Ponte Vedra's Zach Summers scoops up a Bishop Kenny fumble in the second quarter. The Ponte Vedra Sharks scored 24 points in the quarter. (Bruce Lipsky/Florida Times-Union)
The Florida High School Athletic Association revamped its formula for figuring out who qualifies for the state football playoffs in advance of the 2017 season. A primer can be found here.
Tuesday, the FHSAA unveiled the number of points teams have accrued. This will be a weekly release until the end of the season when the final playoff field is unveiled.
Of the seven teams from St. Johns County that are eligible for the FHSAA playoffs—FSDB chose to remain an independent—undefeated St. Augustine is in the best position at the midway point of the season.
In Class 2A, only the top four teams in each region qualify for the postseason. St. Joseph (1-2) is currently 10th out of 14 teams in Region 2-2A with an average of 28.3 points.
Victory Christian (3-0) currently has the highest per game average with 42 points. Undefeated Zephyrhills Christian (6-0) is second with 37.67 points. Gainesville St. Francis (5-0) is third with 37 points and Foundation Academy (2-2) is fourth with 34 points.
Region 2-2A Top 10
1.Lakeland Victory Christian 42
2. Zephryhills Christian 37.67
3. Gainesville St. Francis 37
4. Winter Garden Foundation Academy 34
5. Gainesville Oak Hall 33.75
6. Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian 33.5
T7. Daytona Beach Halifax Academy 30
T7. South Daytona Warner Christian 30
9. Orland Agape Christian 29.75
10. St. Joseph 28.33
Ponte Vedra’s win over Bishop Kenny on Friday night kept alive the Sharks hopes of qualifying for the playoffs the simple way — by winning the district title. Should the Sharks pull off another surprise on Friday night, this time against unbeaten St. Augustine, their playoff profile would be in very good shape. As it stands, Ponte Vedra (4-1) has the seventh best average in Region 1-5A
Pensacola West Florida (4-1) leads the way with 43.4 points. The Jaguars’ only loss was against undefeated Crestview. The three schools in the Tallahassee district comprise the next three spots as Tallahassee Godby (6-0) is second in the region with 42.83 points, Tallahassee Rickards (5-0) is third with 41.0 points and Crawfordville Wakulla (4-2) with 39.5 points. Godby beat Wakulla 21-6 on Friday night; but the Cougars have two weeks to prepare for crosstown rivals Rickards.
Considering the strength of schedule for Godby, Wakulla and Rickards even the two schools who do not win the district will be in prime position to earn one of four at-large berths in the Region 1-5A playoffs.
Keep an eye on District 3-5A as Live Oak Suwanee (2-2) leads the five teams in that district with 35.25 points. Suwanee still has to make up a district game against Ribault, who is in a tie for 10th in the region with 34.80 points, so the winner of that game may be the sole playoff representative from that district.
Sharks supporters should pay attention to Ribault (3-2) because the Trojans will likely bump up their average with big games against undefeated Lee this Friday, 4-1 Stanton on Oct. 19 and the Northwest Classic against Raines on Nov. 4.
Region 1-5A Top 10
1. Pensacola West Florida 43.4
2. Tallahassee Godby 42.83
3. Tallahassee Rickards 41.0
4. Crawfordville Wakulla 39.5
5. Bishop Kenny 39.20
6. Trinity Christian 39.17
7. Ponte Vedra 37.8
8. Lynn Haven Mosley 35.33
9. Live Oak Suwanee 35.25
T10. Ribault 34.80
T10. Bolles 34.80
Menendez may be the biggest beneficiaries of the new playoff season. The Falcons (3-3, 0-2) would have essentially been out of the District 5-5A race by now; but, the strong records of Baker County and Clay, combined with a one-point win over Ponte Vedra on Sept. 22 means the Falcons are fifth in the first rankings.
Baker County (4-1) leads the region with 39.8 points. Undefeated Hernando (4-0) is on the Wildcats heels with 39.5 points. District 8-5A foes Wesley Chapel and Anclote are tied for third with 38.2 points and the Falcons are fifth with 37.17 points.
Falcons fans should keep an eye on the Oct. 13 contest between Gainesville Eastside (3-2) and Belleview (3-2.) The winner of that game will almost assuredly be the champion of that three-team district and earn an automatic playoff berth. In the first poll rankings Belleview is tied for ninth in Region 2-5A, while Eastside is 12th with 33.80 points.
If the Falcons want to maintain their inside track to the playoffs, they would be well-served to win out. Palatka may be 1-5, but Menendez has not beaten the Panthers on the road since 2009. Not coincidentally, the Falcons made the playoffs that year.
Despite beating Menendez 60-49 last week, Clay is in ninth. However, the Blue Devils are notorious for coming on strong in the second half of the season under head coach Josh Hoekstra. Clay has games against Ridgeview (5-1), Baker County and University Christian left on the schedule. Those three Blue Devils opponents are a combined 13-2.
Region 2-5A Top 10
1.Baker County 39.80
2. Hernando 39.50
T3. Anclote 38.2
T3. Wesley Chapel 38.2
5. Menendez 37.17
6. Brooksville Nature Coast Tech 35.33
7. Zephryhills 35.2
8. Ridgeview 35.0
T9. Clay 34.8
T9. Belleview 34.8
Deducing points may be complex for some, but at its essence it focusing on winning and beating good teams. St. Augustine has done that through the first month of the season. Not only are the Yellow Jackets (4-0) undefeated, but they have wins over Baker County — currently the top team in Region 2-5A — and Bartram Trail.
St. Augustine, with 44.75 points, in in line to be the top seed in the Region 1-6A playoffs. Crestview (4-0) is second with a 43.0 average, while Niceville (4-1) is third with 41.2 points and Navarre is fourth with 37.8 points.
For St. Augustine, and Nease, winning District 4-6A is paramount. A failure to secure the district crown by the Yellow Jackets would almost assuredly mean a five-hour trip out to the panhandle. Should Nease (2-3) not win, the district title, the Panthers will have to await their fate.
Currently, Nease is in a tie for tenth with an average of 33.8 points. Gulf Breeze (4-1), Pensacola Escambia, Fort Walton Beach and Tate are among the teams ahead of the Panthers. None of those teams ahead of the Panthers have three losses.
Region 1-6A Top 10
1. St. Augustine 44.75
2. Crestview 43
3. Niceville 41.2
4. Navarre 37.8
5. Pensacola Pine Forest 37.25
6. Cantonment Tate 36.80
7. Fort Walton Beach 36.2
8. Pensacola Escambia 35.0
9. Gulf Breeze 34.80
T10. Nease 33.80
T10. Ed White 33.8
Before Bartram Trail begin envisioning a playoff rematch against Lee on Thanksgiving weekend, the Bears have business to handle.
To the surprise of few, Lee (5-0) leads the way in Region 1-7A with an average of 42.8 points. Undefeated Fleming Island (6-0) is second with 42.0 points, while Lake City Columbia (4-2) is third with 41.33 points. The Bears are fourth with an average of 39.40 points.
Though Bartram Trail has two losses, there is a decent chance that both of the teams that beat the Bears, Cartersville (Ga.) and St. Augustine, finish the regular season undefeated. Those narrow losses not only look good on the scoreboard, but give Bartram Trail the strength of schedule component few others in the region will have.
Creekside (2-3) has risen from the depths, but the Knight are currently 16th out of 20 teams in the region with an average of 31.20 points. Creekside’s best chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2014 will be to win District 3-7A.
Both Creekside and Bartram Trail have three district games this month, and no bye week.
Bartram Trail hosts Oakleaf on Friday, travels to Fleming Island on Oct. 13 and travels to Gainesville to face Buchholz on Oct. 27. Between the two district road trips, Bartram Trail will host reigning Class 4A champions Cocoa on Oct. 20.
Though the Bears will not have a district game, Oct. 20 that night will go a long way toward clarifying who qualifies for the Region 1-7A playoffs. In Orlando, Edgewater (3-1) will face East Ridge (4-1). In Lake City, Columbia (4-2) will host Fletcher (5-1). And in St. Johns, Creekside will host Fleming Island.
1. Lee 42.8
2. Fleming Island 42.0
3. Lake City Columbia 41.33
4. Bartram Trail 39.4
5. Orlando Edgewater 37.75
6. Gainesville Buchholz 37.40
7. Tallahassee Lincoln 37.0
8. Orlando East Ridge 36.2
9. Fletcher 35.5
10. Oviedo Hagerty 34.75
16. Creekside 31.20