The Florida High School Athletic Association a couple of weeks ago released proposed districts for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons.
If the new districts stand, which they probably will, Crestview will play join Niceville, Navarre and Tate in a new District 1-7A. That’s a far cry from 2002, when the Bulldogs were a Class 3A school — or is it?
In 2002, football had six classes, contrasted to the eight we have today. And that was before the rural Class 1A was introduced prior to the 2011 season.
Crestview has 76 more students today, 1,900, than it did in 2002, 1,824, according to the FHSAA website. That would seem to indicate that the Bulldogs have been caught in the ever-changing numbers game rather than having experienced extreme growth.
Crestview and Baker are the only two schools in Okaloosa County with more students today than in 2002. Baker had 420 students then and 440 now.
Choctawhatchee, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Laurel Hill’s student populations have decreased. Laurel Hill has eight fewer students now than 10 years ago. The other schools are down dramatically from 2002.
Choctaw has 298 fewer students, Fort Walton Beach is down 182 students and Niceville has lost 397 students. But with 1,911 students, Niceville still edged Crestview for bragging rights as the county’s largest school.
In reality, Crestview goes from a six-team District 2-6A to a four-team District 1-7A.
Choctaw and Fort Walton Beach will still be in a watered down District 2-6A along with Mosley.
One might say the announcement of the new districts brought good news and bad news for Baker.
The good news is the Gators remain in an unchanged District 1-1A along with Freeport, Jay and Northview. The bad news is Northview won the 2012 Class 1A championship.
There won’t be any changes or scheduling rearranging for Baker coach Matt Brunson. He can line up the same number non-district games, and might possibly play the same non-district teams.
Bulldog coach Kevin Pettis has a bigger challenge. Now, instead of having five district games locked in that took care of half the schedule, he only has three district games. Pettis will now have to find two additional non-district opponents.
I’m hoping he can work something out with Choctaw and Fort Walton Beach. I always like seeing Okaloosa County’s big schools play. Even if the games don’t matter in the district standings, the county rivals are always good to play for the sake of bragging rights.
Some time in the next week or two, the FHSAA will release the tentative districts in other sports. Just because Crestview and Niceville aren’t in the football district with the Vikings and Indians, it doesn’t mean the teams won’t be in the same district in other sports.
It will be another two or three weeks before the football districts are finalized, but in the mean time, it will be interesting to see how the fans like the new districts.
Things should be interesting in the fall.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524