McMinn County High School football coach Bo Cagle thought he was ahead of the game.
He filled his 2013-14 schedules in record time. Or so he thought.
The Cherokees had tentative agreements to play Knoxville Bearden and Farragut but wound up losing both games.
"The director of schools in Knox County thought it was a good idea to get into the scheduling business for Fulton High School," Cagle wrote in a letter to his athletic director, Jimmy Haynie, and the TSSAA.
The end result was that McMinn lost the games with Bearden and Farragut so each could play Fulton, which won the 2012 Class 4A state championship.
"Ten days after the districts were set, a meeting was scheduled for all Knox County football head coaches to change their schedule to accommodate Fulton," Cagle said. "This meeting was held and each team with a scheduled team outside of Knox County and not in their district had to draw a number for the week and schedule Fulton in that place.
"Guess who got on the short end of the stick of both games?"
The Cherokees wound up with games against Alcoa and McCallie.
Cagle believes the TSSAA's current six classifications for public schools are two too many.
"Make four classifications and give us 9-, 10-, 11-, 12- or 13-team regions," he said. "Georgia has many of them. Those districts can do two divisions and [in the] last week of the season could have a one-vs.-one game from each division and a two-vs.-two game to determine first, second, third and fourth for the region.
"Travel and scheduling [problems] are cut. Teams would probably want to travel in the playoffs so that the two best teams in the state can play in the state championship [even if they come from the same region].
"Has that question ever been asked when playoff format is discussed: How do we get the best two teams in the state playing in the state championship game? And if it is, what priority is it given? Second after finances, third after travel, fourth after tradition? What is best for our state is the question."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...