St. Francis football goes independent

St. Francis athletic director/football coach Matt Olesnevich cited the safety of his program as one of the reasons the Wolves will go independent in football.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.

St. Francis, which in the latest Florida High School Athletic Association's football assignments had been placed in District 2-3A, has decided to instead go independent, according to athletic director/football coach Matt Olesnevich.

The move comes nearly one month after Oak Hall announced it was going independent, citing size difference with the other schools, such as Ocala Trinity Catholic, a traditionally rich football program.

“We felt for the safety of our program, we needed to move to independent football for the next two years,” Olesnevich said. “We had a lot of the similar concerns that Oak Hall had.”

Of the original six schools in the district, St. Francis had the smallest student population at 241, followed by Oak Hall at 246. Trinity Catholic had the largest population at 501, followed by P.K. Yonge at 469. The district also includes Daytona Beach Father Lopez (408) and Tallahassee Maclay (367).

“We didn't want to go independent,” Olesnevich said. “We were hoping the FHSAA would have made some adjustments to the district during the appeal process. But that didn't happen. So we decided to go independent.”

Last year, both St. Francis and Oak Hall were in Class 2A, playing in District 2, and P.K. Yonge was independent. In the previous two years, Trinity Catholic played in the two-team District 3-3A, that included Fort White.

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