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Restructured districts break up some grand old rivalries

To reach the state finals, to finally fill in the blank on its glittering postseason resume that lacked championship glory, Largo knew it would have to vanquish Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

For the next two years, though, Largo will not get that chance.

The Florida High School Athletic Association released tentative district assignments Monday for football with the Packers dropping from Class 5A to 4A.

Largo is now in 4A-10 with Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Dunedin and Gibbs. Aquinas, which beat the Packers in the state semifinals for the second straight time last week, remains in 5A.

"I would have liked to get another shot at them," Largo coach Rick Rodriguez said.

But if the Packers make the playoffs again, they could face another formidable opponent in Armwood, which has advanced to six straight region finals and won two state titles in that span.

"That would be another good test for our program," Rodriguez said of the Hawks.

Tarpon Springs and Northeast benefitted the most from the realignment. The Spongers stay in 4A but are no longer in a district with nemesis Land O'Lakes. Instead, Tarpon Springs joins Ridgewood, River Ridge and Wiregrass Ranch.

The Vikings move out of Armwood's region, going from 4A to 5A in a district (5A-9) that includes Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and Seminole.

"I've got no complaints," Northeast coach Jay Austin said.

Clearwater, Countryside, East Lake, Palm Harbor University and Springstead are in 5A-8, the same region that includes state powers Chamberlain, Plant and Lakeland.

There are travel concerns for county teams in Class 3A and 2B.

Lakewood and Osceola now are in 3A-8 with Blake, Jefferson and Spoto. Meanwhile, Clearwater Central Catholic is in 2B-5 with Berkeley Prep, Cocoa Beach, Frostproof, Mulberry, Orlando Lake Highland Prep, Orlando Lake Nova and Tampa Catholic.

St. Petersburg Catholic joins Clewiston, Fort Myers Bishop Verot, Fort Myers Dunbar, Fort Myers Gateway Charter, Lake Placid and Cardinal Mooney in 2B-6.

fast facts

Football districts through 2010-11

Class 5A-8: Clearwater, Countryside, East Lake, Palm Harbor University, Springstead

Class 5A-9: Northeast, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Seminole

Class 4A-6: Ridgewood, River Ridge, Tarpon Springs, Wiregrass Ranch

Class 4A-10: Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Dunedin, Gibbs, Largo

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

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

Class 2B-6: Fort Myers Bishop Verot, Sarasota

Cardinal Mooney, Clewiston, Fort Myers Dunbar, Fort Myers Gateway Charter, Lake Placid, St. Petersburg Catholic

Class A-6: Fort Myers Evangelical, Fort Meade, Indian Rocks Christian, Lakeland Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest

Class B-6: Admiral Farragut, Bradenton Christian, Calvary Christian, Keswick Christian, Out-of-Door, Moore Haven, Naples St. John Neumann, St. Stephen's

Restructured districts break up some grand old rivalries 12/15/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:19pm]

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