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Priceville jumps to Class 4A in 2006-07 year

By Staff
Decatur drops to 5A, will participate in Region 8 with Hartselle and Brewer
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
When the Bulldogs take the football field next season, they'll see plenty of new faces on the opposite sideline.
In the new Alabama High School Athletic Association classification, which takes place in the fall of 2006 and will remain into effect until 2008, Priceville moves from Class 2A to Class 4A. The change took place as a result of Priceville's sudden increase in high school population from 187 students for the 2005-06 school year to 299 students in the most recent student count.
Priceville is ranked 51st among 65 Class 4A schools, with Hamilton and its 288 students the smallest of all schools in the classification. Central High School of Tuscaloosa with its 398 students is the largest Class 4A school.
The Bulldogs' football team will participate in Region 7 with Ardmore, Columbia, East Lawrence, East Limestone, Madison County, North Jackson and DAR.
Priceville finished 5-5 in the 2005 season against a schedule where the largest opponents were Class 3A Danville and West Limestone, both of whom the Bulldogs defeated, and Class 3A Hanceville, who squeaked past Priceville 6-3 in the Bulldogs' season opener.
"(Moving up to 4A was) something we totally expected after seeing the way the school has grown in the past years," Priceville football coach Marty Chambers said. "It's going to be a great challenge. Any time you move up two classifications you know the level of competition is going to be that much greater.
"North Jackson and East Limestone are both historically Class 4A powerhouses so it's going to be exciting to compete against that caliber of team."
The Bulldogs will also step up the size of their non-region opponents – Priceville will open its 2006 season with Class 5A Brewer.
In basketball, Priceville will compete in Area 15 with East Lawrence, Fairview and Lawrence County.
Though Priceville was the only area team that was moved to a different classification, all local teams will compete in realigned regions next season.
Hartselle and Brewer will continue to compete in Region 8, but they will face some new faces on next season's region docket. Cullman, Curry and Walker all moved to Region 6, and J.O. Johnson (moved from Region 7), West Point (moved up from Class 4A) and Decatur (moved down from Class 6A) will take their place.
Athens, Muscle Shoals and Russellville remain in Region 8.
The Tigers are already very familiar with Decatur, since Hartselle traditionally plays both Decatur and Austin to determine the informal "Decatur city champion." Hartselle coach Bob Godsey says the re-alignment adds excitement to the yearly Decatur-Hartselle matchup.
"This game was already a big deal, but now it's even bigger," Godsey said. "It's always been a heated game but now that it's going to potentially be for a playoff spot it will be emphasized even more."
Danville remains in Region 7, where Carbon Hill, Sulligent, Winfield and Winston County have been moved and replaced with Holly Pond (moved up from Class 2A), Madison Academy (moved from Region 8), New Hope (moved from Region 6) and Sumiton Christian (moved from Region 4).
The Blue Devils will see new region opponents beginning with the 2006 season. Falkville, Cleveland and Cold Springs all move from Region 7 to Region 5. Falkville will be joined in Region 5 by Fultondale (moved down from 3A), J.B. Pennington (moved down from 3A), Vincent (moved from Region 4), Victory Christian (moved up from 1A) and Westbrook Christian (moved from Region 6).