THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
New GHSA Classification
THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION IS SET TO
introduce a new highest classification in 2016-17. The GHSA
will implement a new Class AAAAAAA featuring the state’s largest 48 schools. The 48 schools make up the top 10 percent of
schools in the state, in terms of enrollment numbers. They will
be split into eight regions, with three of those regions coming
from powerhouse Gwinnett County. The largest school in Class
7A is Mill Creek ( 3,998 students) while the smallest school in
the largest classification is Westlake ( 2,092).
South Georgia is one of the most affected by the move in
classifications. Region 1 will now be comprised of only four
schools — Camden County, Colquitt County, Lowndes, Tift
County — after former region foes Coffee County, Lee County
and Valdosta were classified in 6A. With only four teams
making up Region 1, the GHSA announced only three teams
will earn automatic playoff bids from that region.
Instead of all four region teams making the playoffs, like
the rest of the regions in the classification, the region’s
fourth-seed will be given to the highest ranked team in Class
7A that did not earn a playoff berth in its region.
With the addition of the new classification, the state will
now have eight football state championships inside the
Georgia Dome in 2016. The GHSA remains split in Class A,
crowning a public and private school champion.
Along with a new classification, the GHSA established a 3.0
rule to help address the perceived competitive advantages
private and city schools have in regards to open enrollment.
With the establishment of the 3.0 rule, schools with over
three percent of its student enrollment from outside of its
county must move up in classification. That rule affects
schools in Classifications AA-AAAAAA. Among the schools affected by the new rule is Buford, which will now play in AAAAA.
Rush Propst’s Suspension
IT WAS QUITE THE SHOCK TO COLQUITT COUNT Y, AS
well as the entire Georgia high school football landscape.
The Georgia Professional Standards Commission wrote a
letter in May stating Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst
will be suspended for a year for head-butting a player during
the Class 6A state semifinal game at Mill Creek.
The Moultrie Observer was the first to report the Propst’s
Propst, yelling at his players on the sideline of the game,
was caught on camera head-butting a player with a helmet
on. Propst began bleeding profusely from his forehead,
with the incident not triggering much of a negative next-day
reaction among many viewers.
The reason for the suspension, however, is due to
“inappropriate physical contact with a student.” Propst has
appealed the suspension and will continue his coaching
duties during the appeals process.
Colquitt County has won the past two Class 6A titles under
Propst, with the Packers moving up to Class 7A this season.
Between Rival Schools
Tucker Pruitt has changed
allegiances. Pruitt served as
the Lowndes Vikings’ offensive
coordinator in 2015. In the
offseason, Pruitt was named to the
same position on Alan Rodemaker’s
staff at Valdosta High School, the
Vikings’ crosstown rival.
Spring Games Approved
THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION APPROVED
in April the playing of spring football games starting in 2017.
With the approval of the rule, teams throughout the GHSA
will now be able to play in spring football games against other
teams from the state of Georgia. Previously, teams were only
authorized to hold split-squad scrimmages in the spring.
Member schools of the GHSA are allowed 10 spring
practices in a 13-day span starting in February of each year.
Starting in 2017, the 10th practice may now be used as a
spring game against an opposing team.
“I wish it was for this year coming up,” Brooks County coach
Maurice Freeman told reporters in April. “I love it, I love it.”
The addition of spring games will add an incentive for
players in the months of January through April, said Norcross
coach Keith Maloof.
Schools from throughout Georgia will still have the option
to not hold the 10-practices in the spring, in return getting
an extra preseason scrimmage in the fall. Many schools from
smaller classifications, such as 2015 Class A state runner-up
Irwin County, opt to skip spring practices due to the lack of
participation by players due to spring sport commitments.
Over at Grayson
JEFF HERRON IS SEEKING
a state championship at his
third different Georgia high
school. Herron was hired
as the head coach at 7A
powerhouse Grayson in April,
after Mickey Conn stepped
down to take a position on the
staff at Clemson University.
If Herron can lead the
Rams, the 2011 state champions, he would become the
first coach in state history
to win a state title at three
different high schools.
Herron has already won four
state championships. He led
Oconee County to the 1999
state title, before winning
three championships at
Camden County, most
recently in 2009.
Herron has spent the past
three seasons at Prince
Avenue Christian in Athens
and holds a 273-51 career
record, among his 26 seasons
as a head coach.
COLQUITT COUNTY WILL
put its 30-game winning
streak on the line to open the
2016 season when it faces
Mill Creek in the Corky Kell
Classic in the Georgia Dome.
The game will be a
rematch of the 2015 Class
AAAAAA state semifinal
game that featured Colquitt
County beating Mill Creek
52-31, the Hawks’ only loss
in 2015. Colquitt County
went on to claim its second
straight state championship
the following week with a
30-13 win over Roswell.
Mill Creek is 0-3 all-time
against Colquitt County,
which includes a 31-14 loss to
the Packers in the 2014 Corky
This will mark Mill Creek’s
third straight appearance in
the Corky Kell, and Colquitt
County’s fifth. The Packers
are 4-1 in the kickoff classic.
Rush Propst’s year-long suspension, which was being appealed at
presstime, will have a major impact on Colquitt County in 2016.