Friday, November 30, 2007

SMN column on Savannah Public School Classification

Playing field not level for public school teams
Rich McGowan Friday, November 30, 2007 at 12:30 am

Savannah's Class AAAAA schools out of their league.

It's time Savannah-Chatham public schools decide what is more important, saving a few dollars or the self-esteem of their student-athletes.

Once again, the Georgia High School Association reclassified its member schools by enrollment and, once again, the local public high schools have chosen to play in a class where, for the most part, they can't compete.

While the enrollments of Groves, Jenkins and Johnson place them in Class AAAA, and Windsor Forest, Savannah High and Beach fall into Class AAA, the powers that be have decided to lump all of them together in Class AAAAA.

The reasoning for such logic boils down largely to two arguments: money and the desire to stay within the same region.

If all the local schools want to play one another, that's understandable. As the GHSA disallows schools to move down in class, if placing the smaller three schools up one level to Class AAAA allows that to happen, fine. But Class AAAAA?

As the local schools' showing in the football playoffs in recent years has shown, our local public schools simply cannot compete at that level right now. To force them to do so is wrong.

The public schools are putting the cost of travel to Class AAAA and Class AAA region opponents above the cost of seeing its student-athletes getting waxed going up against Class AAAAA schools in the postseason.

Some will say the local schools are not just competitive but successful in other sports at the AAAAA level, and they're right.

Both Beach basketball teams and the Savannah High boys' team traditionally do well. Groves' wrestling squad has been a frequent state qualifier, while Savannah Arts Academy has won the Region 3-AAAAA boys' cross country title for three straight years.

But how many schools' self-esteem and pride hinge on the success of the cross country team? And if these schools are successful at the Class AAAAA level, why would they be any less successful in Class AAAA?

With all respect to other sports, football is king in this country and in this state. Why do the local public schools sacrifice any shot at success on the gridiron simply to maintain the status quo?

Classification not the only problem

This is not to say that playing at their own classifications will immediately transform Johnson and Savannah High into perennial football powers.

All the local schools could stand an improvement in dedication on the part of the players themselves. Being successful at football means year-round work and discipline. Local coaches have said such characteristics are lacking in their programs.

But it's hard to convince 16- and 17-year-olds to commit themselves to a program when you can count its wins over a two- or three-year period on one hand. Moving down in class may help a team win a few more games and may, in turn, help improve the numbers of those wanting to participate.

And who knows, some better football in the area may draw more fans to the stadiums on Friday nights, therefore increasing revenue.

Peggy Johnson, athletics director for Savannah-Chatham public schools, was unavailable for comment, but in a memo to superintendent Thomas Lockamy, she outlined the reasons for the decision to keep the schools in Class AAAAA.

Among the reasons for staying put, she listed "revenue would be impacted because of the lack of rivalry games."

The biggest local rivalry is Savannah High vs. Beach, particularly in basketball. But both schools fall into the AAA classification, so how would those games be lost? And, as stated earlier, you can move the Class AAA schools into Class AAAA to keep all the local teams together, and what have you lost? A football beatdown from Camden County.

Another reason given for continuing to play in Class AAAAA is the travel requirements for a move to Class AAAA or AAA. But, if the schools remained together in Class AAAA, that would be six teams, seven including Savannah Arts Academy, in one region. Would one or two non-local teams in the region cast such a travel burden? And if the GHSA put more teams than that into the region it would have to split it into subregions. The Savannah teams would certainly be kept together, thus eliminating most - possibly all - travel.

And even if playing in the proper classification did increase the cost of travel, are the dollars spent worth more than seeing Savannah's student-athletes competitive come playoff time?

Sometimes, the cheaper option is not necessarily the right option.

Here's hoping two years from now the public schools will get it right.

Latest Region 3-AAAAA enrollment figures

Camden County - 2,862

Bradwell Institute - 1,840

Jenkins - 1,727

Groves - 1,521.5

Johnson - 1,511

Windsor Forest - 1,240.5

Savannah High - 1,148

Beach - 1,054.5

Savannah Arts Academy - 679

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A.J. Green One Handed Catch

I got this off of Fighting Gamecock Forum. Those delusional bastards still think they have a shot at him. I can't wait to kick their ass next year. CMR and myself already have the keys to Columbia and WB Stadium so I'm not too worried. I'll go ahead and set the line: Georgia -27.5

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

By The Way...

As most of you know by now, the Dawghouse blog is no more. It was fun while it lasted but it is over... for now. I was sick as a dog (no pun intended) a couple of weeks ago when I initially stopped posting on my blog. Then with papers, looking for jobs, moving out of my apartment, Thanksgiving, etc. I just never really got back around to it. The next month or so looks to be just as busy so I decided to discontinue the blog. When things settle down a little, maybe in January, I'll probably start it back up. For now though, I'm going to get back to my roots...No, not those roots...

Only in America is where it all started for me so while the Dawghouse blog goes into temporary hibernation for the winter, I'll be posting any thoughts I feel like sharing on here. I can already see a rant coming Monday if Ohio St. backs their sorry ass into the National Championship game or the Rose Bowl snubs Georgia in favor of Illinois. Obviously Willie is off the hot seat for the moment, at least until after the bowl game. Muschamp is probably going to be a head coach come next season so we missed out on that opportunity. I'll probably do a lot of stuff if Georgia ends up in the Rose Bowl against USC and CPC. It's going to be an exciting weekend of college football because Georgia has a legitimate (albeit long) shot at a National Championship birth and they don't even have to play on Saturday. With the way this season has gone, anything and everything is possible. GO PITT and BOOMER SOONER JR, BOOMER SOONER!Better late than never- Artwork by GFS IV...

While it didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, I think it's still okay. On the plus side, I won't get banned from Blogger for this picture.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Question of the Day

Editors Note: This question is directed mainly at Jack, because of his expertise, but anyone is more than welcome to enter their two cents.

How come in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" starring Will Smith, Geoffrey (the Butler) is such an asshole to Uncle Phil (his boss) and he never gets fired? Is (or was there) a shortage of butler in the Bel-Air area?

In order to be considered one of the greatest show ever there can't be these types of "holes" in the plot.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And with the 1st Overall Pick by the Miami Dolphins...

Bryan Gray!?!? If getting noticed was what he was looking to do he certainly did it this weekend with a stellar performance vs. Drake. In their 33-0 ass beating BG managed three interceptions (a school record) and 4 tackles. In doing so he was named the Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Week, and The Sports Network National (Football Championship Subdivision) Defensive Player of the Week.

In other news Nickens declared "Shenanigans" and Matty D is still the frontrunner for the HBH
p.s. your welcome for the picture of Brennan