By DANNY P. SMITH
Starkville High School Athletic Director Stan Miller said there's no reason to appeal the decision by the Mississippi High School Activities Association to place the Yellowjackets in Class 5A, Region 2 last week.
That region includes Yazoo City, Canton, Neshoba Central, Lanier, Callaway, Provine and Ridgeland.
Lanier, Callaway and Provine are Jackson city schools. Canton and Ridgeland are located just a few miles north of Jackson. Yazoo City isn't that far northwest of the capital city.
With that being the case, Neshoba Central, located in Philadelphia, and Starkville could be considered outsiders.
Even though he saw pluses and minuses with either going north or south, Miller is satisfied how the situation worked out.
Miller said playing in a region including West Point and New Hope would have cut down on travel, but likes the way his sports match up with future opponents.
"Looking at all of our sports overall we're going to compete very well in 5A and I'll be disappointed if we're not competing for the all-sports trophy a year from now," Miller said. "I look at our teams and who we'll be competing against on the numbers. I look at cross country, the track program, our volleyball program and our swimming program. We're going to be very competitive in 5A for those two years."
"Football-wise, I think we're going to be in great shape. I look at the basketball sub-region and we're going to be in great shape there. I agree with (SHS boys basketball) coach (Greg) Carter because playing up here would have been less travel, but I'm glad we're not thrown into that other sub over there."
The Jackets will compete in a basketball sub-region with Neshoba Central, Yazoo City and Canton.
"I think what's going on with Neshoba, Yazoo City and Canton is ideal," Miller said.
With Neshoba Central in Starkville's region, it will renew a rivalry between two programs. The Jackets and Rockets used to open the season against each other back in the 80s and early 90s.
Former SHS head coach Chuck Friend is now in the same capacity at Neshoba Central and Miller's son Brent played for Friend on the Jackets back-to-back state championship teams in 1994 and 1995.
"I was fortunate at that time to be the principal (at SHS)," Miller said. "I haven't seen Chuck, but talked to his brother many times. I look forward to the rivalry. It looks real good."
Miller's only disappointment with the way the realignment turned out was that Pearl was sent to the south by the MHSAA.
With Woody Barnett being Miller's athletic director at Pearl for six years, he was looking forward to having the Pirates in the same region. It would have also been a move of family interest as Woody's son Chris is in Starkville.
"I would have loved to have seen that," Miller said. "When they moved Pearl to the south, coach Barnett said that's fine and they don't have a problem with it, but I would have loved to have seen Pearl in our district."