Fort Walton Beach’s loss to Gulf Breeze this past Friday was costly, but not by much.

Projected as a seven seed a week ago, the Vikings were bounced from their playoff spot after a 31-23 loss in Dolphin Stadium.

This week, the Vikings (3-3) check at No. 9 in Region 1-6A. Although the Vikings average the same amount of playoff points as the Dolphins with 34.83, Fort Walton Beach trails No. 8 Gulf Breeze after a head-to-head loss.

“I think it was a motivator to know that we were in the hunt,” Vikings coach Phil Dorn said Friday. “We knew we had to win tonight to keep that going … I know this, the teams that are coming up on our schedule, if we can come up with wins, we’re gonna earn a lot of points. We need to finish strong and make sure we get that done.”

With the Vikings on the outside looking in, five area teams — Navarre, Niceville, Crestview, Baker and South Walton — are in possession of projected playoff berths headed into Week 8.

 

Under the new seeding system, which the Florida High School Athletic Association enacted this offseason, only district champions in the 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A classes are granted automatic playoff berths. Four other teams will be selected as wildcard teams from each of the four regions based on a new point system.

Teams are awarded a certain number of points per game based on the quality of a victory or loss. Those scores are averaged together, and the four teams with the highest average scores in each region will be seeded 5-8 behind the district champions. For those of you counting at home, 32 teams per classification will make the state playoffs.

In the 4A class and below, the four teams with the highest point totals in each region will make the playoffs. Sixteen teams will make the playoffs in the lower classes.

After a week atop their respective districts, not much has changed for Crestview and Navarre.

The Bulldogs (5-0) sit atop District 3-6A after a convincing victory against Milton, averaging 40.4 playoff points per game ahead of their tilt with Fort Walton Beach at 7 p.m. Friday in Jack Foster Stadium.

Coming off a shutout against Mosley, Niceville (5-1) trails Crestview by little more than a point, averaging 39.33 points per game. The Eagles, who play Choctaw at 7 p.m. Friday, are currently projected as a fifth seed in Region 1, the highest seeding available to a wild card team. Pine Forest is slotted sixth, averaging 36.4 points.

Crestview and Niceville saw their scoring averages dip by almost two points.

Despite a stunning loss to Escambia, Navarre (5-1) still leads District 2-6A, averaging 36.17 points per contest. The Raiders were shut out in the second half against the Gators this past Friday and allowed 35 second-half points to lose their homecoming in game in dramatic fashion. The loss dropped the Raiders from a projected three seed to the four seed. They hit the road to play Milton at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

In Region 1-4A, South Walton (3-4) sneaked into a playoff berth thanks to a Marianna loss. The Bulldogs, who were previously projected as a three seed, fell to Gadsden County 50-26, allowing the Seahawks to move up into the four seed. Averaging 32.43 points per game, South Walton leads now-fifth-seeded Marianna by one-third of a point in the playoff standings — a precarious position to be in ahead of a game with 5-1 Port St. Joe at 7 p.m. Friday in Santa Rosa Beach.

Rounding out the playoff contenders, Baker (6-0) remains a projected second seed behind Chipley in Region 1-1A. The Tigers average 42.33 points per game and the Gators average 39.33 points. The two teams face off at 7 p.m. Friday in Chipley that could flip their positions. A Baker loss and a Holmes County victory could drop the Gators into the third seed.

To view complete Florida high school playoff standings, visit floridahsfootball.com.