Friday, November 27, 2009

Round two - after Turkey day

Last week was affectionately called 'turkey week' ... picks were less than edible.

However, we'll try again to help you make sense of the 2009 state playoffs. Trust me, a 65-31 record is not much to brag about.

Alas, we will try again with this week's picks:

6A - (10-6 last week)
Mainland over Deland
Seminole over Winter Park
Apopka over Dr. Phillips
Treasure Coast over Boca Raton
Miramar over Plantation
Carol City over Dr. Krop
Northwestern over Central
Southridge over South Dade

5A - (11-5 last week)
Fleming Island over Seabreeze
Lakeland over Osceola
Plant over Alonso
Tampa Bay Tech over Countryside
Manatee over St. Petersburg
Bayside over Melbourne
Ely over Boyd Anderson
St. Thomas over South Broward

4A - (Hey - I went 12-4 here!)
Fort Walton Beach over Niceville (upset special)
Columbia over Lincoln
Gainesville over Tarpon Springs
Lake Gibson over Edgewater
Armwood over Largo
Charlotte over Cape Coral
New Smyrna Beach over Palm Bay
Dwyer over Stranahan

3A - (9-7 - so take that with a grain of salt)
Jackson over Pensacola
St. Augustine over Clay
North Marion over Vanguard
Jefferson over Lakewood
Lake Wales over Braden River
South Fort Myers over Lehigh
Merrit Island over Westwood
Washington over Belen Jesuit

2A - (6-2 last week)
Baker County over Godby
Cocoa over Astronaut
Robinson over Hardee
Glades Central over American Heritage (Plantation)

2B - (5-3 last week)
Pensacola Catholic over Florida High
Bolles over Trinity Catholic
Tampa Catholic over Lake Highland Prep
Chaminade Prep over North Broward Prep

1A - (6-2 last week)
Liberty County over Freeport
Trinity Christian over Melbourne Central Catholic
Fort Meade over Dixie County
American Heritage (Delray) over Calvary Christian

1B - (6-2 last week)
Hawthorne over Jefferson Co.
Warner Christian over Florida Air
Evangelical Christian over Out-of-Door
Jupiter Christian over Glades Day

So we pick a few upsets to shake things up. If I'm right, I look like a guru... if I'm wrong - what was I thinking.

Blame it on the turkey!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Post-season preview

Well, the regular season is over - so it's time to take a look at the post-season.

Some interesting games abound, we'll be live from Apopka. One big story came earlier this week when Parkway was bounced from the playoffs. The FHSAA vacated the bracket and ruled Parkway used an ineligible player. Parkway - of course - can appeal, but it's not likely the decision will be reversed.

I took the time to make some picks for the first round. Some are based on my 'loyalties' (Sandalwood) and some are based on a gut feeling.

Orange Park
Winter Park
Treasure Coast
Vero Beach
Deerfield Beach
Carol City
South Dade

Fleming Island
Tampa Bay Tech
West Boca
South Broward
St. Thomas Aquinas

Pine Forest
Lake Weir
Lake Gibson
Cape Coral
New Smyrna
Palm Bay
PB Lakes

St. Augustine
North Marion
Winter Haven
S. Fort Myers
Merritt Island
Miami Jackson

Madison Co.
American Heritage
Glades Central

Florida Hi
Taylor Co.
Trinity Catholic
Island Coast
Tampa Catholic
North Broward Prep

Liberty Co.
Trinity Christian
Dixie Co.
Fort Meade
American Heritage

Warner Christian
Florida Air
Jupiter Christian
Glades Day

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rivalry Week - and then some

It's rivalry week. The end of the high school football regular season.

For several hundred teams, it's time to put the pads away after tonight. For a select group (96 to be exact) the season goes on next week. I know, I know - there are some bowl games - but for all pratical purposes, the season ends this week.

Some teams have something to prove. Maybe a shot a redemption or a shot at breaking a long-standing losing streak.

Others are hopeful that they can keep players healthy for the playoff run next week.

We'll take a look at four big rivalry games and discuss amongst yourselves...

LAKELAND VS. KATHLEEN - Wow what a game this would have been. Lakeland is 9-0 and Kathleen is 3-6 - on paper. The Red Devils are 9-0 on the field and feel that this is their one shot at redemption. A chance to tell the world - see, we belong!

Expect a standing-room only crowd for this one and the fireworks will be both on the field and after the game. Lakeland has dominated this series of late - and I don't see it changing. Emotions only carry you so far.

SEABREEZE VS. MAINLAND The Buccaneers are due for a mental letdown after a battle with Deland last week. Seabreeze is also heading to the post-season. Last year this was a great game between two playoff teams and the same is expected this year. I see Seabreeze edging out the Buccaneers.

MIAMI CENTRAL VS. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON Booker T. has a chance to run the trifecta, beating Jackson, Northwestern and Central all in the same season. Central, heading for the 6A post-season, wants to keep players healthy and take their shot at Northwestern in three weeks... however, the Rockets have too much firepower and there will be no undefeated teams in the Liberty City/Overtown area after Saturday night.

FORT MEADE AT FROSTPROOF - how about a little small-school love... just down the road from Lakeland/Kathleen, this orange grove rivalry is one to write home to momma about - unless she's cheering for the other team. Usually, this game features two playoff-bound opponents, but Frostproof was eliminated Monday in a three-way shootout. Jamelle Cornelius (head coach of Fort Meade) played in this game four times and is overly familiar with the rivalry. Frostproof gets a shot of redemption and stumps the Miners perfect season with a win at Farris Brannen Stadium.

TAMPA CATHOLIC AT TAMPA JESUIT This is where we are this Friday night. The two parochial schools in Tampa go head-to-head. Both teams are playoff bound, but the rivalry remains the same. Everything is on the line for this one, except a state title. I look for Catholic to pull out the win, but watch out for the Tigers... we'll be live at the Beef 'O' Brady's on N. Himes just down the road from Jesuit - so stop by and say 'hello'...

LAKE CITY-COLUMBIA VS. LIVE OAK SUWANNEE The 'Old Oaken Bucket' is on the line in this classic rivalry that dates back to 1912... If Columbia hadn't joined the Gateway Conference in the 70's, This would be the state's oldest, continuous Rivalry. Suwannee is playing for pride - nothing else. Columbia has a date with the post-season but don't think Craig Howard and the Tigers are going to overlook the 'Dogs. Columbia takes the Oaken Bucket.

PAHOKEE VS. GLADES CENTRAL Last year this game had to be moved to a Saturday during the day, and I think that's a great idea. It gives people around the Muck and the rest of Palm Beach County a chance to come see one of the all-time great border wars. Twelve miles separate these two communities and it could arguably be said that 'Titletown' is no longer Valdosta or Green Bay, but the Muck. Between Glades Day (6 titles) Glades Central (5) and Pahokee (5)... there's more hardware in these two towns than anywhere else in Florida. If only these two were undefeated... that's all that's missing. Pahokee takes the Muck Bowl this year...

Other big games to watch out for this week include:

COCOA AT BOLLES Two state champions collide in what could have been a playoff preview if Bolles had not dropped to 2B. Cocoa dropped from 3A to 2A and has a perfect 9-0 record. Bolles dropped from 2A to 2B and also is 9-0. Someone's got to lose this game... swami says - Bolles goes down.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS AT CYPRESS BAY - Oh what could have been. If the Lightning and Raiders had played last year, that would have been a battle. This game is more about the two coaching personalities. Mark Guandolo wanted a shot at St. Thomas when he was at Chaminade... but this Lightning team isn't last year's and St. Thomas Aquinas is on a mission. This one could get ugly in a hurry

Friday, November 6, 2009

Playoff Blog - part II - 2A-1B

As we get ready to tee it up for high school football tonight, we continue to look at the playoff races in the smaller classifications.

One of the bigger games this weekend is an interesting 2A match up between Raines and Ribault in Jacksonville. The Northwest Classic is usually played at the Gator Bowl - but hasn't been there in several years since the inception of the Jaguars. Maybe it's because the Raines/Ribualt game might draw a bigger crowd.

Raines has won this game for the last seven years and Ribault coach Anthony Flynn wants the trophy to be moved to Ribault. This is a Saturday tilt - so if you're not doing anything on in the Jacksonville area - check this game out. Winner is the district champ, loser is the runner-up.

3-1A - Providence needs a win over defending 1A champ North Florida Christian to make it to the post-season. Eagles need a win to stay alive in defending their crown. This one's for all the marbles as Trinity Christian (Jax) has clinched the district crown. Can Clint Trickett and company get that much-wanted rematch with Trinity? They've got to get by the Stallions first.

Bishop Moore defeated Jones last night - so Bishop Moore is in as district champ and Frostproof is the runner-up.


In 1-2A, Godby will take on Rickards. If the Cougars win, they're district champs... if not - there is a 3-way shootout for the title with Madison County.

Cocoa takes on Rockledge in the Bar-b-que Bowl with a playoff berth on the line. Roc
kledge must win to force a possible three-way tie with Astronaut. Otherwise, Cocoa is the district champ and Astronaut is the runner-up.

The state's oldest rivalry, Desoto and Hardee will match up for the title in 6-2A. The winner is the champ and the loser is the runner-up. Waiting in the wings for the loser is Robinson while the winner gets the winner of St. Pete Cathlolic/Tampa Jesuit.

Cardinal Gibbons takes on American Heritage Plantation in the battle for 8-2A. Winner is the district champ, loser is the runner-up.

Glades Central needs to beat Suncoast to win the district 7-2A, but that's a forgone conclusion.

In 2B, it looks like this:

1-2B - winner of the Pensacola Catholic/Chipley game is the champion. If Chipley loses, it's a three-way tie for second between Marianna, Chipley and Walton. Pensacola Catholic is in regardless.

2-2B - Taylor County wins the district with a victory over the Baby Noles from Florida High. If Florida High wins, then the 'Noles are the champs and Taylor Co. is the runner-up. Florida High holds the tie-breaker over Fort White in head-to-head.

3-2B - Bolles is in - Episcopal/West Nassau winner is the runner-up.

4-2B - Trinity Catholic wins the district with a victory over Mount Dora. A Hurricane win could create a three-way tie with Newberry (provided the Panthers win over Williston). A Williston win and a TC win creates a three-way tie for second with Newberry and Mount Dora.

5-2B - Tampa Catholic is the district champ - Lake Highland Prep is the runner-up.

6-2B - Winner of the Dunbar/Clewiston game is the district champ - loser falls into a three-way tie with Island Coast, provided the Gators knock off Labelle. If not, the loser is the runner-up.

7-2B - The standings show Pahokee at undefeated in the district, but there's speculation the Blue Devils may have to forfeit a district game. With that said, Pahokee needs to beat University to clinch the district championship. A loss to University puts Pahokee on the outside looking in and puts North Broward Prep as the district champ.

8-2B - Chaminade Madonna Prep is back on top and Gulliver Prep is battling Monsignor Pace for the runner-up spot. Should be a key game to watch from Opa-Locka.

Class 1A

1-1A - Freeport has won the district and South Walton is the runner-up.

2-1A - As it seems to always do - it comes down to the battle for the Apalachicola River. Blountstown and Liberty County go at it and if Blountstown can win, they're the district champ and Port St. Joe is the runner-up. If Liberty County wins, it's a three-way tie - provided Port St. Joe wins over rival Wewa...

4-1A - Melbourne Central Catholic is in - Crescent City is in with a win over John Carroll. If John Carroll wins, it's a possible three-way tie with Holy Trinity.

5-1A - Dixie County is the Champ and Wildwood needs a win over The Villages to claim the runner-up spot. If the Buffalo pull the upset and Hilliard beats Chiefland, it's a three-way tie.

6-1A - The Battlin' Miners of Fort Meade roll into Clearwater to take on the Central Catholic Maurauders. Should be a great game with Fort Meade clinching the district with a win. A CCC win, along with a Berkeley Prep win over Indian Rocks Christian creates a three-way tie for second. If Fort Meade and Berkeley Prep win, Fort Meade's the champ and Berkeley Prep is the runner-up.

7-1A - Calvary Christian takes on American Heritage-Delray for the title...loser is the runner-up.

8-1A - Parkway is the champ - Westminster Christian can gain the runner-up bid with a win over the Dolphins of Marathon. A Marathon win and a win by Dade Christian over Archbishop Curley creates a three-way tie.

Class 1B

1-1B - Jefferson County is the champ, and FAMU High needs a win over winless Rocky Bayou to clinch the runner-up spot.

2-1B - Hawthorne takes on Arlington Country Day for the district crown. If ACD wins, then it's a possible three-way tie with Lafayette, if Lafayette wins over St. John's Country Day.

3-1B - Warner Christian takes on Florida Air for the championship. Winner is the district champ, loser is the runner-up.

4-1B - Pine Castle is the champ and Agape Christian is the runner-up.

5-1B - Victory Christian is the champ, Admiral Farragut is the runner-up.

6-1B - Out-of-Door (Sarasota) is the champ, Evangelical Christian (Fort Myers) is the runner-up.

7-1B - Jupiter Christian is the champ, Glades Day is the runner-up.

8-1B - Macarthur North is the champ, Sheridan Hills Christian is the runner-up.

Don't forget to call in your scores tonight from 10 PM to midnight - 1-888-407-2673

Here are the scores from last night's action:

Fort Lauderdale Stranahan 46, Monarch 16
Fort Walton Beach 23, Mosley 6
Gainesville Buchholz 35, Middleburg 35
Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 42, Doral Academy 0
Melbourne Central Catholic 50, Heritage 10
Miami High 44, Coral Park 7
Miami Carol City 14, American 0
Miami Columbus 60, Ronald Reagan 0
Miami Dr. Krop 23, North Miami 10
Miami Northwestern 61, Miami Beach 0
Miami Palmer Trinity 42, Posnack 8
Miami Southridge 31, Coral Reef 14
Miami Sunset 35, Braddock 21
North Miami Beach 38, Goleman 8
Orlando Bishop Moore 23, Orlando Jones 0
Ormond Beach Calvary Christian 42, Lighthouse Christian 6
Palm Beach Gardens 29, Port St. Lucie West Centennial 21
Southwest Miami 46, Hialeah Gardens 21
St. Augustine St. Joseph 62, Florida School for the Deaf 6
Sunshine Ranches Archbishop McCarthy 42, Hallandale 6

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Morning Coffee - on Thursday

The chill in the air makes the coffee taste better this morning. It's November and you can feel the football post-season in the air.

This Friday night we're at Daytona for the big game - Deland vs. Mainland. Is there anyone who plays a tougher schedule than Mainland? I don't think so.

Other big games around the state include NFC and Providence. If the Eagles are going to defend their 1A title, they've got to make the post-season. Trinity Christian wrapped up the district with a win over Providence Friday night.

Here's a look at some key games this weekend:

Desoto travels to Hardee - This is the state's oldest continuous rivalry and well worth the price of admission as the Dogs (Arcadia) take on the 'Cats (Hardee)... should be a great matchup with a district crown awaiting the winner.

Lake Gibson at Kathleen - Ok, so this one lost a little luster when Kathleen had to forfeit six games - and is appealing to the FHSAA (good luck with that)... but the Red Devils can salvage a chance to claim 'Lakeland City Champs' with a win over the Braves and then a win over the 'Naughts next week. Lake Gibson is 6-1 and ready to win the district title outright with a victory.

Fletcher at First Coast - Marty Lee told me his team was young, but the Buccaneers have a chance to win a district championship in 5A after three straight in 4A. Fletcher has a penchant for playing an easy schedule and this could come back to haunt the Senators - as First Coast has faced some very tough competition... Don't be deceived by the 26-3 loss to Andrew Jackson - Lee held out some starters from that game to save them for Middleburg and Fletcher. That being said, Jackson may be the best team in Jacksonville (public school - anyway).

Other games to watch:

Cypress Bay vs. Everglades - This one is a key game - point blank - for the playoffs. Winner is district champ, loser is runner up.

Gainesville vs. Lake Weir - This one is the game in North Central Florida. 16-2 is the record between these two teams.

Cape Coral vs. Ida Baker - Baker is five years old and playing for a district championship. Cape Coral is 8-0, Baker is 7-1... great game for Southwest Florida.

Bishop Kenny vs. Jackson - The Crusaders are 7-1 and Jackson is 8-0. Experience in big games goes to the Tigers - who have a stellar defense.

Nease vs. Clay - The Nease Panthers are getting healthy at the right time. Good news for Nease and bad news for Clay. The Blue Devils can win the district with a victory - otherwise, it could be a three-way tie between these two and Bartram Trail.

Hernando vs. Nature Coast - we all remember what happened after this game last year. The Sharks blew past the Leapords 34-3 and then had to vacate their district crown after a dispute on the field with South Lake. Now Nature Coast is trying to stay alive in the playoff race. A win by the Sharks creates a possible three-way tie with Crystal River. A loss gives Hernando the runner-up spot behind Dunnellon.

Land 'O Lakes vs. Mitchell - winner is district runner-up behind Pasco.

Lakewood vs. Spoto not bad for the four year school Spoto. A win puts them in the playoffs as the runner-up to Jefferson. A loss puts Lakewood in.

Southeast vs. Bayshore The 'Noles need a win to clinch the district. Bayshore needs a win to force a possible three-way tie with Braden River (provided the Pirates win over Lemon Bay).

Barron Collier vs. Lely - Experts agree this one kinda shocks us. The fact is - Naples is out of playoff contention. Well, here it is... If Lehigh wins over
Cypress Lake, AND Lely beats Barron Collier, Lehigh is champ and Lely is runner-up. If Barron Collier and Lehigh win, BC is the district champ and Lehigh is the runner-up. Unless... if Cypress Lake beats Lehigh, and Lely beats Barron Collier, then there's a three-way tie for second between Lehigh, Barron Collier and Naples. Confused yet?

We'll take a look at the smaller classes tomorrow... anyone have more coffee?