Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Playoff Proposal Puts Emphasis on Schedule Strength

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Playoff Proposal Puts Emphasis on Schedule Strength

Article excerpt


SARASOTA -- Being a Jersey boy, Drew Lascari called it as he saw it.

"I'll be honest, I don't know if we deserved to be in the playoffs last year with a 2-8 regular-season record," the Cardinal Mooney High football coach said. "We only won the games that we needed to win to get in. I don't know if that's deserving of a playoff spot."

Eight of 10 Friday nights last season, Lascari's Cougars left the field with long faces. But their two victories were all that really mattered. They were district triumphs and, at the end of the season, Mooney's 2-1 Class 3A-District 5 record was sufficient for second place and a spot in the playoffs.

But if the FHSAA has its way, a team finishing second in its district won't be ensured an automatic berth. The proposal

still must go before the FHSAA's athletic directors advisory board in September, then back in front of the association's board of directors for a vote, before it becomes official, likely in 2017.

But a majority of the state's coaches want the change. At their annual meeting last weekend in Daytona Beach, 78 percent were in favor of the proposal of FHSAA football administrator Frank Beasley.

And that means using a team's performance over the entire season, and not just in district matchups, to determine playoff berths. Teams would be awarded points for victories and strength of schedules. No longer would district runners-up be rubber stamped into the postseason.

"It's really going to be great for everyone," Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said. "If you're winning against a sub-par team, they're not going to count that as big points."

Marino has good reason for supporting the measure. Last season his Tigers (6-4, 3-2) failed to make the playoffs, finishing third in Class 7A-District 11, behind Braden River and Venice. But their four losses came against Manatee, Braden River, Venice and Charlotte, teams with a combined 37-3 mark.

Under Beasley's plan, Palmetto would have made the playoffs. …

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