Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the news Wednesday that Carol City has to forfeit early-season contests against Plantation American Heritage and Columbus for using ineligible players
Get ready for a busy week, South Florida high school football fans.
District championships are on the line. By the time Friday’s games are over with, we will know all 12 district champions involving Miami-Dade and Broward county teams in Classes 8A-5A who will automatically advance to the playoffs. Classes 4A-1A do not have districts and instead have the highest six teams from four regions based on the Florida High School Athletic Association’s power rankings advance to the playoffs.
Here is a look, district by district, at how the district champions will be determined. For most districts, it will come down to one marquee game. For others, multiple factors will be involved.
If there ends up being a tie atop any given district, the FHSAA has a two-prong tiebreaker policy:
No. 1: If it’s a two-way tie, whichever team won the head-to-head matchup will be district champion.
No. 2: If it’s a tie among three or more teams, whichever team has the highest ranking in the FHSAA’s power rankings will be declared district champion.
Four teams have already locked up district titles: Doral Academy (16-7A), McArthur (15-7A), Dillard (15-6A) and Cardinal Gibbons (16-5A), leaving eight up for grabs this week.
District 11-8A (Region 3)
The teams: Deerfield Beach (8-1, 4-0 district), Piper (6-2, 4-0), Taravella (5-3, 2-2), Douglas (4-4, 1-3), Coral Springs (2-6, 1-3), Monarch (3-5, 0-4)
It’s a battle between Deerfield Beach and Sunrise Piper on Friday night to determine District 11-8A. The winner will run the table and host, at the very least, a regional quarterfinal. The loser will make the playoffs as an at-large team and start its playoff run on the road.
Outside of a 38-6 loss to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in Week 7, Deerfield Beach has been a consistently dominant team. The Bucs opened the year with a 13-10 win at defending Class 3A champ Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna and followed up with a 19-14 win at Buford (Georgia.). Deerfield Beach has scored at least 40 points in four of its other five wins. Piper, however, has been steady this year. Its losses are to St. Thomas Aquinas (35-6) and Chaminade-Madonna (42-6), but the Bengals made quick work of their four district opponents, outscoring them them 103-45. Deerfield Beach will be their biggest challenge, though.
District 12-8A (Region 3)
The teams: Western (7-1, 5-0), Plantation (7-1, 4-1), Miramar (5-3, 4-1), Everglades (3-5, 2-3), Cypress Bay (5-3, 2-3), Flanagan (1-7, 1-5), South Plantation (0-8, 0-5)
There are three scenarios at play here:
No. 1: Western wins the district outright with a win over Miramar on Friday.
No. 2: Miramar wins the district outright with a win over Western AND a Plantation loss to South Plantation.
No. 3: A three-way tie atop the district occurs with wins by Miramar and Plantation, leaving the district champion up to the FHSAA power rankings.
Regardless of how it shakes out, Western (No. 5 in Region 3-8A power rankings) and Plantation (No. 4) feel like playoff locks. Miramar (No. 10) is on the outside looking in when it comes to an at-large playoff berth.
District 13-8A (Region 4)
The teams: Hialeah (7-1, 4-0), North Miami (5-3, 4-0), American (4-4, 2-2), Krop (1-7, 1-3), North Miami Beach (2-6, 1-3), Hialeah Gardens (3-5, 0-4)
The district comes down to the Hialeah-North Miami game on Friday night.
And while the Hialeah T-Breds should advance to the playoffs regardless (No. 5 in Tuesday’s power rankings for Region 4-8A), North Miami (No. 9 in power rankings) will likely need to win the district if it wants to play past the regular season.
Hialeah has been solid this year, pitching four shutouts in seven games with its only loss being a 28-14 defeat at Gulf Coast in Week 2. North Miami’s three losses have come to a trio of likely playoff contenders in Southridge (15-6), Jackson (12-0) and Palmetto (21-7).
District 14-8A (Region 4)
The teams: Columbus (9-0, 3-0), Coral Gables (5-3, 3-0), Miami Beach (3-5, 1-2), Coral Park (1-7, 0-2), Miami (2-6, 0-2)
The district will once again come down to Columbus and Coral Gables. The Explorers, outside of a 35-0 loss to Carol City that the Chiefs now have to forfeit, have been outstanding this season, winning nondistrict matchups against Northwestern (23-14) and Booker T. Washington (28-21).
Coral Gables started the season 3-1 before splitting it next four games, getting district wins against Miami Beach (37-0) and Coral Park (42-0) but losing nondistrict matchups with Palmetto (16-13) and Booker T. Washington (26-21).
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from Tropical Park.
Columbus will be in the playoffs regardless of the outcome on Friday. Coral Gables is a fringe at-large team without a district title (No. 8 in Tuesday’s power rankings).
District 15-8A (Region 4)
The teams: Belen Jesuit (6-2, 4-0), Southwest (6-2, 4-0), Coral Reef (4-4, 2-2), Braddock (4-4, 2-2), Ferguson (1-7, 0-4), Varela (0-7, 0-4)
The district will come down to Belen and Southwest on Friday, with the winner likely being the district’s lone representative in the playoffs this season.
District 16-8A (Region 4)
The teams: South Dade (7-1, 2-1), Southridge (6-2, 3-0), Palmetto (7-1, 2-1), Homestead (5-3, 1-3), Killian (3-5, 0-3)
It should be a wild ride here.
Two games are important to note from this district: Palmetto vs. Killian on Thursday and South Dade vs. Southridge on Friday. Both games will be played at Southridge.
The scenarios for the district:
No. 1: If Southridge wins, the Spartans win the district no matter what happens on Thursday.
No. 2: If South Dade and Killian win, South Dade wins the district.
No. 3: If South Dade and Palmetto win, there will be a three-way tie for the district crown among South Dade, Southridge and Palmetto.
Regardless, all three teams will make the playoffs, with the district a virtual lock to grab two of Region 4’s four at-large bid. Homestead, which is 4-0 outside of the district, still has a chance to advance to the postseason depending on how it fares in its final two games against Edison and Ferguson. The Broncos check in at No. 6 in the Region 4-8A power rankings.
District 14-7A (Region 4)
The teams: St. Thomas Aquinas (7-1, 1-0), Fort Lauderdale (6-2, 1-1), Blanche Ely (1-7, 0-1)
This district works out one of two ways: Either St. Thomas Aquinas defeats Pompano Beach Blanche Ely (which it should) and wins the district title outright, or Blanche Ely pulls off a remarkable upset to force a three-way tie and St. Thomas wins on the tiebreaker.
Fort Lauderdale, which checks in at No. 4 in the Region 4-7A power rankings, should make the playoffs as an at-large.
District 15-7A (Region 4)
The teams: McArthur (8-0, 5-0), Cooper City (3-5, 3-1), West Broward (5-3, 3-1), South Broward (2-8, 1-3), Nova (3-6, 1-4), Hollywood Hills (2-6, 0-4)
The Hollywood McArthur Mustangs ran the table in district play and will be back in the playoffs just one year after going 1-9. Great work by coach Pierre Senatus and his staff.
District 16-7A (Region 4)
The teams: Doral Academy (7-2, 7-0), Miami Springs (6-2, 6-1), South Miami (6-2, 5-2), Mater Academy (5-3, 5-2), Goleman (3-5, 3-5), Reagan (2-6, 2-5), Sunset (2-6, 2-5), Mourning (1-7, 1-6), Westland Hialeah (1-7, 1-6)
Doral Academy has had the district locked up for a couple weeks now. Thursday’s game against Mourning is merely a formality at this point. As of Tuesday, Miami Springs holds Region 4-7A’s final at-large playoff spot.
District 15-6A (Region 4)
The teams: Dillard (6-2, 3-0), Boyd Anderson (4-4, 2-1), Archbishop McCarthy (1-7, 1-2), Boynton Beach (1-7, 1-2), Northeast (0-8, 0-3)
Fort Lauderdale Dillard has already locked up its third consecutive district title and can run the table in the district on Friday with a win over a Boynton Beach team that won its first game of the season last week.
District 16-6A (Region 4)
The teams: Carol City (6-2, 3-0), Central (8-1, 3-0), Northwestern (3-5, 1-2), Norland (3-5, 1-2), Hialeah-Miami Lakes (0-8, 0-4)
If you want to see what can be argued as the biggest regular-season game in the state this year, get to Traz Powell Stadium early on Friday night.
Carol City vs. Central is shaping up to be epic.
The Chiefs have outscored opponents 345-47 but have to forfeit their first two wins against Plantation American Heritage (34-16) and Columbus (35-0) for a self-reported violation of using a pair of ineligible players. Carol City has since defeated Southridge (50-0), Northwestern (28-7) and Booker T. Washington (39-17).
Central, meanwhile, is 8-1 and its lone loss is a five-overtime marathon against national powerhouse St. John’s in Washington D.C.
This one should be fun, folks.
From the at-large standpoint, both Northwestern (No. 4 in power rankings; No. 2 for at-large) and Norland (No. 8 in power rankings; No. 4 for at-large) also would both be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
District 16-5A (Region 4)
The teams: Cardinal Gibbons (6-2, 4-0), Plantation American Heritage (7-1, 3-1), Hallandale (4-4, 3-1), Coconut Creek (5-3, 1-3), Jackson (4-4, 1-3), Stranahan (1-7, 0-4)
For the first time since 1994, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons can say it is a district champion. The Chiefs have won five consecutive games after back-to-back losses to Miami Central and Milton (Georgia). That includes the pivotal district win at American Heritage.
Gibbons can run the table in the district with a win over Stranahan on Friday.
As for playoff standings, Heritage is a virtual lock and will receive a boost in its seeding after being awarded an extra win with Carol City having to forfeit the season-opening contest against the Patriots. Hallandale and Coconut Creek are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to at-large spots.
Class 4A-1A summaries
Class 4A, Region 4
University School and Booker T. Washington are virtual locks for the region top-two playoff spots and a first-round bye. The other four spots are up for grabs, with Glades Central, Monsignor Pace, Gulliver Prep and Pine Crest advancing if the season ended today.
Class 3A, Region 4
Chaminade-Madonna is on top here as of Tuesday. Palm Beach Benjamin and Delray American Heritage should also advance. Westminster Christian, Palmer Trinity and Boca St. Andrews round out the region’s top-six as of Tuesday.
Class 2A, Region 4
The top-six seem to be finalized. The order is still very much up for grabs, though. As of Tuesday, the teams are ranked as follows: Miami Christian, Glades Day, St. John Neumann, Moore Haven, Champagnat Catholic and First Baptist Academy.