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FHSAA announces tentative football districts
Posted Dec 21, 2012 by Bill Ward
Updated Dec 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Just in time for the holiday break, the Florida High School Athletics Association released on Friday its tentative—emphasis on tentative—football classifications and districts for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
As usual, the changes are being met with some strong reactions by Hillsborough County coaches.
Essentially, the changes appear fairly simple and are based on recent enrollment figures at each of the high schools. As a result of those counts, several county schools rose in classification. Newsome and Riverview move up to Class 8A from 7A. Strawberry Crest and Sickles rise to 7A from 6A. Robinson, Lennard and Blake—traditionally smaller schools—move from 5A to 6A. Tampa Catholic moves from 3A to 4A.
Meanwhile, Chamberlain, which was once one of the city’s largest public schools, saw an enrollment drop and as a result, goes from 7A to 6A.
But when examining where these schools landed district-wise is where things get interesting. Robinson, which this season reached the state semifinals of 5A, Chamberlain, Lennard and Blake are now part of the famed ‘‘District of Death,’’ joining traditional powerhouses Armwood, Hillsborough and Jefferson. With King and Leto still in that group, the reformed district (6A-8) now has 9 schools.
With eight games on the district schedule for 6A-8, that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for their non-district schedules. Two games, in fact.
‘‘I find it (the new district) quite humorous,’’ said Armwood coach Sean Callahan ‘‘We could be playing a district game on the last day of the season with that many teams in our district now.’‘
Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said the new district alignment is nearly unbelievable with the addition of Robinson and an improving Chamberlain program.
“Are you kidding me?,’’ Garcia said. ‘‘Just go ahead and add (four-time state champion) Plant, (five-time state champion) Manatee and (2012 6A state champion) Miami Central while you’re at it.’‘
Newsome and Riverview will join Plant, Alonso, Wharton and Bloomingdale in 8A-6. Strawberry Crest and Sickles finally escape the District of Death, with Sickles joining 7A-7 with Freedom, Steinbrenner, Gaither, Tampa Bay Tech and Wiregrass Ranch and Strawberry Crest going into 7A-8 with Brandon, Durant, Plant City and East Bay.
Among the private schools, Tampa Catholic better be prepared for some long bus rides as part of 4A-6 with Avon Park, Sarasota Booker, Clewiston, Fort Myers Dunbar, LaBelle and Lake Placid. Jesuit, meanwhile, winds up in a tiny three-team district with public schools Middleton and Spoto.
Schools can appeal to the FHSAA the districts they are in based on geographic hardships. For a complete look at the tentative changes, follow this link: http://www.fhsaa.org/sports/football/assignments/tentative_2013-15