NORTH METRO ATLANTA — The 2020 Georgia high school football season will be historic for a bevy of reasons. While new regions won’t be at the top of the list, they add another intriguing factor to an already compelling season that has yet to kick off.
All local teams will see a shakeup in the region from last year with the 2020-21 GHSA region realignment. Some, like Denmark, Alpharetta, Blessed Trinity and Northview are in completely new regions. Others will face new opponents in their fight to earn a region title.
The team making the most significant jump is Denmark, which will now compete in the state’s highest classification, 7A, after playing in Class 4A its first two seasons as a program. Originally the GHSA placed the Danes in 6A in a region comprised of mostly Gwinnett County schools, but Denmark won its appeal to move to Region 6-7A to join its Forsyth County neighbors.
The Danes join West Forsyth, North Forsyth, Forsyth Central, Lambert, South Forsyth and Gainesville in Region 6-7A.
Joining Denmark as another newcomer to Class 7A is Alpharetta, up from 6A. The Raiders competed in the state’s highest classification from 2006 to 2015 but were not placed in Class 7A when it was established in 2016-17.
With the move, Alpharetta will join rivals Milton and Roswell in Region 5-7A. The three North Fulton schools have not competed in the same region since 2011-12.
Milton and Roswell’s bitter rivalry will extend to the field for the 66th time this season, making the series by far the most contested among local programs. The teams have not met in region play since 2015.
Roswell is familiar with the other schools in the updated region — Etowah, Cherokee and Woodstock. The Hornets faced the three Cherokee County teams in region play the past four seasons.
Dunwoody continues its ascent up in classifications and has now landed on the peak to join Class 7A. In 2010, the Wildcats were in 4A and have steadily risen in classification. Dunwoody has tough sledding ahead in its new region, 7-7A. The Wildcats are the only team outside of Gwinnett County and will face powerhouses like Archer and Norcross.
After capturing three straight Class 4A state championships, Blessed Trinity has made an unwilling jump to 5A.
The Georgia High School Association implemented a double-multiplier rule for 2020-21, which means any student who attends a school outside his or her home district is counted as two students.
With artificially inflated enrollment numbers, BT was forced to move up to 5A. They school appealed the decision, but it was overturned the GHSA.
While several local schools are now in higher classes, only one school, Northview, will move down in classification.
The Titans have been reassigned to Class 5A, dropping from Region 7-6A which included many of their fellow North Fulton schools. Northview will now compete in a 10-school region comprised of mostly DeKalb County schools.
For other local programs, the 2020-21 season won’t involve a shift in region, but it will usher in new region opponents.
Cambridge, Centennial, Chattahoochee and Johns Creek remain in 7-6A and will now compete with River Ridge, Creekview and Sequoyah from Cherokee County and Riverwood from Atlanta.
North Fulton Class-A Private schools will continue as region foes.
Fellowship Christian, King’s Ridge, Mount Pisgah and St. Francis will remain in Region 6-A, which has been updated. Only one other school, Mount Bethel, remained in the region, while several others — Brandon Hall School, Lakeview Academy and Weber School — were added.
Brandon Hall, Mount Bethel and Weber School do not field football teams. Pinecrest Academy was placed into the region, but the school has chosen to play 8-man football in a non-GHSA league.
The updated region also nixes subregions “A” and “B” to create one, cohesive grouping of schools.
Mount Pisgah had originally been placed into another region but won its appeal to stay in 6-A.