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FHSAA board of directors vote for one-year reclassification cycle in 2021-22.

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The Florida High School Athletic Association board of directors voted unanimously to use enrollment numbers from October 2020 to reclassify schools for the upcoming 2021-22 calendar year. 

The vote was conducted via Zoom during a board of directors meeting to address the issue. Reclassification will likely go back to a two-year cycle starting with the 2022-23 calendar year. 

The one-year period this coming school year will be for all sports, not just football. Classifications likely will be released later this month.   

Football,though, was the biggest topic during Monday’s meeting because contracts with schools usually last for two years because of home-and-away dates. The playoff system, which was overhauled in 2017, plays a key role, too.  

Schools in Classes 5A-8A still have districts to determine a champion (the other playoff spots are at-large bids based on a points-system). So knowing the classifications — and districts — as quickly as possible is critical in putting together a schedule. Area schools in 4A-2A are in regions rather than districts and go by a points-based system to determine all playoff spots. 

Part of the reason for going to a one-year cycle for this calendar was to deal with the uncertainty of enrollment numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

So will the classifications change? 

That depends on the enrollment numbers from Oct. 2020. 

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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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