TSSAA about to split schools into new classes

Douglas Fritz • Oct 15, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Classification time is near, and the TSSAA will divide all schools into Class AAA, Class AA and Class A either today or Wednesday.

These classifications will apply for all sports and take effect next school year.

This part of the process will not be the final step because schools will have until Oct. 24 to make a decision on moving up to a higher classification. However, according to TSSAA assistant executive director Matthew Gillespie, once the classification break points are set, they will not change because of teams choosing to move up in classification.

“Say there were 100 schools in each classification,” said Gillespie. “If 10 moved from Class AA to Class AAA, the final structure would be 100 in Class A, 90 in Class AA and 110 in Class AAA.”

Looking at the enrollment figures on the TSSAA website, it appears the rumored drop of Sullivan Central and Sullivan South to Class AA could be a reality — but it would be very close.

Sullivan Central is No. 111 in the state in enrollment size with 1,017 students. Sullivan South stands at No. 115 with 978 students.

Taking out the 46 schools that chose Division II under the current classification, and removing the 15 co-op schools, the cutoff for each Division I class would be approximately 112 schools — putting South in Class AA and putting Central right on the edge.

Helping Central’s cause would be the TSSAA multiplier, which could bump a Division I independent school from Class AA to Class AAA. That would allow Central to slide down.

There are variables, including a Division II school deciding to move to Division I independent, that could affect the final version. Also, Central or South could choose to move back to Class AAA even if they are slotted as Class AA. But that seems unlikely because both schools would benefit a great deal in terms of athletic success if they didn’t have to face Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett for conference contests and playoff situations.


Districts will be prepared by the TSSAA on Oct. 25. On Nov. 15, the Board of Control will officially set districts and regions for the four-year period beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

n Science Hill is the fourth-largest school in the state, with 2,207 students. Dobyns-Bennett is No. 21, with 1,856.

n Dobyns-Bennett’s football team has scored 218 points in its last three games. Across the state, 204 of the 334 teams have scored fewer than 218 points for the entire season.

The Indians are averaging 58.4 points per game, totaling 467. That puts them ahead of the pace for Greeneville’s record total of 748 points in 15 games, an average of 49.9.

Here is the state’s scoring list through eight weeks:

Team G Pts

Dobyns-Bennett 8 467

Dekalb County 9 428

Lexington 8 393

CAK 8 392

Murf. Siegel 8 360

Greenback 9 359

Cheatham County 8 356

Giles County 8 355

Knox Fulton 8 354

Mt. Pleasant 8 354


Soccer update: Science Hill’s girls roll into tonight’s district tournament semifinal contest with a record of 11-3-3 and eyes on bigger and better things.

However, head coach Megan Harmon said the first step, tonight’s elimination contest, is the most important.

“Something we’re going to stress (Monday) at practice and during the tournament is this: We can’t worry about state until we take care of the first game in the district,” said Harmon. “Tomorrow doesn’t exist if you lose (in the semifinals). We’re trying not to look ahead, and just do what we do best.”

One thing the Hilltoppers do well these days is finish. They’ve scored 33 goals in their last six games, including a tough 2-2 tie with Hardin Valley Academy last week.

“We told the girls back in July we want to be hitting our stride in October,” said Harmon. “At the beginning of the season we couldn’t finish. Now we’re doing a good job of finishing. And our defense is taking pride, wanting a shutout every time we play.

“We’ve worked all year to get to this point. We’ve got to keep playing the way we know how.”

Science Hill plays against either Sullivan Central or Daniel Boone in tonight’s first semifinal at 5 o’clock at Indian-Highland Park. The second semifinal will begin at 7.

The championship is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m.


More soccer: For area teams in Class A-AA, a district tournament will not be held. Teams will move into the region tournament with the quarterfinals beginning today as Chuckey-Doak plays host to Grainger at 5 p.m.

On Thursday, top-seeded Elizabethton (9-6-2 overall) plays host to Cumberland Gap at 7 p.m. while University High is at Cosby at 6:30. No. 2 seed Greeneville (7-7-2) will be home to play Claiborne at 6:30.

The region semifinals will be played Sept. 23 at the home fields of the higher seeds. The championship is scheduled for Sept. 25 at the home field of the higher seed.


Football games of the week: Tennessee High at Science Hill, Sullivan South at Daniel Boone, Unaka at Unicoi County, West Greene at Chuckey-Doak, Greeneville at Grainger.

Vikings vs. Hilltoppers — Coming off a 70-point defensive effort, it’s hard to imagine Tennessee High having a lot of confidence to battle Science Hill. However, these teams each have 17 wins in the last 34 games of this tight rivalry.

Rebels vs. Trailblazers — It doesn’t take much to get these neighbors riled up against each other. With playoff positioning likely at stake, it should be a hard-fought four-quarter battle.

Rangers vs. Blue Devils — Being a heavy favorite isn’t all that common for Unicoi County. But with a playoff berth likely the reward for a win, the Blue Devils can’t afford to relax.

Unicoi running back Hunter Abbott got the ultimate compliment earlier this season when an opposing player asked his coach, “Why is he so hard to tackle?” The coach replied, “Look how he’s built, and he runs so hard.”

Buffaloes vs. Black Knights — It’s the final game of the regular season for West Greene, which likely needs a victory if it doesn’t want to hang the shoulder pads up until 2013.

Greene Devils vs. Grizzlies — Even though Greeneville is a giant favorite, first place in the Blue Ridge Conference is still on the line.


Pick of the Week — Science Hill 41, Tennessee High 25.

This could resemble a shootout at times, but the Hilltoppers have more ammunition and more weapons.

Picks record: 9-0.


Player of the week — Malik Foreman of Dobyns-Bennett.

Continuing his string of impressive performances since moving to the quarterback position a few weeks ago, the senior totaled 333 yards of offense in a 70-24 win over Tennessee High.

Foreman rushed for 264 yards on just 10 carries, producing five touchdowns on runs of 35, 61, 56, 25 and 64 yards. He also threw a pair of 13-yard scoring strikes to account for seven of his team’s 10 touchdowns.


The Hogs Award — Elizabethton Cyclones.

The Cyclo Hogs won this honor in the first half of a 34-7 win over Johnson County. In what was expected to be a fairly close game, Elizabethton’s line mowed down Johnson County’s defense for 361 yards rushing on just 26 attempts for an average of 13.9 yards per carry — leading to a 34-0 halftime advantage.

And the Cyclones did it without even one pass attempt.


Defensive unit of the week — Daniel Boone Trailblazers.

In a 44-7 thumping of Sullivan Central, the Trailblazer’s defense basically pitched a shutout. The Cougars ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, but didn’t score the rest of the way.

Boone limited Central to 45 yards rushing on 25 carries, and held it to 70 yards of total offense.


This Week in Prep History — October 12, 1990.

Tennessee High’s defense shut Science Hill down in a 24-7 victory.

Science Hill entered the game averaging 314 yards of offense, but got just 71 on the ground, 79 through the air, and tossed three interceptions.


Greeneville and Hampton jump past Tennessee High in this week’s Prep Top 10.

Team W-L Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett 8-0 1

2. Science Hill 8-0 2

3. Daniel Boone 6-2 3

4. Elizabethton 7-2 4

5. Sullivan North 8-1 5

6. Greeneville 5-3 7

7. Hampton 7-1 8

8. Tennessee High 5-3 6

9. Sullivan South 4-4 10

10. Johnson County 4-4 9

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