Class AA football has been free of private schools the past four seasons except for Benedictine's two-year membership that expired after the 2017 season.
That's about to change.
Darlington, Holy Innocents', Pace Academy and Wesleyan - Class A schools in enrollment - are requesting to play in Class AA next year. Lovett, currently a AAA private school, already had been reclassified for AA for 2020 based on enrollment.
Assuming the requests go through, that will mean five private schools, each holding a top-10 football ranking at some point this season, will compete in AA in 2020. Those schools are formidable in other sports, too. They won nine state titles among themselves in 2018-19.
The impact also would be felt in Class A, where the GHSA beginning in 2020 will have eight private-only regions. Without those four schools, there remain only 37 football-playing private schools to fill those eight regions. Class A public schools also will have eight regions.
Other schools requesting to play up are Savannah (to AAA), Kendrick (AAAA), Benedictine (AAAA), Carver of Columbus (AAAA), Hapeville Charter (AAAA), Jordan (AAAA), McDonough (AAAA), Spencer (AAAA), Jackson County (AAAAA), Lithonia (AAAAA), Southwest DeKalb (AAAAA), Stone Mountain (AAAAA), Kell (AAAAAA) and Statesboro (AAAAAA).
Twenty other schools are appealing their 2020-21 class placements. Those include Dacula, Calhoun, Woodward Academy, St. Pius, Greater Atlanta Christian and Blessed Trinity.
Lithia Springs wins mini-games, earns first state playoff berth
Lithia Springs won two mini-games on Monday to qualify for the state playoffs for the first time. The Lions defeated Jackson of Atlanta 3-0 in the first mini-game (two five-minute halves) and then beat 2018 Region 6-AAAAA champion Banneker 7-6 to grab the No. 4 seed. The three teams had tied for fourth place. Lithia Springs, under first-year coach Corey Jarvis, will play at Region 8 champion Clarke Central this week. Lithia Springs opened in 1976. It played in region playoffs in 1978 and 1981, but this will be the Douglas County school's first state-playoff appearance.
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