HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Every two years, some high school football teams around the state of Mississippi undergo a shift in regions and/or classifications due to population size. Schools in the Pine Belt will feel the effects of these changes come next fall.
In Class 5A, local competition will heat up as Hattiesburg and Wayne County shift over to Region 3-5A. The Tigers and the War Eagles will join a mix of West Jones, South Jones and Laurel. This means the Battle for the Lil' Brown Jug will now be a region game.
“The thing about reclassification is we’re going to play where they tell us to play,” said Hattiesburg head coach Tony Vance. “We’re going to put our best foot forward and get ready to play the competition and the cards we’re dealt. We’re familiar with all those teams."
Columbia made a big move up from Class 3A to Class 4A, joining Region 7-4A that includes local opponents Sumrall, FCAHS, Poplarville and Purvis.
Region 8-3A not only lost Columbja, but saw Tylertown shift over to Region 7-3A and Magee slip into to Region 6-3A.
Jefferson Davis County, West Marion and Seminary still all remain in Region 8-3A, and will be joined by Perry Central after the Bulldogs got bumped up from Class 2A.
Other changes in Class 2A included East Marion moving over to Region 7-2A, with Stringer moving up from 1A to Region 8-2A, where the Red Devils will face off against Collins, Heidelberg, Mize and North Forrest.
Both Taylorsville and Bay Springs moved down from 2A and into Region 4-1A. Things will get interesting in that region, with the Tartars and the Bulldogs battling it out with Lumberton, Mount Olive and Richton.
“The division is definitely going to get tougher, but we’re excited about the challenge," said Lumberton head coach Zach Jones. "I think it’s going to make us better. It’s going to make us step our game up, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
“We expected to go down for several years,” said Bay Springs head coach Dan Brady. “We had three really small classes back-to-back We expect 1A to be a bit different. Travel is going to be kind of an issue. We’ve got some games further away. We lost some rivalry games that we’ve be able to play in the past even in the district. I think competition wise, they’re still going to be really good teams in the division like Taylorsville, Lumberton and some other really good ones in the division, too.”