FHSAA moves football state championships to Daytona, Tallahassee for next three seasons

Chaminade Madonna coach Demeon Jones gets drenched with ice water after winning the Class 3A state championship on Dec. 8, 2018 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. (Michael Laughlin / Sun Sentinel)

Small school football teams hoping to represent Broward and Palm Beach counties in the Class 3A-1A state championships will have a longer drive, starting next year.

The Florida High School Athletic Association announced Friday that the football state championships are leaving Camping World Stadium in Orlando after 12 years at the stadium. Class 3A-1A championships will be played at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee, while Class 8A-4A championships will be played at Daytona Stadium.

“I’m not going to complain about it,” said Dameon Jones, head coach of reigning Class 3A champion Chaminade-Madonna. “I’ve got to get there first.”

The changes go into effect for next season. Gene Cox Stadium seats 6,500 people, while Daytona Stadium seats 10,000.

The championship games will be spread across two weeks, with the Class 3A-1A title games being played at 7:30 from Dec. 5-7. The Class 8A-4A championships will be played from Dec. 11-14. All games except one will be played at 7 p.m.; there will be one Saturday afternoon game at 1 p.m. The order of the championship games has not been determined.

Broward and Palm Beach counties sent four teams to the state championship games in 2018: Class 3A champion Chaminade-Madonna, Class 3A runner up King’s Academy, Class 5A champion Cardinal Gibbons and Class 7A runner up St. Thomas Aquinas.

The drive from Chaminade-Madonna to Gene Cox Stadium is approximately seven hours.

“Just try to get up there the day before and get acclimated,” Jones said. “But that’s tough.”

alichtenstein@sun-sentinel.com

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Yvonne Shaffer