AP NEWS

Pats football region changes

November 16, 2016

Now that the 2016 season has ended for the Henry County High School Patriots, local football fans are asking what comes next?

Patriot head coach James Counce Jr. said after some time off to rest up, the returning Patriots will enter the off-season workout program to begin building their bodies up for next season.

Reclassification has been done after two years by the Tennessee Secondary Schools with football teams in the state remaining in six classifications. More teams have been added to Class 6A so that all the classes have close to the same number of teams.

This has shifted four teams out of Region 7 5-A for next year. Centennial, Brentwood, Rossview and Dickson County move to Class 6A next fall. The Patriots joined the first three in that list in making the playoffs.

Henry County returns to that same region along with Clarksville schools Northeast, Northwest, Kenwood, West Creek and Clarksville. The Patriots will need to find five opponents from outside the district fill out the team’s schedule. Henry County has needed to find only three opponents outside the district in the last several years.

Obviously, it is unlikely that Centennial or Brentwood will remain on the Patriots’ schedule and in the past when Dickson County has been paired with schools south of Nashville, the Cougars have opted not to play Henry County. It is believed Rossview may be interested in continuing its series with the Patriots.

It is uncertain whether Liberty Tech from Jackson will remain on the schedule, but the Patriots might agree to play Houston from Germantown again despite this season’s game getting called off by a storm and the Mustangs opting not to reschedule the contest. It is uncertain what the prospects are of keeping Gallatin who joined Liberty Tech and Houston on the Patriots’ schedule the last two seasons.

Private school Briarcrest has been mentioned in the past as a possible opponent from the Memphis area along with Kentucky schools like McCracken County and Mayfield.

While completing the schedule will be a challenging for the Patriots, the program will now be competing with a roster of teams from around the state that will be closer to the set up Henry County battled during the 2011 and 2013 state championship seasons. With the Patriots returning large classes that are current juniors and sophomores with another large (and talented) freshman team moving up, things could get interesting starting next fall.

CHANGES IN OTHER SPORTS

Reclassification also has had an effect on the makeup of the districts for the others sports at HCHS.

Basketball, baseball and softball will remain in District 10-AAA with all the Clarksville schools, Springfield and new addition Montgomery Central. Henry County has played Montgomery Central on and off in those sports, but the Indians have always been a Class AA school in the past.

The HCHS volleyball and soccer programs will move into District 13-AAA. In volleyball, the Lady Patriots will be playing with Clarksville, Kenwood, Northeast, Northwest, Rossview and West Creek. Springfield is gone from the district makeup.

In boys’ and girls’ soccer, HCHS will compete against Clarksville, Rossview, Northeast, Northwest and West Creek. Gone are Kenwood and Springfield.