D211022 priceville vs west limestone

Priceville head coach Chris Foster gives instructions to the Bulldogs' defense during the game in Priceville on Thursday. [JERONIMO NISA/DECATUR DAILY]

The high school football season officially ended last Friday with the final state championships being decided.

It doesn’t take long for attention to turn to the 2022 season.

Next Tuesday, the Alabama High School Athletic Association is expected to release the reclassification numbers for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years.

The AHSAA will also release the region alignments for football along with area assignments for volleyball, cross country and swimming.

The alignments for winter and spring sports will come after those seasons end.

Two area schools that could see changes are 7A Austin and 4A Priceville. In the last reclassification in 2019, Austin was No. 26 out of 32 schools in 7A with an attendance number of 1,139.45.

Austin football coach Jeremy Perkins expects the number to be lower this time.

Could it drop the Black Bears back to 6A? There were five schools at the top of 6A in 2019 with over 1,000 students each. Could new numbers for those schools push them past Austin?

A drive through the Priceville community makes it pretty obvious that the town is one of the fastest growing places in the area. Priceville football coach Chris Foster expects that growth will bump the school from Class 4A to 5A.

Classification is based on the average daily attendance figures from the Alabama State Department of Education. The count is of freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for each private school. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes.

Here’s a look at the area schools by classification:

Class 7A: If Austin were to drop back to 6A, it would be one of the largest schools there instead of one of the smallest in 7A. Based on the 2019 numbers, Austin (1,139.45) was the second smallest in Region 4 just ahead of Florence (1,056.95).

Austin and Florence are competing in a region with five of the top 14 schools in 7A. They are No. 4 Sparkman (1,810.2), No. 7 James Clemens (1,603.05), No. 11 Grissom (1,437.35), No. 13 Huntsville (1,410.85) and No. 14 Bob Jones (1,386.00).

• Class 6A: In 2019, Decatur (806.10), Hartselle (782.50) and Athens (814.65) were all in the middle of the 59 schools in this group. Don’t expect much movement.

Class 5A: Brewer (546.85) was 12th in 2019 and East Limestone (509.95) was 17th. They might move closer to the top. Lawrence County (456.65) at 31st and Ardmore (419.70) at 37st should stay in the middle of 59 schools in 5A.

• Class 4A: Two years ago, Priceville (338.00) was 33rd out of 63 schools in 4A. Still, the Bulldogs expect to join 5A with the new reclassification. West Morgan, which was the smallest school in 4A in 2017 with 297 students, moved up in 2019 to 36th out of 63 with 326.3 students. Considering the growth in the West Morgan community, the Rebels could be looking at a future move to 5A. West Limestone (344.15) was 27th out of 63 schools two years ago.

• Class 3A: East Lawrence (282.90) was the largest school in 3A after the last reclassification. Danville (281.50) was No. 4 after dropping down from 4A. Elkmont (267.05) was No. 17 after dropping from 4A. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see East Lawrence and Danville move to 4A.

• Class 2A: Hatton (200.1) was the 11th largest school out of 62 in 2A after the last reclassification. The Hornets probably stay in 2A along with No. 28 Falkville (184.9) and No. 39 Tanner (176.15).

• Class 1A: The largest area school in 1A is private school Lindsay Lane. Using the 1.35 multiplier, Lindsay Lane’s number was 31st out of 78 at 119.07. Steve Murr, the head of Lindsay Lane, says the school’s numbers for grades 9-11 sit currently at 109. Using the multiplier, that would compute to 143.88, which could kick the Lions into Class 2A.

The other three area schools in 1A are Decatur Heritage (117.45) at No. 34 out of 78, Athens Bible (91.13) at No. 49 and R.A. Hubbard (63.00) at No. 64. All three should stay in 1A.

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 david.elwell@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @DD_DavidElwell.

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