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Officials vote to split Class 3A into two divisions for 2014

By Jimmy Carter
Feb. 26, 2013 at 10 p.m.

School superintendents voted Monday to split Class 3A into two divisions based on enrollment in 2014, which means the division will be structured like the current Class 1A and 2A in football.

"We voted for the split," Spring Hill coach Bobby Chadwick said. "It's a little more equalization. It's a pretty easy decision for us. And I think it passed pretty easily. I don't know the exact vote count, but I think it was 3 to 1 it passed."

Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor was also in favor of the split. "It's been discussed for years and it finally happened," Traylor said. "It's just to me what's fair. It makes more sense for schools that have 450 students versus somebody that's 450 playing a lot bigger school."

Spring Hill will almost certainly be one of the small schools playing in Division II when the split occurs.

The Panthers went 3-7 in Chadwick's first year in 2012. While the program would still face tough competition, it could benefit from not having to face schools with almost twice its enrollment.

"It's going to help," Chadwick said. "I think we'll always be in a district with Gilmer. Gilmer and Gladewater. Tatum could always come up. Do you want to get the 900-plus enrollment schools out of there? Sure. But there's still going to be plenty of competition no matter where we're at. We've got a pretty good area around here."

Gilmer could be on the bubble between being a large or small school by realignment in 2014.

"We all think about that kind of stuff," Traylor said. "Every February all coaches are worried sick. But you've got to do the right things. We're right on the border. So we could be the biggest of the small and the smallest of the big.

"But to me it's just what's most fair. So we voted for it."

According to Spring Hill superintendent Wes Jones, the schools participating in Conference 3A football would be split in half, with the largest enrollment schools comprising Division I and the remaining schools comprising Division II.

Conference 3A football would consist of 32 districts, with approximately six to eight schools (when possible) in each district. Division I schools would be placed in approximately 16 districts with other Division I schools. Division II would be placed in approximately 16 districts with other Division II schools.

Four teams would advance to the playoffs from each Division.

(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: @jicartersports)



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