The preliminaries are over.
The 2019 high school football season gets underway this Friday.
Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School will play host to Liberty County, which they played in a spring jamboree, while Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School will start the season on the road at R.F. Munroe.
Game time at Shark Field is 7:30 p.m. ET. Kickoff at R.F. Munroe is 8:30 p.m. ET.
“We are ready for week one,” said Port St. Joe coach Greg Jordan.
The county teams faced each other in a Kickoff Classic last Friday which ended with Port St. Joe on top 26-0 on the scoreboard after four abbreviated quarters.
The score was purely incidental to both coaches.
“The number one priority was to get film on all the kids,” Jordan said. “Number two was not to get anybody hurt and we did that.
“So, overall, we’ll take it.”
On the other hand this was a classic, the first opportunity for players to compete against players in another uniform.
And, as a result, there were the miscues, penalties, turnovers and missed plays, typical to a preseason game.
“There were a lot of mistakes, a lot of things to correct,” Jordan said. “That gave us a foundation and things we needed to work on.
“That is why it is important to get film. You can tell a kid all the right things in practice, and he thinks he is doing everything correct. But you see it on film, it is different. And it is the small things, like not having your head on the proper side or footwork.”
As the regular season opens, the county programs embark on something of a two-year pilot project: the Panhandle Football Conference.
Over the next eight weeks, each team will play seven regular season games.
At some juncture, the conference coaches will begin ranking the teams in anticipation of three weeks of conference playoffs the tail end of October and into the first week of November.
The conference playoffs will end in a state Rural Football title and will segue into the Florida High School Athletics Association playoffs.
The FHSAA will continue to use its existing point system to rank teams for playoff eligibility.