2016-18 high school football realignment in South Carolina

Compiled by The Herald's Bret McCormick and intern Reid Williams

A couple of the likely top returning players in The Herald’s 12-school coverage area in 2016: (from left) York’s Wally Wilmore, Northwestern’s Jerry Howard and Chester’s Malik Williams. (Herald file photos by Jeff Sochko and Rob Upton)

South Carolina high schools are being realigned beginning in the fall of 2016, as the state moves to five classifications for the first time in its history. The Herald's 12 schools will be joining new regions, some familiar looking, others not.

What is all this? 

Explore team cards for each school in the four regions that lie within The Herald's 12-school coverage area. The team cards contain schedules for the 2016 season, video and more information about each school.

There is also a region card for each of the four regions that contain schools in The Herald's coverage area.

And feel free to click on the filters above some of the visualizations. They help you sort and view the information in different ways.

Download this PDF to see the 2016-18 SCHSL realignment plans for regions statewide:

Schools playing in regions in The Herald's coverage area under 2016-18 realignment

Click on the helmet to learn more about each team

Mapping new local regions for 2016-18

All over the map

The four regions that include schools in The Herald's 12-school coverage area dot much of the upper middle half of South Carolina. 

The member schools range from the Pee Dee region, to the Midlands, to the Upper State, and even the Charlotte metro area.

The last couple of realignments have had local schools looking west to compete with schools near I-85 and I-26 toward Greenville, but this most recent plan pairs York, Chester and Lancaster county schools with more than a few in Richland County, and east.

Find out which schools have the longest and shortest average rides for region games, below.

7-longest average region trips under new realignment plan

7-shortest average region trips under new realignment plan

Average distance between region schools (miles)

Rock Hill's Garrison Gist busily working during a marathon illustration session at The Herald on Thursday, April 21

VIDEO: Shots in the realignment dark

Which schools will win these new regions in 2016? Your guess is as good as ours, though we made some anyway... click on the links to see videos revealing The Herald's 2016 region title prognostications, with an illustration of each winning school drawn by former Northwestern and South Carolina football player Garrison Gist.

Disclaimer: these are too early to be accurate, but what the heck?

Powerhouses before and after South Carolina schools were desegregated (1971)

State championships (sorted by the new regions) won since Desegregation in 1971

State championships (sorted by the new regions) won prior to Desegregation in 1971

Number of NFL players from schools in the four newly realigned regions

There's a good chance that on any Friday night, fans watching these teams play next fall will have their eyes on a future NFL player. Northwestern leads the way among this group of schools with six all-time NFL players, including three - Ben Watson, Johnathan Joseph and Cordarrelle Patterson - that are still active. The Pee Dee region of South Carolina has always produced a lot of NFL talent, explaining Lamar's relatively high standing in this graph. And consider that South Pointe has put three players in the league in nine years of football. Not bad.

Just a sampling...

(From left) Rock Hill's Chris Hope, Northwestern's Jeff Burris and Chester's Maurice Morris are just three of the NFL players that schools in the regions The Herald covers have produced over the years. (Herald file photos)

South Pointe's Stephon Gilmore (left) plays for the Buffalo Bills; Rock Hill High's Jonathan Meeks and South Pointe's Jadeveon Clowney swapped jerseys after their teams played last season. (AP photos) 

Former NFL pass rusher John Abraham played high school ball at Lamar, while former NFL defensive back Sheldon Brown also starred at a 1A school, Lewisville. (Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution/ Lisa DeJong, Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

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