FRIDAY FOCUS: Playoff Football Has Finally Arrived

Larry Blustein
November 09, 2018 - 10:25 am

Larry Blustein

Last year, as a No. 1 seed, Miramar went into the playoffs against No. 8 Park Vista and lost.

A week after handing St. Thomas Aquinas one of its worst home losses in decades, the Patriots waltzed into the opening round of the Florida high school football playoffs feeling pretty good.

What happened to head coach A.J. Scott and his football team is they got caught up  in something that many teams go through. They believed that with a convincing win over St. Thomas and a top 8A seed in the region,  all they had to do was show up.

When the Patriots dropped that opening round game, it surprised a lot of people who never saw that coming. While many had suddenly made the Patriots a heavy favorite to reach the state title game, they forget that even though were playing at a high level, the playoffs were much different.

While many programs seem to think they can just maintain that winning edge, they are met with the reality that the playoffs have teams - just like the one you have - that made it into the post season because they can play the game, and anything can happen.

As we started things off last night with two games, things will really come into focus today - when the rest of the teams will head into the first round with the belief that they have a real shot at making it to Orlando Dec. 6-8 for the state championships.

DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS GET SET

As we began play this week, there were 4 state champions who were still in a position to repeat.

With defending 2A state champion Champagnat Catholic coming up with a 20-19 win over Miami Christian, the Lions will now travel to Moore Haven for a second round game next Friday.

Last year, Champagnat, on the way to a state crown, beat then undefeated Moore Haven, 46-0. 

As defending 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna has the first week off, two-time defending 5A state champs Plantation American Heritage will be on the road at Fort Pierce Westwood. Coach Pat Surtain’s team lost to Carol City, but was later awarded the win because the Chiefs used ineligible players. They also lost a rare district title to Cardinal Gibbons.

In 6A, Northwestern defends its crown on the road at Daytona Beach Mainland. The Bulls are still very talented and are anxious to make a run as well.

TAKING A LOOK AT THURSDAY NIGHT

2A

No. 4 Champagnat Catholic 20, Miami Christian 19.

8A

No. 5 Palmetto 45, Belen Jesuit 7, Senior Cairiq Rackley threw for 236 yards on 13-of-19 passing and three touchdowns, Jason Marshall returned a punt 47 yards for a score.

In addition, freshman Mike Jackson scored from 75 yards out for the Panthers (10-1) who will now prepare for the winner of Christopher Columbus and Coral Gables.

Here is a look at first round games:

8A-Region 3

No. 8 Miramar (6-4) at No. 1 Deerfield Beach (9-1), 7:30

No. 5 Piper (6-4) at No. 4 Plantation (9-1), 7:30

No. 7 Western (8-2) at No. 2 Delray Atlantic (10-0), 7:30 

8A Region 4

No. 8 Coral Gables (6-4) at No. 1 Christopher Columbus (10-0), Tropical, 7:30 

No. 7 North Miami (6-4) at No. 2 Southridge (8-2), 7:30

No. 6 South Dade (8-2) at No. 3 Hialeah (9-1), Milander, 7:30 

7A

No. 5 Fort Lauderdale (8-2) at No. 4 Doral Academy (8-2), 7:30

No. 6 Palm Beach Lakes (7-3) at No. 3 McArthur (9-1), 7:30

No. 8 South Miami (8-2) at St. No. 1 Thomas Aquinas (9-1), 7:30

No. 7 West Broward (7-3) at No. 2 Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (9-1), 7:30

6A

No. 5 Central (8-2) at No. 4 Fort Lauderdale Dillard (8-2), 7:30

No. 8 Norland (4-6) at No. 1 Carol City (8-2), Traz Powell Stadium, Friday, 7:30

No. 6 Northwestern (5-5) at No. 3 Daytona Beach Mainland (7-3) 

5A

No. 5 American Heritage Plantation (9-1) at No. 4 Fort Pierce Westwood (7-3), 7:30

No. 8 Coconut Creek (6-4) at No. 1 Rockledge (9-1), 7:30.

No. 7 Merritt Island (5-5) at No. 2 Cardinal Gibbons (8-2), 7:30

4A

No. 6 Coral Springs Charter (8-2) at No. 3 Belle Glade Glades Central (7-3), 7:30

Gulliver Prep (7-3) at Miami Monsignor Pace (5-5), 7:30

3A

No. 6 Calvary Christian (5-5) at No. 3 Delray American Heritage (7-3), 7:30

No. 5 Miami Palmer Trinity (8-2) at No. 4 Miami Westminster Christian (9-1), 3:30

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