Five things to look for as high school football practice starts Monday


The 2018 season is fast approaching, with the first day of high school football practice on Monday. As always, the offseason has been filled with player and coach movement, colleges courting the county’s top prospects and players working to improve their games. Here are five things to look for heading into the new season:

1) Rule changes

The FHSAA playoff points system has been altered for this year, starting with changes to the amount of points a team receives for losing a game. Broken down into four categories determined by opponent win percentage, the system now awards 35 points for losing to a team with that won 80 percent or more of its games, 30 points for a loss to an opponent that won 60-79 percent of its games, 25 points for losing to a team that won 40-59 percent of its games and 20 points for losing to a team that won less than 39 percent of its contests.

Teams can also earn three bonus points for scheduling and playing a team that participated in the playoffs during the previous two-year scheduling cycle. Three bonus points will also be awarded for scheduling and playing a team that finished the year in the top 25 rankings from Maxpreps or USA Today.

If the opponent is played in both years of the new scheduling cycle, the bonus points are awarded each year. A maximum of three bonus points can be earned per game.

2) Oxbridge disbands

After making a run to the state finals last year and establishing itself as one of the top programs in the county, Oxbridge Academy’s football team no longer exists. The private school abruptly shuttered the successful program this summer, citing a lack of participation and player safety concerns. Standout players like Gio Richardson, James Meeks, Dorian Jones and Antavious Lane, among a host of others, will all look to settle into their new homes this season. The player movement, along with the elimination of a prominent program, will alter the landscape of local high school football.

3) Top tier players

This year’s batch of graduating seniors includes FSU commits Akeem Dent and Mike Morris, along with several other high-profile prospects with offers from schools like Clemson, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Florida, Alabama and Ohio State. Offensive weapon Mark-Antony Richards is the highest rated offensive player on the Palm Beach Post’s big board and former UM commit Renato Brown spearheads a group of talented two-way players in the county. The 2019 class is deep, talented and certainly worth following.

4) Coaching changes

A dozen PBC programs will be starting the year with a new head coach. Strap in as we go on one of the craziest coaching carousels in county history:

Benjamin: Eric Kresser

Boca Raton: Brandon Walker

Cardinal Newman: Joe Molina (former Dwyer offensive line coach)

Inlet Grove: Robert McKay

John I. Leonard: Keith Chattin

Lake Worth: Don Hanna (formerly with Village Academy) 

Royal Palm Beach: Davis Lowery

Seminole Ridge: Rick Casko (formerly with Glades Central)

Somerset Canyons: Tom Halikman

Suncoast: Brian Pulaksi (formerly with Cardinal Newman) 

Village Academy: Dameon Hughes

West Boca: Mike Cook

5) Will PBC schools rebound after a rough postseason?

Palm Beach County was shut out from state championships in the 2017 season, despite some teams making it to the final four of their bracket. Pahokee made it to the Class 1A state semifinal before falling to Madison County, Oxbridge Academy lost on a late field goal to Chaminade-Madonna is the Class 3A state final and Atlantic fell to Dr. Phillips in the Class 8A state final. County school will be looking to get back to Orlando and, this time, walk away with the gold medals.



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