Shak­ing things up

AHSAA Re­align­ment Sand Rock moves down to 2A, Cedar Bluff stays 1A

Cherokee County Herald - - SPORTS - By Shan­non Fa­gan

Sand Rock foot­ball coach Steven Ch­es­nut’s first sea­son as a head coach was a big change for him.

His se­cond year at the helm of the Wild­cats will see even more ad­just­ments – but with a lot more fa­mil­iar faces.

The Alabama High School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounced its bi­en­nial re­align­ments last Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Af­ter spend­ing the past two sea­sons in Class 3A, Sand Rock drops back down to Class 2A be­gin­ning this fall.

For the past two sea­sons, the Wild­cats have com­peted against the likes of re­gion op­po­nents Brindlee Moun­tain, North Sand Moun­tain, Plain­view, Syl­va­nia, Geral­dine, New Hope and Pis­gah.

For the next two sea­sons, the Wild­cats have been placed in the new Class 2A, Re­gion 6, along with much fa­mil­iar foes Fyffe, Gas­ton, Ider, Sec­tion and West­brook Chris­tian.

Sand Rock will also rekin­dle its ri­valry with Collinsville, this time as a re­gion op­po­nent. As­bury, which be­gins its first sea­son of foot­ball this year, is also in the new Class 2A, Re­gion 6.

“It’s a lot of the peo­ple we’ve played in the past, so we’ve got a lot of fa­mil­iar­ity (in this re­gion). That will be nice,” Ch­es­nut said. “Our travel will be a lot shorter, and it will help with our crowds. I think Ider is the long­est trip we’ll make. There are a cou­ple of sur­prises, but for the most part, it’s what we ex­pected.”

Ch­es­nut said the Wild­cats are look­ing for­ward to their new re­gion, par­tic­u­larly re­new­ing their ri­valry with Collinsville.

The two teams last played in 1997, with Sand Rock win­ning 32-7. Sand Rock has won last five meet­ings in a se­ries dat­ing back to 1946, and holds a 17-10 edge in se­ries.

“It’ll be a tough re­gion game for us. They’ve been good the past few years,” Ch­es­nut said. “(Collinsville) Coach (Ernie) Willing­ham does a great job with his kids, so it should be an­other good re­gion game for us. Our kids are look­ing for­ward to play­ing Collinsville.”

Shan­non Fa­gan / Chero­kee County Her­ald

Sand Rock head foot­ball coach Steven Ch­es­nut talks to his play­ers fol­low­ing a Wild­cat prac­tice last sum­mer. The Wild­cats will move from Class 3A to Class 2A for the next two years un­der the AHSAA’s realign­ment plan, an­nounced last Wed­nes­day.

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