• 48°

New prep alignment set

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

JACKSON — Picayune is 0-5 against Wayne County on the football field, including losing three times over the past four years in the state playoffs.

Beginning next season, and for at least the next two years, the Maroon Tide won’t have to wait until the postseason to try and snap that losing streak.

Both Picayune and Pearl River Central will be headed north, so to speak, for the next two seasons in new league alignments announced by the Mississippi High School Activities Association on Friday.

PIcayune and PRC both moved up to Class 5A from Class 4A, in the statewide reclassification process as the MHSAA moved from a five class format to a six class format for the first time ever.

And, as expected, PMHS and PRC were moved from an alignment that included mostly schools from the coast to one that is widely separated.

The two local schools will now be in Region 3-5A for football purposes, which will also include Wayne County, West Jones, Brookhaven, McComb, Stone High and Forest Hill from the Jackson area.

“It’s exactly what I figured would happen,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee, who was in Jackson Friday when the new regions were announced. “It’ll be a lot more travel for us, I know that, but you gotta do what you gotta do. It will also be a big upgrade in the competition level from what we have had the past few years, but maybe that can turn into a good thing.”

Poplarville remained in Class 4A, and there will be some familiarity in its new region as Poplarville will be joined in Region 8-4A by Bay High, St. Stanislaus and Pass Christian as well as Greene County and Forrest County AHS. “I think six classes is much better, that’s why I was one of those that pushed so hard for it,” Poplarville Athletics Director John Miller said. “I think it’s good for us, because we will be playing schools much more close to us in enrollment and size. We are excited about the changes.”