Perhaps the Florida High School Athletic Association needs a math lesson, or at the very least a geography one.
The FHSAA has released its revised tentative district lineups for 2013 and Milton and Pace will remain in District 1 in Class 6A. They are joined by four teams from last year’s group – Pine Forest, Escambia, Washington and Pensacola High.
Tate has been moved to Class 7A.
The fact the Panthers and Patriots will have one fewer district game is not a world-changing event, but a suspicious move by the FHSAA is raising eyebrows.
While Milton and Pace will compete in a district with six teams, District 2 only has three teams. That fact does not sit well with area coaches.
“My only problem is some districts have six teams and others just three,” Pace coach Mickey Lindsey said. “I have no idea (of the logic used of formulate the districts), I just have no idea.”
Due to the holidays, no one from the FHSAA was available for comment.
District 2 will consist of just Choctawhatchee, Fort Walton Beach and Lynn Haven Moseley. With a three-team district, District 2 has a distinct advantage as two of the three schools will qualify for the playoffs, regardless of their records. No other district in the region has fewer than five teams.
Milton coach Chafan Marsh also has reservations about the situation and hopes the changes are indeed tentative.
“I don’t know how this thing is going to shake out,” Marsh said. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to my athletic director yet.”
But Marsh seems to have a plan that would not only make sense mathematically, but also geographically.
“I don’t see why they can’t move one of the teams from District 1 over to District 2 and make it five teams and four teams,” Marsh said. “I think we (MHS) would probably be the closest, so we could go over there. We are still going to not only play Pace, but we’d still play PHS and Pine Forest, we’d just be in a different district.”
Should the Panthers decide to petition to move to District 2, they would have to file the paperwork by Jan. 18.
Statewide in Class 6-A, only District 13 in the Naples area has just three teams besides District 2. Conversely, District 8 in Tampa has nine teams.
Elsewhere in Santa Rosa County, Gulf Breeze joins West Florida and three teams from Panama City Beach – Arnold, Bay and Rutherford – in District 1, 5-A. Again, District 2 will consist of only three schools: Tallahassee Rickards, Live Oak Suwanne and Crawfordville Wakulla.
Two other districts in 5-A are made up of three teams.
Navarre welcomes Tate to 7-A’s District 1 and will be joined by Crestview and Niceville.
In Class 1-A, Jay will compete in the four-team District 1 with Baker, Freeport and defending state champion, Northview.
As slighted as the Santa Rosa schools might feel in Class 6-A, there is one area school that probably feels a bit worse. Pensacola Catholic has been saddled in Class 3-A’s District 1 with five schools. Four are in Jacksonville and one in St. Augustine. That means the closest district opponent for the Crusaders is approximately 375 miles away.
The FHSAA says the new alignment is tentative with schools having until Jan. 18 to file an appeal.
2013 Tentative Football Districts for Santa Rosa County Schools:
CLASS 7-A, DISTRICT 1
CLASS 6-A, DISTRICT 1
CLASS 5-A, DISTRICT 1
CLASS 1-A, DISTRICT 1