and Lady Patriots are in Academy 2-AA this year along with Kirk Academy of Grenada, Benton Academy, and Carroll Academy of Carrollton. Cruger-Tchula Academy was in the league last year before the school folded in May 2001.
Obviously, Winston's travel will decrease with more natural rivals on the schedule another benefit.
The only other area MPSA member is Leake Academy. The Madden school will remain in AA and will compete in AA-District 2 along with Benton Academy, Canton Academy, Carroll Academy, Heritage Academy of Columbus, Manchester Academy of Yazoo City, and Oak Hill Academy of West Point.