Another week, another slate of RPI rankings, another reminder of just how dominant Niceville and Baker have been on the gridiron this year.
With just two games left on the regular season schedule, both programs have established themselves as the clear-cut favorites headed into the postseason, a point that has been reiterated once again with FHSAA’s weekly RPI rankings update. The Gators (8-0) remain atop Class 1A with a .691 RPI, while Niceville (9-0) remains seeded second in Region 1-7A with .678 RPI.
Meanwhile, area squads such as Crestview, Choctaw, Freeport and South Walton are still in possession of playoff berths with Navarre and Walton on the outside looking in.
But back to Niceville. The Eagles were the undeniable big winners Monday night.
Following a series of rainouts Friday, Niceville hit the road for Tallahassee and beat Chiles 57-8, securing both its first district championship since 2015 and top-four playoff seed in Region 1, ranking well ahead of region opponents Fleming Island (Orange Park) and Wekiva (Apopka), as well as Crestview and Lincoln.
The Eagles will host Leon at 7 p.m. Friday, looking for a perfect 10-0 regular season record.
Also in Region 1-7A, Crestview (5-3) ranks fifth overall with a .606 RPI after knocking off Lincoln 39-17 on Monday, and Navarre (5-4) ranks eighth with a .540 RPI. Both the Bulldogs and the Raiders would be slotted down one spot in the playoffs, however, given whichever team emerges atop the lackluster District 3-7A will receive the fourth seed.
Crestview travels to Navarre to play the Raiders at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Like Niceville, Baker, too, could finish with another perfect regular season after rolling to 37th straight regular season victory, the Gators topping Jefferson County 35-0 in the opening round of the Sunshine Athletic Conference playoff and further strengthening their stranglehold on Class 1A.
The Gators will host Port St. Joe at 7 p.m. Friday in Doug Griffith Memorial Stadium.
Also in 1A, Freeport (6-2) ranks fourth overall in Region 1 with .601 RPI, but the Bulldogs have dropped to two straight to Baker and Jay (.534) ahead of their matchup with South Walton at 7 p.m. Friday in Freeport.
Speaking of the Seahawks (3-4), Phil Tisa’s crew ranks sixth in Region 1-4A with a .491 RPI. South Walton got ahead of Rutherford 21-14 at halftime Monday before the remainder of the game was postponed until the following Monday due to heavy rain and lightning.
Rounding out Walton County, Bobby Moore and the Braves (4-4) rank eighth in Region 1-3A with .496 RPI after a 35-22 victory against Chipley on Monday. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) holds the last available playoff spot in the region with a .579 RPI.
The Braves have a road game against Trenton at 7 p.m. Friday.
In Class 5A, Choctaw (4-3) ranks eighth in Region 1 with a .513 RPI, though it could climb into the top four if it knocks off Pine Forest (.566). The Eagles led the Indians 14-3 with almost three full quarters left to play Monday when the game was postponed until Tuesday due to lightning.
And in Class 6A, Fort Walton Beach (3-5) ranks 13th in Region 1 with a .455 RPI. The Vikings will host undefeated Escambia at 7 p.m. Monday.