NHS, Cathedral affected

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

NATCHEZ — After narrowly missing being moved down to Class 5A the last time, Natchez High School managed to get bumped down a classification.

Cathedral High School, meanwhile, stayed in the same classification but had its chief rival move to a different region.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced Friday reclassification, effective fall 2013 to spring 2015.

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NHS will join Brookhaven, Laurel, South Jones, Wayne County, Pearl River Central, West Jones and Wingfield in Region 3-5A. Classification for Classes 1-6A is based on the number of students at the school, The last time the Bulldogs faced realignment in winter 2010, they narrowly missed moving down to 5A by less than 20 students.

Bulldogs head coach Lance Reed said 5A would present a new challenge, as his school has gotten used to the same 6A teams over a period of time.

“It’s just a matter of playing with new teams,” Reed said. “We’ve played in 6A for the whole time I’ve been here,”

Reed also said the move will pit his team against schools that may be more comparable to NHS in terms of available resources.

“There are great teams in 6A as well as in 5A,” Reed said. “We go from being smallest 6A school to a larger 5A school, so the programs will be very comparable as far as budget, facilities and things of that sort. Sometimes you play some 6A schools that have a lot more things that we have.”

Cathedral High School will remain in Region 4-1A, but heated rival St. Aloysius will move to Region 2-1A, which is in Class 1A North, instead of the South with Cathedral.

Green Wave head coach Ron Rushing said the two schools would still play each other. The Green Wave will open next season against the Flashes as a non-region game instead of playing the game toward the end of the season. Following that, Cathedral will play St. Joseph Catholic out of Madison before a string of nine straight region games.

“We kind of wanted to beef (the schedule) up early and get ourselves tested,” Rushing said.

Though it will be different playing St. Al to open the season, Rushing said he still expects his players to get excited about the annual rivalry game.

“Whether it’s first, middle or end (of the year), the kids will play extremely hard,” Rushing said. “Maybe it will give us momentum in summer workouts to build toward that game.”

Franklin County, Wilkinson County and Jefferson County all remained in Region 7-3A. Crystal Springs, Wesson and Hazlehurst will round out that region.