JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The high school football playoffs are coming into clearer focus as district races wrap up this week.
So, who’s in, who’s out and who’s got work left to do? We’ll get to that below.
Remember, this is the first season of the new Metro and Suburban split, a new system that separated the state’s eight largest counties (Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole) from the remaining 59 into the Suburban and Rural divisions.
How do the playoffs work?
In Classes 2M-4M and 2S-4S, there are four districts in each of the four regions. The district champs get an automatic berth. The next four seeds in each region are determined solely by FHSAA power ranking points.
In Classes 1M and 1S, the field is smaller. Two district champs receive automatic berths in the playoffs, followed by two at-large teams which are determined by ranking points. In the Rural class (formerly Class 1A), the top six teams in each of the four regions make the playoffs. Those teams are determined solely on ranking points.
So, where do the district races stand entering Week 10? Here are the district scenarios:
District 1-4M: Sandalwood at Mandarin on Thursday will crown district champ.
In the region mix: Without winning the district title, Sandalwood (11th in Region 1-4M) is likely missing out. Mandarin is currently eighth in the points standings.
District 1-3M: First Coast at Fletcher on Thursday; Fletcher win clinches district title. First Coast win (coupled with Parker win over Englewood) would create three-team tiebreaker between First Coast, Fletcher and Parker decided by FHSAA rankings points. Englewood win AND a First Coast win would give First Coast the district title. Fletcher (9.420) currently leads First Coast (5.111) and Parker (-2.001) in rankings points.
In the region mix: Without winning the district title, First Coast is likely missing out on the postseason. The Buccaneers are ranked 10th in Region 1-3M. Englewood and Parker are out of the race.
District 1-2M: Jackson at Raines on Thursday will crown district champ.
District 2-2M: Bolles at Bishop Kenny on Friday will crown district champ.
District 3-2M: White can clinch the district title with a win over Westside on Thursday. Westside victory would create three-team tiebreaker between Westside, White and Riverside and decided by FHSAA rankings points. White (8.863) currently leads Riverside (0.857) and Westside (-7.701) in those totals.
In the region mix: Jackson, Raines, Bishop Kenny, Bolles, White and Episcopal currently rank Nos. 1-6, respectively in the region. Riverside is eighth, Wolfson is ninth, Ribault and Westside are 10th and 11th, respectively. There’s a good chance the Generals sneak in.
District 1-1M: Trinity Christian can clinch the district title with a win over Providence on Friday. A Providence win would create a three-team tiebreaker between Providence, Trinity and University Christian and decided by FHSAA rankings points. Trinity (19.127) is ahead of UC (15.639) and Providence (2.254) in those standings currently.
In the region mix: University Christian and Orlando Christian Prep are the likely two at-large teams here. Providence is just outside the cutline and needs to win out to muscle its way in.
District 3-4S: Bartram Trail has clinched the district title.
District 4-4S: Flagler Palm Coast has clinched the district title.
In the region mix: Creekside (5th in Region 1-4S) is in very good shape. Ponte Vedra (9th in Region 1-4S) has some work to do but is in position. Fleming Island (12th in Region 1-4S) and Oakleaf (14th in Region 1-4S) are likely out of the mix.
District 3-3S: Columbia has clinched the district title.
District 4-3S: St. Augustine can clinch the district with a win over Clay on Friday. Clay would win the title outright if it beats St. Augustine AND has Matanzas beat Menendez on Friday.
If Clay beats St. Augustine on Friday AND Menendez beats Matanzas, Clay, Menendez and St. Augustine would be in a three-team tiebreaker decided by FHSAA rankings points. St. Augustine is ahead significantly (3.956) of Menendez (-3.244) and Clay (-6.532) in those rankings.
District 4-2S: Suwannee at Wakulla on Friday will decide the district champion.
In the region mix: Middleburg is currently in the No. 8 spot in the region. Menendez is 10th but too far back. Orange Park, Matanzas and Clay are out of the mix unless the Blue Devils win and get some help to win the district title.
District 5-2S: Baldwin has clinched the district title.
District 6-2S: Bradford at Palatka on Friday will decide the district champion.
District 8-2S: Crescent City can win the district title with a victory at Lake Weir on Thursday. A Lake Weir win would create a three-team tiebreaker decided by FHSAA rankings points with Port Orange Atlantic. Crescent City (-0.905) currently leads Atlantic (-8.640) and Lake Weir (-13.155) in rankings points.
In the region mix: Tocoi Creek is seventh in the region in points but would move down a spot due to a team with lower rankings points (Crescent City or Lake Weir or Atlantic) earning an automatic spot with a district title. Fernandina Beach, Yulee, West Nassau and Keystone Heights rank Nos. 9-12, respectively in that scenario and likely miss out.
District 3-1S: Ocala Trinity Catholic at PK Yonge on Oct. 28 will decide the district champion.
In the mix: St. Joseph is fifth in Region 2-1S in the points standings and won’t be able to make it into the qualifying spot.