By Jamie Wachter / Sports Editor
The Meridian Star
Newton High School appears to be moving back to Class 2A. The rest of the area schools will stay right where they are.
At least if the October student enrollment numbers the Mississippi High School Activities Association released Thursday, numbers it received from the Mississippi State Department of Education, are accurate. MHSAA is in a reclassification year with the new classes to be released officially next month.
However, since moving to six classifications four years ago, the schools with the 32 largest enrollments are Class 6A with the next 32 in Class 5A and the 40 smallest schools based on enrollment fall into Class 1A with the rest of the schools split evenly among classes 2A, 3A and 4A.
Using that model, Meridian will again be in the state's largest class as MHS has the eighth largest enrollment in the state with 1,551. The Wildcats, though, will be affected as current football division foe Natchez is in line to drop back to Class 5A. George County, where MHS alum and former Meridian assistant and Quitman head coach John Douglass is the football coach and athletic director, also appears to be dropping to 5A along with Vicksburg. They would be replaced by Starkville, Provine and Hernando.
Starkville and Provine have both resided in Division 2-5A in football the past two seasons alongside Neshoba Central. The Rockets again fall inside Class 5A with 890 students although they also will experience a new-look division with those departures. Joining the Rockets in Class 5A will be Laurel, which now has the 64th largest enrollment in the state with 741 students.
With the Golden Tornadoes moving up, Division 5-4A will also have a new look although area squads West Lauderdale, Northeast Lauderdale, Quitman and Newton County along with Northeast Jones all still fall into what should be Class 4A.
Choctaw Central, Southeast Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Kemper County all should return to Class 3A, although Newton and its 276 students should fall into Class 2A. With that return to 2A, the Tigers will be joined by fellow area teams Clarkdale, Enterprise and Union.