State considers playoff changes for high school football

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Proposals figure to benefit Chiefland

By Sean Arnold

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) will decide on a couple of proposals that, if in place, would have put the Chiefland football team in the playoffs for the first time since 2004 this past season.

The FHSAA’s Athletic Director Advisory Committee (ADAC) endorsed a Football Advisory Committee proposal at its meeting Jan. 10 in Gainesville to add two more playoff teams from each region in Classes 1A through 4A. They also endorsed a recommendation to add five more points for losses under the playoff points qualifying system.

Under the current system, four teams from each region make the playoffs in Classes 1A through 4A, making for a total of 16 playoff teams from each of the smaller classifications. The new proposal, if approved, would create 24 playoff teams, and grant a bye for the top two seeded teams from each region, adding an extra round to the playoffs.

The FHSAA will vote on the changes Jan. 29, and they would be applied for the upcoming 2018 season.

Under the new rule, Chiefland would have been a No. 5 seed in Region 1A-3, and would have opened the playoffs on the road against No. 4 seed Union County. No. 2 seed Dixie County and No. 1 seed Madison County, which won the Class 1A championship, would have earned a bye for the regional quarterfinals.

Allotting teams more points for losses could benefit teams with more difficult schedules. Currently, teams earn 30 points for a loss against a Category 1 opponent, which includes teams that finish 8-2 or better. The new proposal would award 35 points for those types of losses, the same amount that a team earns for defeating a Category 4 opponent, which includes teams with records of 3-7 or worse. Losing to a Category 2 opponent would yield 30 points, while losses to Category 3 and 4 teams would yield 25 and 20 points, respectively.

The points from each game are added together and divided by the number of games a team plays, so teams aren’t punished for playing eight or nine games rather than 10. The teams are seeded in the playoffs based on those point averages.

The ADAC also approved a proposal to award the top 15 finishers at the state championships in cross country. Currently, 10 runners are awarded at the event. Chiefland Middle High School runner Lauren Jones finished No. 14 at the state championship this past November. The change will be considered by the Cross Country Advisory Committee in December.

The ADAC accepted a recommendation from the Track & Field Advisory Committee to add javelin to the state championship series in 2020.