Panic spread around town in August when the TSSAA voted to reclassify its football classes for next fall. The plan called for the top 32 schools based on enrollment to play in a “Super 6” class, where most of the state’s football powerhouses would meet each year.
While not a powerhouse, Warren County knew it could be on the move based on enrollment numbers exceeding 1,700 students this year. Fingers were crossed and petitions were signed in hopes the Pioneers wouldn’t have to move, but Thursday’s announcement from the TSSAA seemed to burst bubbles all across Warren County.
Warren County High School, with 1,787 students, ranks 25th in the state in terms of enrollment. White Station High School in Memphis tops the list with 2,289 students, while LaVergne High School forms the cut-off line at No. 32 with 1,723 students. All numbers were provided by the TSSAA website.
WCHS athletic director Todd Willmore knew the Pioneers would be in the mix to move and now will wait to see where the chips will fall in the next few weeks.
“Originally, it felt like we would go east if we were among the 32 schools,” said Willmore. “There will be two districts in Middle Tennessee. I’ve look at it a number of ways, but there’s no easy way to do it.”
Willmore admits any guesses right now are pure speculation, especially with the potential of teams requesting to play 6A. Teams not currently in the “Super 32” can request to play up next year in the largest class in the state, though it’s unknown if many, or any, school will choose that option.
Many fingers have pointed to Maryville High School, winners of the 6A state championship three of the last four years, moving up next season. If the Rebels decided to make the move, LaVergne would have the first option to drop.
If LaVergne chooses to remain in 6A, officials would continue to work their way up the list until a team agrees to drop down. If no team was to drop down, Maryville or any other school requesting to move up would be denied the chance.
Willmore doesn’t see Maryville being locked out if they choose to move up.
“If we’re given that option, we’d like to move down,” said Willmore.
One obstacle standing in the way for the Pioneers is the inclusion of Coffee County in the “Super 6” class at No. 30. The Red Raiders reportedly would look to move down as well.
The current classes and districts were put in place before the 2012-13 school year and were set to run through the 2016-17 school year. Reports have surfaced that any changes made next year would affect only football, meaning Warren County would stay in District 6-AAA and compete against Cookeville, White County, Stone Memorial, Cumberland County and Rhea County in all other sports except football through 2017. Nothing has been finalized though.
Willmore, like many sports fans in Warren County, is waiting to see what happens between now and Wednesday.
“Oct. 22 is the cut-off date for when we’ll know how many teams have requested to play up. It’s all speculation until then,” said Willmore.