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Johnson to continue non-region football schedule

Knights would have faced daunting 8-AAAA slate in coming seasons

POSTED: December 12, 2013 2:24 p.m.

In a move to build a more competitive football program for the future, Johnson High’s administration made its decision known Wednesday to continue playing a non-region football schedule for the next two years during the Region 8-AAAA meeting Wednesday in Oakwood.

The Knights played a non-region schedule during the 2012 and 2013 season, finishing with an 8-12 combined record.

The non-region schedule designation only applies to football. Playing a non-region schedule means Johnson is not eligible for the playoffs.

Johnson athletic director Matt Stowers says that the decision was made among its administration late last week, and informed the rest of the region of its intentions during the collective meeting of the newly drawn 10-program region at Johnson.

The Knights need only now to write a letter to the Georgia High School Association, making the sanctioning body aware of the decision for it to be official, according to Stowers.

For the coming two years, Region 8-AAAA will become one of the strongest in the state with seven 2013 football playoff qualifiers meshing to form one powerhouse 10-school region.

The teams, based on current alignment, will include Buford, North Hall, White County, Chestatee, Monroe Area, North Oconee and Stephens County.

Johnson’s athletic director felt it would be more productive to piece together a schedule with local schools looking to fill out their schedule with a non-region game, rather than face a daunting schedule starting in the fall. The 10-team region will become official Friday if no schools present an appeal for a lateral move.

“I’d be lying if I said it (alignment) didn’t factor into our decision,” said Stowers, who plans to have a complete 2014 schedule ready on Jan. 13.

Stowers said the decision to continue the non-region schedule was fully endorsed by Johnson principal Stan Lewis and football coach Jason Roquemore. He said none of the other projected schools in the region expressed any opposition to allowing the Knights to continue the same path for the 2014 and 2015 season.

Johnson originally took up a non-region schedule after an 0-10 record in Region 8-AAA during the 2011 season under then-coach Paul Friel. The Knights bounced back with a 6-4 record in 2012, but finished just 2-8 this season.

Johnson has played in Region 8-AAAA since 2012 alongside recent playoff qualifiers Monroe Area, Chestatee and Stephens County.

Top-ranked Buford (14-0) will play for the Class AAA state championship against Washington County on Friday in Atlanta, then prepare for the move up in classification to join 8-AAAA next season.

The Knights most recently made the postseason in 2004 and finished the season 7-4.



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