FHSAA releases football districts, classifications for 2017-18 -- Observer Preps

Set to open next fall, Windermere High will compete in Class 7A, District 5.

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  • | 3:14 p.m. December 14, 2016
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With the FHSAA's changes to how playoff spots will be awarded in football having been approved earlier this fall, the organization's release today of updated districts, regions and classifications was much anticipated.

For Observer Preps coverage area schools in the larger classifications (5A through 8A), there were little to no changes. 

District 8A-4 remained the same — West Orange, Apopka, Wekiva and Evans — as did 8A-5 — Dr. Phillips, Olympia, Freedom, Cypress Creek and Oak Ridge — and 7A-4 —Ocoee, Lake Howell, Hagerty, West Port, East Ridge, Edgewater and Lake Minneola.

One obvious change, though, is the addition of Windermere High, set to open next fall.

The Wolverines, who will not have a senior class on campus for the school's inaugural year, have initially been assigned to District 7A-5 for the first two seasons of the program's existence. That district includes Celebration, East River, Harmony, Lake Nona, Liberty and Saint Cloud.

The move is a plus for the soon-to-be first-year program. Though the school's projected enrollment for its first year aligns with Class 7A standards, it is expected that once a senior class is added it will be the size of an 8A program.

Now, at least, the Wolverines will have two seasons to get their feet under them before potentially being reassigned to either 8A-4 or 8A-5 — both of which are tough districts with annual state championship contenders.

The one major difference for all large classification programs is that they now must either win their district or else qualify for the state playoffs via a points system, as opposed to the former system where district runner-ups also earned playoff berths.

The biggest changes, though, are reserved for small classification programs The First Academy (3A) and Foundation Academy (2A).

The FHSAA's changes for Classes 1A-4A included getting rid of districts and basing the awarding of the four playoff berths for each respective region completely on the points system.

The Royals are assigned to Class 3A, Region 2 (nine teams), which includes several schools — such as Father Lopez and Trinity Prep — from its district it competed in during the 2016 campaign.

Similarly, the Lions' Class 2A, Region 2 (14 teams), features teams — Victory Christian and Cornerstone Charter — from its former district.

On the other hand, where Foundation formerly only had to win one of two district games to make the playoffs, it now has battle 13 other teams for one of two playoff spots.

More on the FHSAA's point system HERE.

Windermere Prep, Legacy Charter and CFCA have decided to remain independent and to continue competing in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference in football.


Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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