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FHSAA releases updated football classification, region assignments

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The Florida High School Athletic Association released the updated classification assignments for football, which includes every team that has decided to remain in a district and compete in the postseason. The classifications stayed the same. The only significant change was in the regions in order to keep them balanced. Every team that belongs in a district will qualify for the playoffs. A blind draw will determine the pairings in the opening round on Nov. 13. Classes 1A-4A will begin the playoffs with a region quarterfinal game. Classes 5A-8A will have a region play-in game.  

 Class 8A

Region 1

Bartram Trail

DeLand

Flagler Palm Coast

Mandarin

Nease

Oakleaf

Sandalwood

Seminole (Sanford)

Spruce Creek

University (Orange City)

West Port

Region 2

Apopka

Colonial

East Ridge

Evans

Hagerty

Lake Brantley

Lake Mary

Ocoee

Oviedo

Timber Creek

University (Orlando)

West Orange

Winter Park

Region 3

Boone

Centennial

Cypress Creek (Orlando)

Dr. Phillips

Fort Pierce Central

Freedom (Orlando)

Lake Nona

Miami Palmetto

Oak Ridge

Olympia

Treasure Coast

Vero Beach

Windermere

Region 4

Alonso

Lennard

Newsome

Osceola (Kissimmee)

Palm Harbor University

Plant

Ridge Community

Riverview (Riverview)

Riverview (Sarasota)

Steinbrenner

Wharton

Class 7A

Region 1

Atlantic Coast

Buchholz

Chiles

Creekside

Crestview

First Coast

Fleming Island

Fletcher

Leon

Lincoln

Navarre

Niceville

Tate

Region 2

East River

Edgewater

Forest

Lake Howell

Lyman

Melbourne

Mitchell

South Lake

St. Cloud

Sunlake

Tohopeklaliga

Viera

Wekiva

Winter Springs

Wiregrass Ranch

Region 3

Armwood

Bartow

Bloomingdale

Durant

East Bay

East Lake

George Jenkins

Kathleen

Lakeland

Leto

Pinellas Park

Plant City

Sickles

Strawberry Crest

Tampa Bay Tech

Winter Haven

Region 4

Gulf Coast

Homestead

Lakewood Ranch

Lehigh

Manatee

Martin County

North Port

Riverdale

Sarasota

St. Thomas Aquinas

Venice

Class 6A

Region 1

Booker T. Washington (Pensacola)

Columbia

Englewood

Escambia

Fort Walton Beach

Gainesville

Gulf Breeze

Lee

Mainland

Matanzas

Middleburg

Milton

Mosley

New Smyrna Beach

Pace

Ponte Vedra

Seabreeze

St. Augustine

Region 2

Boca Ciega

Clearwater

Countryside

Deltona

Fivay

Freedom (Tampa)

Gaither

Hollins

Lake Minneola

Land O’ Lakes

Largo

Lecanto

Northeast (St. Petersburg)

Osceola (Seminole)

Pasco

Pine Ridge

Seminole (Seminole)

Springstead

St. Petersburg

Region 3

Auburndale

Bayside

Blake

Braden River

Brandon

Fort Pierce Westwood

Heritage (Palm Bay)

Hillsborough

Jefferson

King

Lake Gibson

Middleton

Okeechobee

Palmetto

Port St. Lucie

Sebastian River

South Fork

Southeast

Spoto

Region 4

Archbishop McCarthy

Barron Collier

Belen Jesuit

Charlotte

Dunbar

East Lee County

Fort Myers

Golden Gate

Ida Baker

Immokalee

Island Coast

Lely

Miami Central

Naples

North Fort Myers

Palmetto Ridge

Port Charlotte

South Fort Myers

Class 5A

Region 1

Arnold

Baker County

Bishop Kenny

Choctawhatchee

Ed White

Godby

Paxon

Pensacola

Pine Forest

Raines

Ribault

Rickards

Suwannee

Terry Parker

Wakulla

West Florida

Westside

Yulee

Region 2

Atlantic (Port Orange)

Belleview

Citrus

Clay

Crystal River

Dunnellon

Eastside

Eustis

Lake Weir

Leesburg

Menendez

Mount Dora

North Marion

Orange Park

Ridgeview

Tavares

Vanguard

Region 3

Anclote

Bishop Moore

Central (Brooksville)

Chamberlain

Gibbs

Hernando

Jesuit

Jones

Lake Wales

Nature Coast

River Ridge

Robinson

Tarpon Springs

Weeki Wachee

Wesley Chapel

Zephyrhills

Region 4

American Heritage (Plantation)

Bayshore

Booker

Cape Coral

Cypress Lake

DeSoto County

Eau Gallie

Estero

Hardee

Jensen Beach

Key West

LaBelle

Mariner

Merritt Island

Miami Northwestern

Palm Bay

Rockledge

Sebring

Class 4A

Region 1

Bay

Gadsden County

Marianna

North Bay Haven

Rutherford

Santa Fe

South Walton

Region 2

Bolles

Bradford

Fernandina Beach

Keystone Heights

Palatka

South Sumter

The Villages

West Nassau

Region 3

Astronaut

Cocoa

Cypress Creek (Wesley Chapel)

Hudson

Lakewood

Space Coast

Tampa Catholic

Tenoroc

Region 4

American Heritage (Delray)

Avon Park

Cardinal Gibbons

Clewiston

Gulliver Prep

Lake Placid

Lemon Bay

Monsignor Pace

Class 3A

Region 1

Andrew Jackson

Baldwin

Episcopal

Florida High

Interlachen

P.K. Yonge

Pensacola Catholic

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville)

Walton

Wolfson

Region 2

Cornerstone Charter

Father Lopez

The First Academy (Orlando)

Holy Trinity

John Carroll

Melbourne Central Catholic

Taylor (Pierson)

Trinity Catholic

Trinity Prep

Region 3

Berkeley Prep

Bishop Verot

Bonita Springs

Calvary Christian (Clearwater)

Cardinal Mooney

Clearwater Central Catholic

Frostproof

Lakeland Christian

Oasis

Parrish Community

Region 4

Benjamin

Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale)

Cardinal Newman

Chaminade-Madonna

Everglades Prep

The King’s Academy

Miami Edison

Palm Glades Prep

Somerset Silver Palms

St. John Paul II (Boca Raton)

Westminster Christian

Class 2A

Region 1

Aucilla Christian

FAMU

Maclay

Munroe

North Florida Christian

North Florida Educational

Rocky Bayou Christian

St. John Paul II (Tallahassee)

University Christian

Region 2

Foundation Academy

Halifas Academy

Orangewood Christian

St. Francis Catholic

St. John Lutheran

St. Joseph

Trinity Christian (Deltona)

Victory Christian

Region 3

Cambridge Christian

Carrollwood Day

Indian Rocks Christian

Keswick Christian

Northside Christian

Seffner Christian

St. Petersburg Catholic

Zephyrhills Christian

Region 4

Champagnat Catholic

Community School of Naples

Evangelical Christian

First Baptist (Naples)

Glades Day

Miami Christian

Moore Haven

Southwest Florida Christian

St. John Neumann

Westminster Academy

Class 1A

Region 1

Baker

Chipley

Freeport

Graceville

Holmes County

Jay

Northview

Vernon

Region 2

Blountstown

Bozeman

Franklin County

Jefferson County

Liberty County

Port St. Joe

Sneads

Taylor County

Wewahitchka

Region 3

Bell

Branford

Dixie County

Fort White

Hamilton County

Hilliard

Lafayette

Madison County

Union County

Region 4

Bronson

Chiefland

Crescent City

Fort Meade

Hawthorne

Newberry

Trenton

Wildwood

Williston

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The Hernando County Football Player of the Week

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FB/LB Zack Buzze, Sr., Central

This season has been challenging for the winless Bears. 

Outscored 325-22 in eight games, Central tries to accentuate the positives to build upon next season.  

Zack Buzze is one of the bright spots. The linebacker leads the team in tackles with 44. 

Against Gulf two weeks ago, Buzze recorded a team-high 13 tackles. 

That got the attention of fans. Buzze received 49 percent of the votes (699) in the Hernando County football player of the week poll to beat out Hernando’s Jordan Williams, who had 44 percent (628 votes).

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The Pasco County Football Player of the Week

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Hunter McFarland, Sr., Mitchell

After losing 26 players to graduation, Mitchell needed to fill plenty of voids to make the playoffs for the eighth straight season. 

Hunter McFarland has stepped up on defense. 

The senior is enjoying the best season of his high school career. He has 53 tackles, more than he had in his previous two seasons combined. 

McFarland also a nose for the ball — and the quarterback. He has forced three fumbles, recorded 3 ½ sacks and recovered two fumbles. 

Against Hudson two weeks ago, McFarland finished with five tackles, two fumble recoveries, a sack and forced fumble to lead the Mustangs to a victory. 

Fans were impressed. McFarland ended up with 52 percent of the votes (1,462) in the Pasco County football player of the week poll to beat out Zephyrhills Christian’s Jayce Nixon, who had 34 percent (955 votes).  

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The Pinellas County Football Player of the Week

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LB Garrick Ponder, Sr., Pinellas Park

A transfer from Seminole, Garrick Ponder wasted no time making an impact. 

The senior not only became a starter but also turned into one of the area’s defensive stars.

Ponder leads the Patriots in tackles (72), sacks, (six), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two). Those numbers are a big reason the Patriots are 6-1 and currently tied with Northeast for second place in Class 6A, District 11. 

Against St,. Petersburg, Ponder had one of his best performances, finishing with 14 tackles and a sack. 

Fans were impressed. Ponder received 40 percent of the votes (812) in the Pinellas County football player of the week poll to beat out Keswick Christian’s Caleb Morris, who had 32 percent (646).   

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