Three teams in Jackson County will move into new classes during the 2022-23 school year, two of which are moving up into some of Georgia’s highest classes.

Jackson County and Jefferson are moving up to AAAAAA and AAAAA respectively. East Jackson falls to AA, the Eagles previously competed in AA from 2007-to-2012. Commerce remains in A-Public and is one of the largest school’s in that class.

Jackson County, despite originally being designated as a AAAAA school, appealed to jump to AAAAAA. The GHSA granted the appeal at its reclassification meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 10).

The Panthers made a similar decision in 2019 when it appealed to jump to AAAAA from AAAA. Athletic director Brad Hayes said moving up a class allows the school to better control how it builds its programs. Jackson County expects to be designated as a AAAAAA school during the next round of reclassifications in 2023.

Jefferson appealed to move in the other direction. The GHSA’s multiplier for out-of-district students forced the Dragons to jump from AAAA to AAAAA. With the multiplier, Jefferson is on the low end of AAAAA. Without it, Jefferson would possibly still be in AAA.

East Jackson accepted an opening to drop to AA. Athletic director Shawn Lindsay elaborated on the decision to drop:

“We just hope that the move provides our entire athletic department a better chance to compete within the region,” he said. “Competing for playoff spots certainly generates more excitement in the school and the community. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The Eagles leave behind a Region 8-AAA that had had three football teams ranked in the top 10 throughout the 2021 season. All four teams from the region are still in the playoffs.

Commerce has been a mainstay in Class A since 1982. However, Tigers may be on the move in the coming year as growth in the area and the GHSA multiplier has Commerce near the top of the Class A enrollment chart. For now, Commerce stays in GHSA’s smallest class and Region 8-A Public likely won’t see much change.

PROPOSED REGIONS

Non-football schools marked by *

Region 8-A Public

•Commerce

•Georgia Fugees Academy*

•Greene County

•Lake Oconee Academy*

•Lincoln County

•Taliaferro County*

•Towns County

•Warren County

•Washington-Wilkes

•Woody Gap*

Region 8-AA

•Banks County

•Barrow Arts and Sciences*

•East Jackson

•Elbert County

•Fannin County

•Oglethorpe County

•Rabun County

•Union County

Region 8-AAAAA

•Clarke Central

•Eastside

•Flowery Branch

•Heritage, Conyers

•Jefferson

•Loganville

•Winder-Barrow

Region 8-AAAAAA

•Apalachee

•Gainesville

•Habersham Central

•Jackson County

•Lanier

•North Forsyth

•Shiloh

Locations

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