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New North Florida League includes many Panhandle teams

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Sunshine State Athletic Conference formed a new 1A high school football conference and several schools from the Panhandle are a part of it.

“It will crown a true champion for our conference and everybody is guaranteed ten games so it’s really kinda a neat concept,” Wewahitchka coach Bobby Johns said. “It’s very new for us, like I said it’s our first year so I think a lot of us are very interested to see how it goes and is it something we can build on and get more 1A teams across the state to be a part of that.”

Blountstown, Cottondale, Franklin County, Graceville, Holmes County, Liberty County, Port St. Joe, Sneads, Vernon, Wewahitchka, Baker and Jefferson-Somerset will all compete to be crowned champions.

“Essentially whats going to happen is they are going to play a seven game season which they already have scheduled,” SSAC President Stuart Weiss said. “And then week nine, ten and eleven of the regular season which is the last three weeks of the season will be this North Florida League tournament.”

The 12 teams will be split into three divisions for the tournament. The top eight teams go into the championship bracket. After week nine, the four who lost in the first round will play the final two weeks in a two-week tournament for the Big Bend Brawl.

The teams seeded 9th-12th will play in a round robin for a North Florida Series Championship.

“It’s just a great thing for the fans and financially,” Blountstown head coach Beau Johnson said. “When they did away with districts we lost some of our close rival games, and some of our district games that would bring in big gates. And us small schools survive off concession stand and gate money and basically the last three games of the year whether you are at home or on the road, there’s gonna be some revenue.”

The championship games will be held at Tommy Oliver Stadium. The teams that make the FHSAA Class 1A playoffs will compete for a state title.

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