PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Friday marks the first round of the State playoffs, with several area teams taking part in the expanded 1A bracket.
At the top of the list is undefeated Port St. Joe (8-0) hosting eighth seeded Liberty on Friday night.
Anyone who's watched Port St. Joe play this season knows the Sharks are among the best teams in the region in any class, touting wins over 5A and 4A teams.
Liberty enters at 3-7, an unlikely playoff team before the playoff format was changed following Hurricane Michael.
Regardless of who they are playing, the mission ahead for the Sharks is pretty simple.
"I think we've just got to continue to get better on both sides of the ball individually," head coach Greg Jordan said. "Our players have got to continue to develop. Each round in these playoffs, if you're fortunate to advance, the competition level is going to rise and it's a single elimination tournament. Four weeks to get to the state championship game, and whoever plays the best at the end--I tell our kids, everybody now is zero and zero."
Port St. Joe is one of several teams in the region hit hard by the storm, costing the football team a pair of games and valuable practice time.
"You know, I thought we were playing well before the hurricane came," Jordan continued. "We lost two games, week eight and week nine, missed a week and a half of practice and we were able to get back the Monday of week ten and play Arnold. Our kids, they've been resilient. They've bounced back and been able to focus out here at practice and all. We're not where we need to be yet but I think we're headed in the right direction."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 Eastern and is one of several set to be featured on Friday Night Overtime.