Posted: 4:21 pm Monday, January 9th, 2012
Football: Benjamin, Pope John Paul II, St. Andrew’s, other small schools create independent conference
By Matt Porter
Benjamin, Pope John Paul II, John Carroll and St. Andrew’s are among 14 schools in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties who have withdrawn from their FHSAA-mandated football districts to create an independent conference.
The move is expected to be announced Tuesday.
The conference, tentatively known as the South Florida Football Conference, will begin play in Sept. 2012 with North and South Divisions competing for an independent conference championship.
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The seven-team North Division will consist of Benjamin, Coral Springs Charter, John Carroll, Pine Crest, Pope John Paul II, St. Andrew’s and Westminster Academy. The South Division is made up of Coral Shores, Florida Christian, Marathon, Miami Country Day, Miami Curley, Miami La Salle and Ransom Everglades.
The schools will play an eight-game schedule, with Weeks 9 and 10 of the season reserved for a playoff tournament that will involve all schools. Week 11 of the season is an automatic bye week. Week 12 will be reserved for a North vs. South conference championship game.
Before last year’s statewide FHSAA district realignment, several of the athletic directors and football coaches in the eventual new conference met to discuss going independent. The task was at the time considered too daunting. A series of November and December meetings led to the declaration of independence.
“When we first talked about it, it was like a breath of fresh air,” Pope John Paul II Athletic Director and Football Coach Matt Dillon said. “It just made the most sense for our schools.”