Oak Hall School (Gainesville) Returns to FHSAA State Series Play in Football
The Eagles will join new FHSAA Playoff Format
Gainesville, FL-October 18, 2016 – Oak Hall School announced that the school will return to FHSAA state series play in the sport of football beginning with the 2017 season.
The Florida High School Athletic Association announced in late September that district play will be eliminated in Classes 1A-4A and teams will make the playoffs on a point system. Each school will control their own schedule and four teams from each of the states four regions will make the playoffs based on the new points system. Points are awarded for both wins and losses based on opponents record.
“We are pleased and excited that the FHSAA has adopted this new policy. The new policy provides equity and is markedly safer than the previous format which placed schools like Oak Hall in districts with schools 250% larger than us” said Jeffrey A. Malloy, Director of Athletics.
Since the 2011 football season, Oak Hall has competed as an independent in football while participating in the North Florida Football Conference. The conference is made up of 9 members broken into two divisions. Twice, Oak Hall was the Southern Division Champion and competed in the conference championship game in 2011 and 2012 losing both games to Tallahassee Maclay. With its win last Friday against St. Johns Country Day School, the Eagles secured the Southern Division Championship and will host the conference championship game on November 10th.
Malloy, who serves as the Commissioner for the conference reports that the conference membership is already exploring steps to keep the conference in tact so that schools can reap the benefits of both FHSAA State Series Play and conference championship play. The proposal moves the conference championship game out of the “bowl” week for the FHSAA and into the last play week, week 11 for the FHSAA. In this scenario, all divisional play must be completed by week 9 for conference teams and week 11 will be used for the championship game.
“The conference members are adamant about keeping the conference in place but most would like the opportunity to participate in FHSAA state series play should we be fortunate enough to advance. By shifting our conference championship game into the last week of the regular season, this can be accomplished for conference members and just gives our kids more to play for” said Malloy.
With the decision, Oak Hall will be classified as a 2A team and looks to build its schedule primarily from within the conference as it has done since 2011, according to Malloy.
“With the new FHSAA playoff philosophy the North Florida Football Conference is the perfect model. Our conference football programs have the best of both worlds. We all get to compete in a highly competitive conference week in and week out against schools with very similar if not identical philosophies with the opportunity to play for a championship. On top of that we also now have the opportunity to compete at the state series level which will bring added excitement to our school communities and an enhanced experience for our students” said Eagle Head Football Coach Matt DiBernardo.
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About Oak Hall School:
Oak Hall School is a private-independent school serving 800 students for the Gainesville Community in grades PK-12 since 1970. The athletic program has been named the top program in the state of Florida on five occasions for private schools by the Florida High School Athletic Association for their Floyd E. Lay All-Sports Trophy. During the 2011-2012 year, the school was recognized for their sportsmanship winning the Fred E. Rozzelle Sportsmanship Award presented by the FHSAA.