With new districts come new challenges. New rivalries. New hope.That’s especially true in Class 7A, District 9 where six teams from three counties are vying for one district championship. Familiar Pinellas rivals East Lake and Pinellas Park join Sickles and Leto from Hillsborough and Sunlake and Mitchell from Pasco.Aside from Sickles and Leto, each team has won at least one district championship in the past five years. Mitchell has won or tied for a district title in every year of that time span.Now they are all thrown into the same district, which should be exciting, right? Depends on who you ask.“I don’t even know where Sunlake is,” Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said. “I don’t know where any of these other (new) schools are.” RELATED: Gaither pulls no punches with football schedule Okay, so Crawford is old school. Now in his 11th season as the Patriots coach, he has only played in districts with other Pinellas schools. For the past seven years, including this season, East Lake and Pinellas Park have been in the same district.Pinellas Park won the district championship the past two seasons, only to have the season end in the first round of the playoffs against Palmetto, also their foe Friday night.While Crawford understands there is nothing he can do about district realignment, he does wish he could stay closer to home for district games.“I grew up here (Pinellas County) and we’ve always kind of thought that you had to earn your way out of the county,” he said. “I always thought that was cool. Now we’re taking these major bus rides just to play district games.“We don’t play any of our rivals anymore. We don’t play Dixie. We don’t play Northeast. We don’t play Seminole. We don’t play Osceola. We don’t play any school that is around our school.”The change in district opponents did not come as a surprise to Mitchell coach Andy Schmitz. What he said was a bit surprising was the mix of teams. The Mustangs have had a run of 10 straight winning seasons. They were 8-3 last season, making the playoffs for the fifth straight year.Every team except Leto in this year’s district had a winning season in 2018. Raising another district championship banner will be a bit harder for the Mustangs.“The biggest challenge is that a lot of us haven’t played each other before,” Schmitz said. “When we play River Ridge or Land O’ Lakes, as a coaching staff we have a pretty good idea what to expect. Now we’re going to play four teams that we have never seen before. That is a challenge.” RELATED: New district, new expectations for Lennard Sickles, which last won a title in 2014, had been buried in a district with Plant since 2015. The Gryphons, however, did make the playoffs last season and finished 7-4.Sunlake moves up a class with Mitchell the only common opponent from last year’s 6A-6.“It’s exciting to get a little bit of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas in the same district, but it’s also going to be tough,” first-year Sunlake coach Trey Burdick said. “You’ve got three returning playoff teams (Pinellas Park, Mitchell and Sickles) and a perennial playoff contender (East Lake), so that makes it pretty challenging.”As the season kicks off, there is no clear favorite.“It’s one of the tougher districts in the Tampa Bay area,” Schmitz said. All games Friday night. Clearwater Central Catholic at Berkeley Prep, 7Carrollwood Day at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7Central at Umatilla, 7Cambridge Christian at Winter Garden Foundation Academy, 7Melbourne Central Catholic at Calvary Christian, 7Weeki Wachee at South Lake, 7Zephyrhills Christian at Lake Placid, 7Bishop McLaughlin at Jacksonville Christ’s Church, 7Fivay at Lecanto, 7Lakeland Tenoroc at Hudson, 7Seven Rivers Christian at Bayshore Christian, 7Tampa Catholic at Naples Palmetto Ridge, 7Admiral Farragut at St. Stephen’s, 7Gibbs at Boca Ciega, 7Bradenton Christian at Indian Rocks Christian, 7Shorecrest at Northside Christian, 7Palm Bay Heritage at Clearwater, 7East Lake at Nature Coast, 7:30Plant at Armwood, 7:30Sunlake at Springstead, 7:30Pasco at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30Zephyrhills at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30Chamberlain at Tampa Bay Tech, 7:30Gaither at Jefferson, 7:30Robinson at Hillsborough, 7:30Plant City at Jesuit, 7:30St. Petersburg at Lakewood, 7:30Northeast at Tarpon Springs, 7:30Pinellas Park at Palmetto, 7:30Lake Gibson at Hernando, 7:30Anclote at Mitchell, 7:30Cypress Creek at Wesley Chapel, 7:30Osceola at Gulf, 7:30River Ridge Crystal River, 7:30Middleton at Alonso, 7:30Blake at Riverview, 7:30Newsome at Bloomingdale, 7:30Wharton at Brandon, 7:30Durant at King, 7:30East Bay at Lennard, 7:30Freedom at Steinbrenner, 7:30Strawberry Crest at Leto, 7:30Orlando Christian Prep at Seffner Christian, 7:30Sickles at Spoto, 7:30Immokalee at Clearwater Academy, 7:30Palm Harbor U. at Dixie Hollins, 7:30Largo at Braden River, 7:30Dunedin at Keswick Christian, 7:30Friday’s Plant-Armwood game will be streamed at theidentitytb.com or download The Identity Tampa Bay’s app.