5 Florida high school football teams ready to end playoff droughts

We compiled a list of five teams that should change their fortunes from the last season and beyond
Alonso Ravens are coming off a 7-3 finish from the 2023 season
Alonso Ravens are coming off a 7-3 finish from the 2023 season / Alonso Ravens/X

In a world where high school football supremacy is decided by how many star players you have littered all over your roster, there's plenty of programs around Florida are trying to inch their way into the postseason picture.

With the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) changing back to classifications from the Metro-Suburban-Rural state series, there's opportunities for programs to get themselves into the playoff mix.

As the Open Division is set to take into effect this upcoming 2024-2025 season, some postseason slots will be available to improving clubs in Florida. We identified five teams that look like they're ready to take the next step in ending their playoff droughts.

Alonso Ravens: There's plenty of reasons to like what Hayden Cantrell's Ravens are doing off of Hillsborough Road in Tampa. Alonso has continued to trend upwards every season, but falling short of nabbing a playoff spot, with back-to-back 7-3 campaigns. Playing in difficult districts has plagued the Ravens from reaching their goal of entering the playoffs for the first time since the mid-2010's. Now playing in a Class 7A, District 7 with teams like Newsome, Plant City, Strawberry Crest and Sumner, the Ravens have one of the more experienced teams of the group. Behind the solid quarterback play of Joseph Glennon, Alonso should be a team we see qualifying in November for the postseason.

Alonso Ravens 2024 Schedule

Flanagan Falcons: It's been several years since the last time the Falcons reached the postseason, but their misfortunes should turnaround this fall. Some reasons being is the influx of talent that has come over to Flanagan and should have the program looking to take a turn in the right direction. The Falcons have seen several players transfer in like 2027 athlete Jaden McGee, 2026 running back Carl Lake Jr., 2025 wide receiver Ezekiel Burrell and 2025 safety Nathan Williams. The Falcons finished with four victories last season, but now playing in Class 6A, District 15 (Dr. Krop, Miami Beach, West Broward), Flanagan should have absolutely have a chance to make playoffs.

Flanagan Falcons 2024 Schedule

Dr. Joaquin Garcia: Wait, aren't the Bulldogs a brand spanking new football program? Yes, but hear us out on these new kids on the block down in South Florida. The Dr. Joaquin Garcia football program played a freelance schedule last year, but definitely have seen some talent transfer over during the off-season. One of the big transfers they received over the off-season was that of 2026 quarterback Caleb Butler, who comes over from Palm Beach Central. Butler threw for over 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Broncos last season. Class 4A, District 14 is up for the taking and the Bulldogs should have the talent to compete with anyone in the division.

Dr. Joaquin Garcia Bulldogs 2024 Schedule

Hernando Leopards: If there's a district that could be labeled the most advantageous for any football program that missed out on the playoffs the last couple of seasons, it's the Hernando Leopards. Playing in Class 3A, District 7 has become a blessing in disguise for John Scargle's bunch, that will be grouped with Brooksville Central, Citrus, Crystal River and Weeki Wachee. Every team in this district did not qualify for the playoffs in 2023, but Hernando brings back arguably the most talent across the board and an influx of newbies as well. One team we feel 99.9 percent confident can come out of it's district and be the district champion right out of the gates after a hiatus from the playoffs is the Leopards of Brooksville.

Hernando Leopards 2024 Schedule

Miami Northwestern Bulls: When you've done as much winning as the Bulls have in their storied history, missing out on the postseason one year is a long enough drought to feel like a decade's worth. We have a feeling that these new look Bulls will not be the 4-6 team they were a year ago because of acertain former NFL alumnus coming in and taking the helm. You might've heard of him in former Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions. Bridgewater has come back onto his old stomping grounds and shaken up things down in South Florida. The Bulls have themselves seen numerous transfers come in, which should automatically improve the overall shape of the roster. Having talents like 5-star athlete Calvin Russell helps as well, but Northwestern playing in Class 3A, District 16 (Key West, Miami Jackson, St. Brendan) should be back in the playoffs.

Miami Northwestern Bulls 2024 Schedule

-- Andy Villamarzo | villamarzo@scorebooklive.com | @sblivefl 

Andy Villamarzo