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Strunk, Seahawks prepare for whatever will be

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

Seahawks football coach Dirk Strunk likes what he sees with the dedicated crew of coaches and staff he has worked with all summer.

He just wishes the Florida High School Athletic Association would make up its mind exactly how it wants to proceed.

“Everybody’s trying to be best prepared. We’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said Monday. “The state’s trying to do the right thing.

“I know there lots of people antsy. I wish everybody could get on the same track and have the same ideas. Every day you get something new, that ‘this is going to happen,’” he said. “I wish the FHSAA would make a decision, instead of dragging their feet. We have hundreds of thousands around the state who just want to know.

“I’m fine with pushing it back, that doesn’t bother me at all,” Strunk said. “I am glad the state association is taking their time to think through this stuff.”

The FHSAA has drafted three options to begin sports after the start of the fall season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Two affect only fall sports, including a proposal to eliminate state championships, while one would alter the schedule of all sports for the 2020-21 school year.

The first plan calls for sports to begin Aug. 24, when fall practices are scheduled to start after the FHSAA board of directors voted to move the start of the season back from July 27.

The second option is for starting at an undetermined time “after August,” while a third option wouldn’t start sports until Nov. 30, and the regular seasons in all sports — fall, winter and spring — would be condensed to about five weeks.

The FHSAA will take recommendations and present its plan for 2020-21 to its board of directors, which is scheduled to meet by Aug. 17. It is unclear whether the FHSAA will present all three options to the board and let members choose on the best one, or if the FHSAA will present just one option.

Option 1 in the FHSAA proposal would keep the playoff schedule in all fall sports the same and would not impact winter or spring. Games would begin Sept. 7 and teams would follow their current schedules, eliminating their first three weeks of games.

In Option 2, the fall regular-season games would begin two weeks after the start of practice is determined and the regular season would end Nov. 28. There would be no state championship tournaments in any fall sport, but regional or local playoff tournaments could be conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 12. The winter and spring seasons would not be affected by Option 2.

Option 3 would adjust the entire FHSAA calendar for 2020-21 but would allow for state tournaments. Practices for fall sports would begin Nov. 30 and the regular season would be Dec. 14-Jan. 23. Winter practices would start Feb. 15 with the regular season running March 1-April 3. Spring would start April 26 with the regular season May 10-June 12.

If football practice starts Aug. 24, games would begin Sept. 11. Teams’ preseason games and Week 1 and 2 contests would be canceled. The final week of the regular season would be Nov. 6, a week later than planned for this season.

Football teams would have the choice to opt-in or out of the state series (tournament) in Option 1. Under that plan, all teams who choose to participate in the FHSAA tournament would receive a playoff bid.

There would be no district champions and no at-large bids using the current ratings percentage index. Seeding in each region would be determined by blind draw.

If there are more than 16 playoff teams in a region in Classes 5A-8A, or more than eight teams in 1A-4A, the first week of the postseason (Nov. 13) would be a series of play-in games. The regional quarterfinals would begin Nov. 20.

In Option 1, the FHSAA would create new classifications for this season after Oct. 12, the deadline for schools to opt into the state series. The smallest one-third of schools (based on enrollment) would be in Classes 2A-4A, while the biggest two-thirds would be in 5A-8A. Rural schools would remain in 1A.

Strunk said he’s been played with the turnout during morning workouts this summer, as he and his fellow coaches have been scrupulous in keeping the boys distanced and the field house disinfected every day, sometimes twice a day.

The two dozen players who show up are now taking part in evening workouts. “We’ll do that up until school begins,” he said.

Adam Fisher of the Naples Daily News contributed to writing this story.

The (possible) 2020 Seahawk schedule

The first three previously scheduled games, which include the Aug. 14 Pre-season Classic at home vs. Liberty County; the Aug. 21 game at Bell; and the Aug. 28 home game vs. North Bay Haven, have all been canceled.

The proposed season is below:

Friday, Sept. 11 @ Wewahitchka

Friday, Sept. 18 @ Rocky Bayout

Friday, Sept. 25 home vs. Sneads

Friday, Oct. 2 @ Liberty County

Friday, Oct. 9 home vs Cottondale

Friday, Oct. 16 TO BE FILLED

Friday, Oct. 23 Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs

Friday, Oct. 30 Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs

Friday, Nov. 6 Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs