Three months after being told it would be reclassified from Class 4A to 2A next school year, Patuxent officials learned this week that the school's classification will remain unchanged. Instead, Calvert will drop from 3A to 2A in the fall.

Patuxent was originally reclassified by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association because the opening of Huntingtown was expected to cause a drop of more than 25 percent in Patuxent's enrollment -- the minimum change required for schools to petition to change classification in the middle of the biennial redistricting cycle.

A large chunk of rising Patuxent juniors who were expected to transfer to Calvert, however, petitioned the county to be allowed to stay at Patuxent.

Once those students were allowed to remain at Patuxent, Calvert's change in enrollment surpassed the 25 percent difference, while Patuxent's did not reach that mark. Even before this adjustment, Patuxent's projected enrollment for next school year was larger than Calvert's.

"We . . . had an idea in the beginning that it could happen," said Ed Hottle, Calvert's new football coach.

The Cavaliers will play in the 2A South Region, which also includes Glenelg and Hammond in Howard County and Fairmont Heights, Friendly and Potomac in Prince George's County.

A change in classification has the biggest impact in football, where playoff spots and seeding are determined in part by strength of schedule. Victories against teams in higher classifications carry more weight.

"Talking about the playoffs in June is tough," Hottle said, "but it gives us an opportunity to play bigger schools and get a lot of [playoff power] points."

Patuxent football coach Steve Crounse said, "Being in 2A, we could have gone 6-4 playing against the schools we do and make the playoffs. We don't mind staying in 4A. It doesn't bother us. The bottom line is, if you win enough games, you get in" the playoffs.

The reclassification should not drastically help or hurt any of Calvert's other teams. The volleyball team, which went undefeated en route to the 3A title last season, probably will still face its stiffest competition from within the county.

"You can be 2A and it can be wonderful in one sport and in another, it can be a death nail," said Leon Langley, who will replace Brian Stevens as the supervisor of athletics for Calvert County next Thursday.

Patuxent Moving to Hire Coaches

Even though he does not officially begin his job as Patuxent's athletic director until next Thursday, Crounse said he is working to fill Patuxent's three varsity head coaching vacancies -- girls' basketball, boys' soccer and boys' track.

Crounse said he has received plenty of applications from within the program for the girls' basketball position. He said he hopes to have all three jobs filled by mid-July.