Bay County football is mostly in a class by itself.
Mosley had its appeal upheld to move from Class 6A to 5A as noted on the finalized district football assignments released by the Florida High School Athletic Association on Friday. That places the Dolphins in a seven-team district that also includes county schools Arnold, Bay and Rutherford and will put even more emphasis on games between the schools during the next two seasons, which is the current cycle for reclassification.
Mosley was tentatively slotted with Fort Walton Beach and Choctawhatchee in a three-team District 2-6A after Crestview, Navarre and Niceville moved up a classification. Mosley’s student enrollment was within the FHSAA’s buffer of 10 percent to move down to 5A. The request was accepted, as was Pensacola Catholic’s appeal to move up two classes to avoid what the FHSAA dubbed “geographic isolation” and long trips to Jacksonville for district games in 3A.
District 1-5A now consists of Arnold, Bay, Gulf Breeze, Mosley, Pensacola Catholic, Pensacola West Florida Tech and Rutherford. Mosley remains the county’s largest school based on enrollment, but the figures have dropped sharply due to the rise of charter academies. Mosley’s enrollment has decreased from 1,833 students as of the Fall 2010 report to 1,687 in 2012 with even lower numbers expected in 2013-14.
Football district alignments typically also are used to help delineate sports such as basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. That could provide a boost for Mosley programs that struggled to advance to regionals or move deep into the postseason despite success and stellar records.
The move also will add to the competition level for county schools and provide matchups with more than bragging rights at stake.
Class 5A also includes Tallahassee Godby, which appealed to remain in that classification after initially being placed in District 1-4A. Godby is in District 2-5A with Tallahassee Rickards and Wakulla and the grouping will be bracketed against 1-5A in the regional tournament.
District 1-4A now has East Gadsden, Marianna, Tallahassee Florida High and Walton. The grouping included Taylor County for the past two seasons, but that school moved to District 2-4A. Florida High is moving up in class.
District 2-6A now includes Choctawhatchee, Fort Walton Beach and Navarre, which appealed to stay in the classification after tentatively being placed in District 1-7A.
The Rural classification saw a minor change in Region 2. Blountstown moved from District 4-1A to 3-1A to join Bozeman, Chipley, Holmes County and South Walton. District 4-1A now has four teams, Franklin County, Liberty County, Port St. Joe and West Gadsden.
Finalized football district assignments involving area teams:
- District 2-1A: Cottondale, Graceville, Sneads, Vernon, Wewahitchka
- District 3-1A: Blountstown, Bozeman, Chipley, Holmes County, South Walton
- District 4-1A: Franklin County, Liberty County, Port St. Joe, West Gadsden
- District 1-4A: East Gadsden, Florida High, Marianna, Walton
- District 1-5A: Arnold, Bay, Gulf Breeze, Mosley, Pensacola Catholic, Rutherford, West Florida Tech