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New region alignments announced
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It's in. Coaches around the state of Georgia have been eagerly awaiting the new region alignments as voted on by the Georgia High School Association.

The coaches around Dawson County High School are walking around with big grins on their faces.

Gone are Buford, White County and North Hall. Incoming are rival Lumpkin County and Franklin County to Region 7-AAA.

Dawson County remained in AAA with the highest enrollment of any school in that classification.

The GHSA voted on the new region alignments on Dec. 3. Schools have until Dec. 13 to submit their interest in appeal for a lateral transfer to another region.

Region 7-AAA will stack up as follows: Franklin County, Lumpkin County, Fannin County, Banks County, West Hall, Dawson County and East Hall.

The region will remain this way for 2014-16.

What does this mean for sports at Dawson County High?

In football; gone are the Class AAA perennial state champions Buford, who have a good shot at winning the state title again on Friday night, and North Hall and White County who both made it to the state playoffs this season. These three schools accounted for a 30-6 combined record this season. This does not count the state championship game for Buford on Dec. 13.

Replacing those three schools in the region are: Lumpkin and Franklin.

Lumpkin posted a 2-8 record last season, while Franklin was 1-9 in Region 8-AAA.

The combined record of West Hall (6-5), East Hall (5-5), Fannin County (2-8), and Banks County (0-10) was 13-28. Dawson County finished 5-5 last season.

"We are excited by our new region alignment," said head football coach Jeff Lee. "It will be pretty exciting around here for the next two years. We will match up very well with all the schools. I think the GHSA did a very good job in trying to keep as much stability within each region. Our football team is working to make the 2014 season a very special season."

For Coach Thad Burgess and the boys basketball program, the loss of Buford (26-7; state playoffs), North Hall (28-4; Final Four), and White County (10-16), it will be a chance to continue the winning ways of the program.

Franklin County will enter the region coming off a 19-10 record and a state playoff spot. Lumpkin County boys have struggled in recent years. Last season the Indians were 4-23.

Back are basketball teams East Hall (13-16), West Hall (11-15), Fannin County (2-19) and Banks County (5-21).

"I believe the new region is a perfect fit for us," Burgess said. "I believe it will be competitive for all sports in Dawson County.

"Franklin County should be a new situation, as we have never played them in any sport since I have been here, but I know they have had runs of success in all sports. We will be close to most schools travel wise, and that will be nice to renew the Lumpkin rivalry, although we have been playing them in most sports. I believe we came out as good as possible to be in an area that is very similar competitively to each other."

Burgess, also the varsity baseball coach, commented on the new alignment from that program's standpoint.

"From a baseball standpoint, I believe we should be very competitive in our area and statewide with the loss of Buford and Cartersville, and a couple of private schools moving up to Class AAAA. Franklin is moving in as a new opponent and brings a history of playoff appearances. We have done very well against the other teams in our region in the past, and I see it being very competitive for all teams in which every area team will have a chance to win the region both years in this new format."

In baseball White County (17-10; state playoffs), Buford (22-6; state playoffs), and North Hall (32-6; state Class AAA runner-up) are gone.

Franklin County (15-15; state playoff) and Lumpkin County (13-13) replace these three teams.

Back are East Hall (10-17), West Hall (9-15), Fannin County (6-17) and Banks County (2-24). Dawson County was 13-15 last season.

Gone in softball are state Class AAA champions Buford. Buford finished the season 37-1 last season and won its seventh consecutive state title. White County (7-17) is also moving regions. The Lady Warriors captured a state championship in the recent past. Also leaving is North Hall (7-17).

Returning to the region are state qualifiers from last season East Hall (13-11), Fannin (17-16) and Banks County (16-11). Dawson County did not qualify and posted a 14-10 record last year.

Entering are state playoff bound teams Franklin County and Lumpkin County.

In girls' basketball, gone will be Buford (24-5; state playoffs), White County (15-12) and North Hall (14-11).

Coming into Region 7-AAA will be Franklin County (14-12) and Lumpkin County (5-21).

Last season's remaining teams in the region are East Hall (9-16), West Hall (9-17), Fannin (10-19; state) and Banks County (17-9).

Dawson County (27-6) finished as the Class AAA state runner-up last season.

The new regions will become active beginning with the 2014-15 school year.