The Alabama High School Athletic Association has released the new classification numbers and placed each team in their respective classes depending on school size. However, there is a new wrinkle this year with private schools that will bump a school up if they have found success in recent years. One classification that can’t have any teams move up is Class 7A, although it should be noted that McGill-Toolen would be a private school that has enough points in the new system to move up after making three straight state championships.
To start things off, we’ll look at Class 7A and how things have changed as we head into this new two-year period. To view the map of how teams are laid out geographically, you can view that here. You can also check out the full enrollment numbers to see where teams fell in order.
Mary G. Montgomery
Region 1 and 2 stayed the exact same, nothing much to talk about here. As mentioned above, there is nowhere for McGill-Toolen to go, even though they have accumulated enough points. So we could see them continue their success in the future. They face off against Hoover next week for the state championship.
McGill-Toolen was four from the bottom in total enrollment after multipliers (private schools have their number multiplied by 1.35), so if they were to somehow drop next time, they could potentially stay 7A due to their success on the gridiron.
Things change a bit in the northern half of 7A:
Hewitt-Trussville (moved from Region 4)
Region 3 sees Hewitt-Trussville come back to the Birmingham region, taking the place of Huffman who moves back to Class 6A. Hewitt won the region title both years they played in region 4, losing in the playoffs to fellow region 4 team Gadsden City last year and then to second-place Hoover from Region 3 this year.
Hoover and Thompson both return a lot of talent this year, but so does Hewitt. Names that you heard a lot this season such as Taulia Tagovailoa, George Pickens and Paul Tyson will still be around next season to make this a tough region to get through. Assuming Hewitt-Trussville swoops in and takes a playoff spot away, that means a team like Spain Park or Mountain Brook could get pushed out, especially with some of their top talent graduating away after this season.
Huffman falls to 6A at 1040.85, less than six below Florence who was 32nd of all schools. One enrollment to watch out for is Mountain Brook who was at 1050.75, only five students above the cutoff for 7A. If they were to fall down, they would most likely fall into a region with teams like Homewood and Birmingham city schools.
Austin (moved up from 6A Region 8)
Florence (moved up from 6A Region 8)
With Hewitt-Trussville moving back to region 3, region 4 picks up not one, but two new teams as Buckhorn drops to Class 6A as well. Austin and Florence move up from 6A Region 8, where both teams were playoff representatives this year.
Austin was the region champion behind the outstanding rushing attack of Auburn commit Asa Martin and defeated both James Clemens and Bob Jones by multiple scores this season. Austin will move up to be a region title contender in this region, despite Martin moving on to Auburn. The Black Bears did lose to Pinson Valley in the quarterfinals of the 6A playoffs last week.
Florence comes in after having made the playoffs at 4-6, falling to Pinson Valley as well in the first round. In Florence’s short history as a school, they have won two 6A region titles and made one semifinal appearance under Jamey Dubose back in 2014. This will be the first time Florence has played in another classification. From 2004 (when the school was formed) until now, they have always been 6A Region 8.
Austin comes in at 30th of the 32 7A schools in enrollment at 1084.1, but that is still higher than Florence who is last of the 32 schools at 1046.55. Florence was 7A by only one person, it could have easily been Albertville instead, who was at the top of 6A at 1045.6.