Football

Nine South Florida teams to form conference as part of new FHSAA playoff format

PHOTO CREDIT: Frankie Gaynor/FHSF

EDITOR’S NOTE: This will be among the many conferences formed with the new FHSAA football playoff format which will commence in 2017. We will post more information on potential new conferences as we receive them. 

Teams in Classes 1A-4A are already taking advantage of the ability to pick their own schedule.

Nine teams within the 3A-4A classifications in South Florida will form a conference on a two-year contract through the 2018 season, sources told FloridaHSFootball.com.

The teams are a part of the FHSAA’s new playoffs point system, and their only playoffs opportunity is in the FHSAA state playoffs, but forming the conference guarantees the teams eight games already on their schedule, allowing two non-conference games for school’s to schedule for the two weeks that are open.

North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek), King’s Academy (West Palm Beach), Key West, Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale), LaSalle (Miami), Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale), Benjamin (Palm Beach), Gulliver Prep (Miami), and Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) will be the makeup of the conference, which has been in the works for months now, and was finalized at a meeting later last week, sources said.

The teams from the conference that are eligible – via the new FHSAA points system – to make the playoffs in the state series will participate in the playoffs, however, those who don’t make it from the conference will not play in postseason play, as the conference will not have its own singular playoffs for those not eligible to make it to FHSAA regionals.

Instead, other teams in the conference with five wins or more will participate in Bowl Games, either against other teams in the conference, or other teams in the area, or potentially teams from the Northern Florida area. However, that aspect has yet to finalized by the conference committee.

Four teams in the conference (North Broward Prep, Calvary Christian, Key West, and Westminster Academy) come over from the Gold Coast Conference, which was an independent league last season. Three of the four teams entering made the conference playoffs last year in the Gold Coast, while North Broward Prep played in the championship game against Archbishop McCarthy.

Pine Crest and King’s Academy played in the Southeastern Football Conference championship – another independent league – last season and are joined by fellow league members LaSalle, and Benjamin.

Gulliver Prep – which went 3-5 last season – played in District 4A-8 along with Booker T. Washington, Edison, Monsignor Pace, and Keys Gate Charter during the 2015 season.

The formation of the conference was through matchups of school size, economics, logistics, and competitiveness.

No name has yet been determined for the conference, although it may use Southeastern Football Conference – the former independent league’s name – which is currently no longer in use.

Teams will schedule eight conference games, four home, and four away, and have the freedom to schedule two other non-conference games to help their point total and qualify for the playoffs.

There will be a conference regular season champion, the team with the best conference record during the season, but it can’t determine a postseason champion because at least the top two teams will likely qualify for the FHSAA regional playoffs.

An intriguing part of the conference will be the final week of conference games, where it will be rivalry week, and rivalry teams (such as North Broward Prep vs. Pine Crest) will face off that week each season, similar what college football has.

Teams will alternate which teams they host and travel to based on their schedule from the previous season.

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