Total of 35 football teams attend Media Day in Ocala

New Trenton football coach Lyle Wilkerson & 4-year starter Randy Fuller

New Trenton football coach Lyle Wilkerson & 4-year starter Randy Fuller

Legacy Team Sales in Ocala hosted the 4th annual high school football media day on Monday, July 24.

Several media outlets were in attendance to get an inside look at the upcoming high school football season with coaches and players from 35 schools as far north as Gilchrist and Dixie County and as far south as Lake and Hernando County.

One of the biggest topics was the FHSAA’s new playoff format.  Coaches had mixed emotions.

For schools in Class 1A-4A, some coaches were disappointed that the players won’t have the opportunity to play for a district title.  For others, like Bell coach Joey Whittington, it’s been well-received.

“I think a new playoff system will benefit us,” he said.  ”I like having the freedom to schedule teams.  We’ve been in a district the last two years with Madison County.  We’ll play some teams that are more like the size of our team and school size-wise that will be closer to us.”

Media Day also marked the first day of our coverage as we count down to kickoff of the 2017 high school football season with team previews, regional rankings, and more.

Coming soon, we’ll be counting down from 20 to the No. 1 team in the Prep Zone’s coverage area with our first regional team ranking being released in early August and the top-ranked team being announced prior to the first regular season game.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida:  Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties. It will be voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters.

This fall, we’ll have weekly radio coverage, plus video.Fox Sports Gainesville and Ocala

Our first high school football radio broadcast of the season will be on August 25 as Belleview hosts Trinity Catholic in a Marion County showdown.  You can listen to the game on Florida Sports Talk (FM-100.1 & AM-900 in Ocala, as well as FM-92.1 & 1230 AM in Gainesville), along with audio online at ThePrepZone.com.

For those who live in Gilchrist & Levy County, check out ThePrepZone.com Nature Coast Sports Report presented by SunState Federal Credit Union every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:28 a.m. and repeating at 5:28 p.m. on 93.3 FM & 940 AM in Chiefland/Trenton & 1240 AM in Cross City.

The 2-minute high school sports vignette is produced by Mike Ridaught, who will handle the play-by-play of high school football on Florida Sports Talk this fall.  Ridaught will also co-host a weekly show with Marty Pallman called “The Prep Zone,” which will air weekly at Sonic Drive-In on 39th Avenue in Gainesville, with a select number of shows to also air in Ocala.

Stay tuned, our first football team preview is coming soon.