By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
CENTER POINT — Reclassification means different things for different schools, and it affected several high-profile schools.
Locally, the Center Point Eagles find themselves in an unenviable position, moving into 6A Region 6, putting them in direct competition against Pinson Valley and new 6A state champion Clay-Chalkville
“We’ve been put into a region with the last five champions in 6A,” Eagles coach George Bates said Tuesday afternoon after the news of the reclassification and realignment broke. “Really we have to reboot our program to come up to 6A standards.”
Coaches have been contemplating what the new alignments would look like. For Center Point, they now know. In addition to Clay-Chalkville and Pinson Valley, the rest of the region looks tough, too. Shades Valley, Huffman and Oxford round out Region 6.
“It was rumored that we’d move up,” Bates said, “but I don’t go off guessing. I wanted to see it in black and white. It’s something that we have to address immediately. To compete, we’ll have to get our depth up.
Center Point went 9-4 and made a deep run in the 5A playoffs in 2021. It will be difficult to produce those kinds of results with the realignment.
“We felt like we had a shot next year, a legit shot at a state title,” Bates said. “We’ve gotta figure out something quick. At the end of the day you can’t cry about it. This is our region now and we have to find a way to win.”
Another area team, Springville, finds itself moved down to 5A. The Tigers find themselves in familiar company as rivals Moody, Leeds and St. Clair County are part of 5A Region 6.
“For us, travel-wise, it worked out,” said Tigers head coach Jon Clements. “But these are really good teams now that we’ll be playing in region games.”
The problem for Springville is the same problem that plagues every other team across the state: reclassification means that the teams must find new out-of-region opponents.
“We’ve got to find more non-region opponents,” Clements said. “I think we’ll be fine, because we’ve got a good group of guys coming back. As far as our new region, I’ve seen that region before, and we’ll definitely have some tough opponents.”