Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

District realignment equals more travel time

Harry Hubbard took Middleton to the region final in the program’s second full varsity season.


Harry Hubbard took Middleton to the region final in the program’s second full varsity season.

Several local schools have shuffled classifications and will have to travel more in the new football district alignment announced Monday by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

Plant, which is playing Saturday for its second Class 4A state title in three years, will move up to 5A, where national heavyweight St. Thomas Aquinas and Lakeland have long dominated. The Panthers join a 5A district with Tampa Bay Tech, Freedom and Riverview.

"We were already up there with Armwood and Booker T. Washington, with Dwyer," Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "I think any of those teams could beat any of these teams. We're okay with that. We love the competition wherever it is."

Bloomingdale, Brandon and Wharton have moved up a class to 6A, while Middleton moved down two classifications to 2A, joining a district with former 3A teams Jesuit and Robinson along with new schools Steinbrenner and Strawberry Crest.

Armwood and Hillsborough are in a district with newcomers Durant, East Bay, King, Leto and Sickles. Among the most interesting district is the new 2B-5, where locals Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic will play teams from Orlando (Lake Highland Prep and Lake Nona) as well as Cocoa Beach.

"I really don't understand the method to the madness," Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez said. "I don't understand if they want to create more interest regionally, why they put two teams from the western part of the state with two teams from Central Florida with a team from the east side. We're already strained with our travel budget."

Schools have until Jan. 9 to submit written requests for reassignment.

Hubbard out at Middleton

Harry Hubbard, who built the Middleton football program from scratch when the school reopened in 2002, will not return as coach, athletic director Derrick Gaines confirmed.

Hubbard was 35-33 in seven seasons. The Tigers are coming off a 2-8 season.

Asked if he was given a reason for his dismissal, Hubbard wouldn't disclose specifics, only saying he was told by school administration it wanted to "go in a different direction."

"I'm at peace with it," he said. "I'm looking forward to what God has planned for me next."

A former assistant at Jefferson and Plant, Hubbard took the Tigers to the Class 4A region final in their second full varsity season, losing to eventual state champion Armwood. Though Middleton hasn't been in the playoff picture in recent years, Hubbard sent many players to college, notably South Carolina cornerback Stoney Woodson, Florida linebacker A.J. Jones and Florida State running back Carlton Jones.

"He was like another father to me," said Woodson, Middleton's first Division I athlete. "I'm shocked. He's a players' coach. He teaches you a lot about life."

Hubbard, who will remain at the school teaching driver's education, said most of his players know about his departure. Asked if he would coach again — and possibly apply for the opening at Blake, Middleton's rival — Hubbard didn't rule it out.

"I've still got some years left," he said. "I'm not ready to go out to pasture yet."

fast facts

Football districts through 2010-11

Class 6A-6: Bloomingdale, Brandon, North Port, Sarasota Riverview, Sarasota, Wharton

Class 5A-6: Alonso, Chamberlain, Gaither, Newsome, Plant City

Class 5A-7: Freedom, Plant, Riverview, Tampa Bay Tech

Class 4A-9: Armwood, Durant, East Bay, Hillsborough, King, Leto, Sickles

Class 3A-8: Blake, Jefferson, Lakewood, Seminole Osceola, Spoto

Class 2A-5: George Steinbrenner (new school), Jesuit, Lennard, Middleton, Robinson, Strawberry Crest (new school)

Class 2B-5: Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Cocoa Beach, Frostproof, Orlando Lake Highland Prep, Orlando Lake Nona (new school), Mulberry, Tampa Catholic

Class B-5: Orlando Agape Christian, Winter Haven All Saints', Cambridge, Ocoee Central Florida Christian, Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, Lake Wales Vanguard, Lakeland Victory Christian

District realignment equals more travel time 12/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 12:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The homer that almost was hurts Rays in Tuesday's loss



  2. Former Buc Mike Glennon says right things about Bears QB situation


    Mike Glennon's go-to line about being recognized around town since becoming a Bear worked as well as ever, producing laughs.

    Quarterback Mike Glennon, shown last season with the Bucs before signing in the offseason with the Bears, is showing good humor about a looming competition in Chicago. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  4. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.