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. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.