The Wildcats and Lions stayed in Class AA after the GHSA expanded to six classifications, but Region 6-AA has just three other schools: Wesleyan, Greater Atlanta Christian and Hapeville Christian.
Region 6-AA may be an exclusive party, yet getting into the postseason festivities from there is almost a sure thing with four spots for five teams. If they drew straws, each one would have an 80 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.
“That’ll be the next thing that will happen, everybody will be on us because they’re going to say, ‘Oh, they made the playoffs because they have a five-team region,’ like we created that or wanted that,” Westminster coach Gerry Romberg said.
They didn’t. Not only were most schools with six- or-seven-game region schedules unable to make room for Westminster’s and Lovett’s requests to get games with them, but, according to Romberg and Lovett coach Mike Muschamp, others were simply unwilling because of their successful track records.
The Lions have reached the playoffs for 10 straight years, and the Wildcats have made it the past five.
“They look at the past record and say they won’t play,” Muschamp said. “That’s not being arrogant, that’s just sort of the way it is. I had a whole bunch of people not even call back, and it’s frustrating.”
The teams did fill out their schedules, and they will be highly difficult, with both schools playing Blessed Trinity, Marist and Woodward, all playoff teams a year ago. Westminster’s only Class AA opponents outside of the region are Laney and Thomasville.
“I love playing BT and St. Pius,” Romberg said. “They’re good friends of ours from a coaching staff standpoint, plus it’s competitive and we should play them every year.”
All six of Lovett’s non-region foes are Class AAA or higher, including Fort Payne, a Class AAAAA school in Alabama.
“We’re very fortunate to have the schedule that we’ve got,” Muschamp said. “It’s very challenging, to say the least.”
However, Muschamp pointed out that scheduling football is easier, but with sports with earlier start times and higher frequency of games like softball, volleyball and basketball, it could make for more missed school and greater travel headaches.
“This is extracurricular,” Muschamp said. “Academics are supposed to be the priority here. I don’t see how we’re doing the right thing.”