Indians to change districts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2008

COURTLAND—The Virginia High School League Redistricting and Reclassification Committee has voted to move Southampton High School to the Southside District beginning with the 2009-10 school year.

The Indians will play their final season in the Bay Rivers District beginning this fall. Southampton was a charter member of the district beginning in the 1990-91 school year.

Franklin High School was also a member of the Bay Rivers District until it dropped to the smaller Group A classification.

With an enrollment of 919, Southampton is the fourth-smallest school in the Bay Rivers District. In the eight-team Southside District, Southampton will be the second largest school behind Powhatan High School (1,351).

Littleton Parker, athletic director and football coach at Southampton, said there were three reasons for the move, including shorter travel distances to play road games, reduced time out of class for students and the possibility of better attendance at games.

There were many events this past year at SHS where attendance was low because of the distance of the visiting schools.

“The demographics for these schools are similar,” he said. “We hope that more people would travel to our games.”

Because the Bay Rivers District expanded to 11 teams last fall, it was difficult — and some cases impossible — to schedule non-conference opponents in the various athletic events. The Indians had to compromise to keep Franklin High School on its football schedule, which is the biggest gate of the year.

Southampton also had to drop its annual holiday basketball tournament because it had to play 20 district games.

Parker has already set the 2009 football schedule, which will include Franklin and Windsor High School.

Nearby Greensville County could also become a rival. Parker said he could not schedule Smithfield in football because the Packers, a member of the Bay Rivers District, will have just one slot open for a non-district game and they play Surry County.

“We hope to pick up Smithfield in basketball and other sports,” Parker said.