Catholic High football coach Greg Seibert crunched the numbers. He met with Catholic principal Sister Kierstin Martin and Crusaders athletic director Richard LaBounty and discussed the issue at length.
All that's left is the waiting.
The Crusaders officially filed an appeal to the Florida High School Athletic Association classification committee, asking to be placed in District 1-5A for football.
In the FHSAA's original reclassification proposal, the Crusaders' enrollment figures placed them in Class 3A as a member of District 1-3A.
That district consists of four Jacksonville schools, one St. Augustine school and Catholic.
"The appeals are technically not due until (Friday), but we've already submitted ours and are waiting to hear back from the FHSAA," Seibert said. "We petitioned to move from our current classification to District 1-5A, based on FHSAA Bylaw 12.2.7, which deals with geographically isolated schools."
The bylaw states any school "geographically isolated from other schools in the classification to which it is assigned may submit in writing to the Executive Director a request that it be administratively reassigned to the next higher classification. The Executive Director may honor such a request if, in his/her opinion, there are other schools in the higher classification that are in closer geographic proximity to the school submitting the request for reassignment."
For Catholic, the clear option is to bypass Class 4A and play up to Class 5A in District 1-5A, which features two Pensacola area teams and three Panama City teams.
"I went over it with my athletic director and Sister, we hashed out the pros and cons," Seibert said. "It became visibly clear that (moving up to District 1-5A) was the correct move for Catholic High School.
"In terms of what can be a lot of lost class time, a lot of fatigue on our student-athletes, it was clear."
And the numbers certainly back up Seibert's beliefs. If the Crusaders would play in District 1-3A, that would mean at least two trips to Jacksonville every year and three trips every other year.
In a two-year cycle, the Crusaders' average road trip in District 1-3A would cover 365.6 miles.
That travel is cut in half if the Crusaders are placed in District 1-4A -- a district that currently consists of Marianna, Walton, East Gadsden, Florida High and Godby. The Crusaders' average road trip in that district would be 158.8 miles.
But the logical choice is going all the way up to 5A, which currently features Gulf Breeze, West Florida and the three Panama City schools -- Bay, Rutherford, Arnold.
That district would give the Crusaders an average road trip of only 66.2 miles -- the longest trip being only 110 miles.
"There's really no comparison," Seibert said. "It's 100 miles to Panama City, whereas 325 miles to Trinity Christian in Jacksonville. That would be our shortest trip in District 1-3A.
"There may have been some overnight trips to Jacksonville, potentially two days out of school. Financially, it could be devastating with a worst-case scenario of having to make three trips to Jacksonville."
Navarre planning to appeal to 6A
The new alignment created a local Class 7A district featuring Crestview, Niceville, Navarre and Tate.
That district could be in jeopardy, though, as Navarre High coach Jay Walls said they have plans to appeal.
The Raiders reported 1,878 students, just six students higher than the cutoff for 7A.
"We are going to appeal and ask to be placed in District 2-6A (with current members Choctaw, Fort Walton Beach and Mosley)," Walls said. "We won't know anything for a couple of weeks. Truth be known, our enrollment is probably lower than (the numbers turned into the FHSAA).
"We actually are a 6A school, numbers-wise, and we're going to petition to stay in that classification."
That could create a 3-team district in 1-7A, if Navarre wins the appeal to play down.
Tate High coach Ronnie Douglas is only in his second week as the head coach, but said he hasn't heard any plan for the Aggies to appeal.
"The 6A district we're in is probably the toughest district in the state of Florida," Douglas said. "As far as playing up to 7A, I think it's going to be equally difficult. What we ended up getting into was a smaller district, but I think the teams in that district are just as tough as the top tier of (District 1-6A).
"Whether it will be harder or easier, I think it will be about the same. Our schedule will actually be the harder part in 7A. We're going to have to play more non-district schedule, and our county has a deal where we'll still have to play all those (6A) schools anyway."