The Florida High School Athletic Association released its playoff points averages on Tuesday afternoon. If the season ended today, St. Augustine, Bartram Trail, Menendez and Nease would advance to the postseason.
There is a lot of football left to be played between now and when the state reveals its playoff teams on Nov. 5 at high noon.
The new system means new rules, the most important of which is the elimination of district tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is the head-to-head result. If three teams all have the same district record, as is the case in District 6-5A, then the school with the most points at the end of the season will advance to the playoffs.
St. Joseph’s shutout loss to Christ’s Church left the Flashes with a 2-4 record and has eliminated them from the playoffs. St. Joseph will host the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind on Thursday night and travel out to Niceville Rocky Bayou Christian on Nov. 3. Because the Dragons are 1-6 and Rocky Bayou is 2-6, a pair of victories over the two would not give St. Joseph enough points to leapfrog the five teams separating them from the final playoff berth.
Region 2-2A Top 10
1. Victory Christian 41 (1)
2. Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian 37.38 (3)
3. Gainesville St. Francis 37.14 (2)
4. Zephyrhills Christian 34.89 (4)
5. Winter Garden Foundation Academy 33.38 (6)
6. Gainesville Oak Hall 31.43 (5)
7. Daytona Beach Halifax Academy 31.25 (7)
8. South Daytona Warner Christian 30.25 (8)
9. St. Joseph 30 (12)
10. Orlando Agape Christian 28.67 (9)
There is a lot to unpack here. Menendez’s situation is more straightforward than Ponte Vedra’s —continue to win and you’re in. The Falcons enter Week 10 in fourth in the Region 2-5A standings with 37.25 points and are the highest ranking team that is currently not leading its district.
Baker County has reclaimed the region’s No. 1 spot after a 21-14 win over Clay that came down to final seconds. The Wildcats (7-1) have wrapped up the District 5-5A title and will play a pair of six-win schools in Ridgeview and Dunnellon to close the regular season. Win those and they would almost assuredly be the top seed in the region.
Menendez (5-3) leads the potential second wildcard Ancelote (5-3, 36.13) by a full point. The Falcons travel to Orange Park (1-7, 24.0) — a team Menendez has beaten by a combined four points in the last two years—and then closes the season at home against a Matanzas (5-3, 36.29) squad that will need a win to advance to the Region 4-6A playoffs.
If the Falcons make the playoffs their opponent will be Belleview (5-3, 34.38), Gainesville Eastside (4-3, 32.14) or North Marion (2-6, 31.57). Since all three teams in District 6-5A have 1-1 records and have losses against each other the team with the most points will host a home playoff game on Nov. 10. Belleview has the best record and has been the most consistent; however, the Rattlers have games against Tampa Catholic (6-1) and Ocala Forest (5-3).
As for Ponte Vedra, the Sharks (5-3, 35.63) need to beat Bolles and Creekside on the road hope other results go their way.
First of all, the Sharks, and their fans, should pray to whatever deity they believe in that Pensacola (4-4, 28.38) does not beat Pensacola West Florida (7-1, 39.75) on Friday night. Both are 3-0 in District 1-5A; however, West Florida is currently second in the regional rankings, while Pensacola is 14th. If Pensacola wins, that would be another potential wildcard team between the Sharks and a third-straight postseason berth.
- Tallahassee Godby (7-0, 42.88) is the only team that has clinched a district title thus far.
- Bolles (7-1, 38.75) would win District 4-5A with a win over the Sharks.
- Ribault (6-2, 38.13) will win the District 3-5A title with a win over Yulee (2-5, 28.43) on Thursday. A Yulee win would leave Ribault, Yulee and Live Oak Suwannee with a 3-1 record in district play; but, the Trojans are more than six points ahead of Suwannee and nearly 10 ahead of Yulee.
If the season ended today the four wildcard teams in Region 1-5A would be Crawfordville Wakulla (6-2, 38.50), Trinity Christian (6-3, 38.44), Tallahassee Rickards (5-2, 38.29) and Bishop Kenny (6-2, 26.50). Trinity Christian hosts Bishop Kenny on Friday night and Wakulla will host a Rickards squad who had their behinds handed to them by Raines last week.
Wins by Trinity Christian and Wakulla would substantially help the Sharks playoff hopes.
Region 1-5A Top 10
1. Tallahassee Godby 42.88 (1)
2. Pensacola West Florida 39.75 (2)
3. Bolles 38.75 (4)
4. Crawfordville Wakulla 38.50 (5)
5. Trinity Christian 38.44 (8)
6. Tallahassee Rickards 38.29 (3)
7. Ribault 38.13 (6)
8. Bishop Kenny 36.50 (7)
9. Ponte Vedra 35.63 (9)
10. Live Oak Suwannee 31.88 (11)
Region 2-5A Top 10
1. Baker County 39.63 (T2)
2. Zephryhills 39.25 (T2)
3. Hernando 38.00 (1)
4. Menendez 37.25 (6)
5. Anclote 36.13 (8)
6. Clay 35.88 (5)
7. River Ridge 35.75 (11)
8. Belleview 34.38 (4)
9. Wesley Chapel 34.33 (7)
10. Citrus 34.14 (13)
Nease appeared dead in the water after last week’s 35-23 loss to St. Augustine. Then the scores from the panhandle rolled in.
Two of the teams that were ahead of the Panthers in the race for a wildcard berth in Region 1-6A lost to one-win teams. Cantonment Tate’s 42-41 loss to Pace and Fort Walton Beach’s 31-20 loss to Bay means the Panthers (4-4) moved up two spots from last week, despite losing.
If the season ended today, which it doesn’t, Nease would be a playoff team. The Panthers would claim the fourth wildcard berth along with the loser of Friday’s Crestview/Niceville game, the loser of Friday’s Navarre/Gulf Breeze contest and Pensacola Pine Forest (3-4).
Whatever chances St. Augustine has of not being the No. 1 seed in the Region 1-6A playoffs is smaller than Brian Braddock’s tolerance for sloppy football. St. Augustine hosts Middleburg and Palatka to close the regular season—two teams it should beat, but two teams with a strength of schedule that might leave the Yellow Jackets with fewer points than Region 2-6A leaders Seffner Armwood (8-0, 44.38).
Region 1-6A Top 10
1. St. Augustine 44.29 (1)
2. Crestview 40.33 (2)
3. Niceville 38.43 (3)
4. Pensacola Escambia 38.29 (4)
T5. Pensacola Pine Forest 36.0 (5)
T5. Navarre 36.0 (6)
7. Gulf Breeze 34.14 (7)
8. Nease 33.13 (10)
9. Tate 32.00 (8)
10. Fort Walton Beach 31.88 (9)
If Bartram Trail beats Gainesville Buchholz on Friday night, the Bears will win the school’s first district title in a decade. Winning the District 3-7A title would also guarantee the Bears at least one home playoff game as well as the hope of being the top seed when the Region 1-7A playoffs begin.
Lake City Columbia (6-2, 41.00) may be the top team in the region, but Lee (7-1, 40.00) is in line to claim the District 2-7A title with a win over Fletcher (5-3, 33.25) on Friday. Currently, the Bears are third in the region with 39.38 points.
If the season ended today, the four wildcard teams in the Region 1-7A playoffs would be Lake City Columbia, Fleming Island, Clermont East Ridge and Buchholz. Creekside (4-4, 32.13) would need to beat Oakleaf and Ponte Vedra and hope Buchholz, Tallahassee Chiles, Fletcher and Oviedo Hagerty lose games down the stretch.
Region 1-7A Top 10
1. Columbia 41.0 (1)
2. Lee 40.0 (4)
3. Bartram Trail 39.38 (2)
4. Edgewater 38.0 (5)
5. Fleming Island 36.88 (3)
6. Clermont East Ridge 35.25 (8)
7. Tallahassee Lincoln 35.14 (6)
8. Gainesville Buchholz 35.0 (7)
9. Tallahassee Chiles 34.50 (9)
10. Fletcher 33.25 (11)
12. Creekside 32.13 (17)