Jackson County was originally scheduled to bump up from Class AAA to Class AAAA in the latest reclassification cycle, but the school will play up even further.

Jackson County’s request to the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) to move up to Class AAAAA was approved by the GHSA reclassification committee Tuesday (Nov. 12).

The school’s new eight-team region, 8-AAAAA, will include Apalachee, Clarke Central, Eastside, Loganville, Walnut Grove, Johnson-Gainesville and Augusta-area school Greenbrier (schools have until Nov. 19 for lateral-transfer appeals).

Jackson County has played in Class AAA since 2012.

The school’s athletic director, Brad Hayes, explained the decision.

“We have appealed to play up in AAAAA for the next two years because we feel that this is the best decision for our kids, and that is who we advocate for,” he said.

“As we have always said, we are excited about the rapid growth of our community, and we are not trying to hide it. Right now, we are growing at about 10 percent per year, which puts us in AAAAA two years from now.

“So, in a sense, we are turning a two-year cycle into four years for our kids. We have actually been discussing moving up for a pretty long time for these reasons.”

With a reclassification count of 1,326 students, Jackson County was initially placed in Class AAAA for the 2020-22 cycle, which would have put the school in a region with Jefferson, Flowery Branch, Cedar Shoals, Chestatee, East Hall, Madison County and North Oconee. 

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