ECHS drops to 4A in reclassification realignment [Updated]

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Escambia County dropped down to Class 4A from 5A in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s reclassification realignment for 2016-18.

Every two years, the AHSAA reclassifies schools with athletic programs based average daily membership numbers for those in 10-12th grades. Ninth grade students count only if they are repeating the grade. The numbers are compiled after the first 40 days of school.

ECHS had an enrollment of 359.8 students, a decrease of 30, which allowed it to drop down to 4A.

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Escambia County Superintendent John Knott said during the last reclassification, the system appealed the decision.

“We felt like that we had some questions about putting us in that class with our numbers, but bottom line, association made determination that was our class,” Knott said. “We were the smallest 5A school in the state. It’s kind of ironic – FHS was the largest 2A and county high was the smallest 5A.

In that 5A class, they were playing schools that had much larger enrollments, and it was a challenge to compete in that league with those numbers.”

However, Knott said he’s pleased with the most recent round of reclassification realignment.

“We are so tickled to get into the 4A classification,” he said. “We’re really excited that we will play some schools that will be closer to our geographical area, and since we’ve got another county 4A school, it makes for competitive sports.”

In football, the Blue Devils will be playing in Class 4A, Region 1 with Andalusia, Monroe County, Satsuma, Thomasville, UMS-Wright and county rival W.S. Neal for the next two seasons until the next reclassification realignment takes place.

ECHS football coach Royce Young said his team’s new region is pretty tough, even if his team dropped to Class 4A.

“It’s still a killer region,” Young said. “This southwest part of the state is by far probably the best talent there is.

“UMS beat St. Paul’s last year, and St. Paul’s went to win the championship,” he said. “Bottom line, we’ve got to get better no matter where they put us and what region we’re in. We’ve just got to come up to the level of our competition.”

Young said to get to the next level of competition, the middle school program has been working on placing the needed steps in to get there.

Young added that the weight room is open Monday through Thursday for athletes who want to come in and get stronger.

AHS and UMS finished in the Class 4A state quarterfinals in 2015. Thomasville fell in the first round.

In volleyball, ECHS will be in Class 4A, Area 2 with MCHS and WSN.

Here is a break down for the Blue Devils, sport by sport:


• Class 4A, Area 2 — Andalusia, Monroe County and W.S. Neal


• Class 4A, Area 2 — Monroe County and W.S. Neal


• Class 4A, Area 2 — Monroe County and W.S. Neal