JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football season is back — for a few weeks, anyway.
Monday kicks off spring football practice for teams across the state.
What's that mean for area football fans?
Football programs can break out the gear and hold 20 practice sessions over the next four weeks before the helmets and shoulder pads go up for the summer.
We've covered a few storylines in the lead up to spring, like Trinity Christian's monster schedule, which includes 10 playoff opponents from 2018, as well as a lot of big name coaches going places.
What's new for 2019?
For starters, how about two defending public school state champions in Raines and Mandarin. The changes for those schools are plenty, with the Vikings moving up from Class 4A to 5A. The Mustangs, who won Class 8A last year behind Mr. Football and University of Georgia commit Carson Beck, now have to compete with the likes of Bartram Trail, Nease, Oakleaf and Sandalwood in a powerhouse District 1-8A.
A new playoff qualifying system enters the mix this year, with the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) taking the place of the system from the last two years. Gone are bonus points and confusion that led to abysmal outcomes like a 4-5 Jackson being bumped from the playoffs last year for a n 0-9 Gadsden County. The RPI uses an easier to calculate metric that relies on a team's winning percentage, an opponent's winning percentage and an opponent's opponent's winning percentage.
Translation: Play good teams and be rewarded.
Comings and goings
School, New coach, Former coach
Atlantic Coast, Michael Montemayor, Jimmy Hill
Baker County, Kevin Mays, Jamie Rodgers
Baldwin, Robert Shields, Steve Shields
Bishop Kenny, Tim Krause, Bobby Raulerson
Bolles, Matt Toblin, Wayne Belger
Charlton County, Russ Murray, Rich McWhorter
Clay, TBA, Josh Hoekstra
Florida Deaf, TBA, Travis Homewood
Nease, Collin Drafts, Tim Krause
Ponte Vedra, Joe Conroy (interim), Matt Toblin
Ware County, TBA, Franklin Stephens
White, Lawrence Johnson, Kevin Sullivan
Yulee, Terrance Flagler, Josh Burch
Spring game schedule
Friday, May 10
Fort White at Baker County, 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 16
Cedar Creek Christian at Tallahassee Maclay, 6 p.m.
Creekside at Clay, 7 p.m.
Episcopal at Providence, 6 p.m.
Mandarin at St. Augustine (jamboree also includes Daytona Beach Mainland), 6 p.m.
Jackson at Yulee, 7 p.m.
Keystone Heights and Union County at Gainesville P.K. Yonge, jamboree)
Sandalwood at Fletcher, 6 p.m.
Westside at Menendez, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 17
Atlantic Coast and Raines at Spruce Creek (jamboree, also includes Apopka), 6 p.m.
Baldwin at Ocala Trinity Catholic, 7 p.m.
Bishop Kenny at Ponte Vedra, 7 p.m.
Columbia at Bartram Trail, 7 p.m.
Eagle’s View at Wolfson, 6 p.m.
Fernandina Beach at Englewood, 7 p.m.
Fleming Island at Flagler Palm Coast, 7 p.m.
Lake Weir at Bradford, 7 p.m.
Nease at Palatka, 7 p.m.
Oakleaf at First Coast, 7 p.m.
Orange Park at White, 7 p.m.
Paxon at West Nassau, 7 p.m. (venue change)
Ribault at Parker, 7 p.m.
Ridgeview at Suwannee, 7:30 p.m.
St. Johns Country Day at Bishop Snyder, 7 p.m.
University Christian at Bolles scrimmage
Intrasquad scrimmage, St. Joseph, 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 18
Deerfield Beach at Trinity, Christian, 7 p.m. (canceled)
Thursday, May 23
Gainesville at Trinity Christian, 7 p.m.
Joshua Christian at Hilliard, 6 p.m.
Lee at Gainesville Buchholz, 6 p.m.
Middleburg at Santa Fe, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 24
Christ’s Church at Stanton, 6 p.m.
Friday, May 17
Charlton County at Camden County, 7 p.m.
TBA: Brunswick, Glynn Academy, Ware County
8-man football programs in the area
Beacon of Hope Christian
First Coast Christian
Florida Deaf (dropped from 11-man to 8-man this year)
Old Plank Christian