BRADENTON -- The Florida High School Athletic Association announced its tentative football districts Monday, alignments that will last four years rather than the typical two.
And while there isn't too much changing locally -- Out-of-Door Academy is the only area school to move classifications, dropping from Class 3A to 2A -- things may look a little different.
Manatee goes from a four-team district to seven-team Class 8A-District 7 with Alonso, Lithia Newsome, Lutz Steinbrenner, Palm Harbor University, Riverview and Sarasota Riverview.
"I don't think we're very happy. It's a lot of travel," said Jason Montgomery, Manatee's athletic director. "And with six district games, that only leaves four other games we can schedule."
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But Manatee probably won't appeal its placement with the FHSAA, Montgomery said. Teams have until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 to do so.
"I don't see it geographically being better unless we drop down (to Class 7A)," he said, "and I don't
see any sense in that."
The teams that made up Class 7A-District 10 -- Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, North Port and Sarasota -- are now in District 11 and will be joined by Venice, which moves up after winning 10 games and reaching the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
It's a similar situation in Class 5A-District 11. Formally District 13, it features all the same schools -- Bayshore, Southeast, Booker, Arcadia DeSoto and Wauchula Hardee -- with the addition of Englewood Lemon Bay. Lemon Bay was a 5A school last season but competed in a district with teams from the Fort Myers area.
The three-team Class 3A-District 6, featuring Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy and Fort Myers Bishop Verot, has splintered. The Cougars will remain in Class 3A but move to District 5 with Verot, Clearwater Central Catholic, Clearwater Calvary Christian and St. Petersburg Catholic.
The Thunder move to Class 2A-District 5 with Bradenton Christian, Tampa Carrollwood Day, Tampa Cambridge and Seffner Christian.
It's a different situation for the Panthers, who spent the last two years competing in a bigger district against teams from the other side of the Sunshine Skyway.
But Allan Gerber, BCS head football coach and athletic director, said he wants to delve a little deeper into the numbers before deciding if the Panthers will stand pat.
"A five-team district allows for a little more normalcy ... not every week is a playoff game," said Allan Gerber, BCS' football coach and athletic director. "But we're going to what's best for our school and our students."
IMG Academy and Saint Stephen's are listed as independents.