We transition to a new sponsor for the FLN Polls this season! Prospects Lacrosse Inc. is sponsoring a new event for Florida school teams on an invitational basis as a showcase for college coaches to attend. The Florida event is scheduled for May 23rd-24th in Vero Beach. There actually is going to also be an Upstate NY version of the event in July at a college that I am very familiar with . . . which might necessitate TWO trips this year to that town, as it is my FORTIETH college reunion this year . . . Oh Lord.
Gentlemen, start your engines!!!
Hmm, a Florida kid managed to make it into this one . . . TWICE. And Joe Seider’s goal viewed from behind is the best advertisement for the sport I know of.
Wow, what a bunch of changes to cope with this season! Except one. Ponte Vedra is still the team to beat, in either class.
The lacrosse world in the state will never be the same. Hopefully this will lead to more schools a) taking up the sport and b) appearing in the state playoffs. There are rumors flying around about new formats and potentially increasing the number of teams chosen for the brackets like in other sports but all of this is speculative at this point.
For now it’s simply 2 classes, basically divided by size, 16 districts in each, and two playoff wins gets you into the Final Four. And it is the same for both Boys and Girls. Just like before, win the District and cash your playoff ticket. But in some instances that has gotten a lot harder and in a few, a lot easier.
Unfortunately, because of the split I have to say good bye to my favorite 7-letter acronym . . . TBDDFIF. The Best Damn District Final In Florida, period, is no longer, as Jupiter and Benjamin are now separated by class. The regular season still gets played but I selfishly longed for a rematch every year too. Plenty of reversals in the past.
Here’s a PDF of the District Assignments by Class, Region and District: 2020 FHSAA District Assignments
Feel free to come up with your own bracket predictions.
There will certainly be some new names, at least in the 1st round, and probably in the Final Fours too! But on paper, the Sweet 16 of last season, where 5 of the 8 games were one-goal nailbiters, is not likely to be replicated. There might be some mediocre semifinal games too. Trade-offs are inherent in life and we’ll get the lacrosse version of that this year.
Another unintended consequence is that sources have said NO HIGH SCHOOL bid to host the championships this year. That might or might not be a bad thing. Right now the Final Fours are set for two days only, May 8th-May 9th, at Austin-Tindall Park in Kissimmee. Centrally located in the state so attendance should not fall. We did about 2,600 again last year in Boca. Double the number of games this year while going from 12 to 24 teams participating in total and there’s no excuse for not increasing attendance.
What is a bit scary is the thought of the logistics of 12 games in 2 days. Does this mean semifinal games are being shunted to other fields? At a non-seating field? That would be a shame, never mind a nightmare for someone like me to cover. It would also kind of cheapen the feeling of the special atmosphere you feel for each game where fans can stay and watch games besides those their kids play in. And what about rain? Kissimmee in May is not sun-drenched at all times. We started Thursday the last 2 years due to the issue of also hosting Flag Football (that experiment seems buried for the time being) games. Lot’s of variables that could make this a problem. The first year at IMG was a nightmare with the weather and we finished Sunday afternoon with ONLY one class and 6 games.
When you look at the district pairings a few things will jump out, good and bad.
District 13. Saint Andrew’s, Oxbridge, King’s Academy, Saint John Paul II. King’s hosting districts. Four of the Top 20 Class 1A schools in ONE DISTRICT.
District 5 – Bishop Moore and Lake Highland together.
District 8 – Benjamin and St. Edward’s
District 9 – Berkeley Prep and Tampa Jesuit still together, although HB Plant is now Class 2A. Matter of fact, I can make the case that Plant and Newsome are the big winners in 2A on paper.
District 11 with Cardinal Mooney, Canterbury and ODA.
District 14 – AH-Plantation, Calvary Christian and Pine Crest
But then, look at District 10 in 1A:
Jefferson, Northside Christian, Robinson, St. Petersburg Catholic and St. Stephens.
159 / 129 / 122 / 164 / 89
That’s the MaxPreps final power rankings, out of about 200.
Okay FHSAA, here’s your petri dish . . . if the classes are set to encourage interest in the sport let’s see it here. Because one of them is one of your Final 16 playoff teams while a number of top teams will be sitting home. Should be plenty of incentive to get better.
As you look down the article, you’ll see a total of 22 teams in my Top 15 plus ‘Also Considered’s’, and only 12 of the 22 can make the Playoffs in Class 1A.
Better get at-large berths going fairly quickly, like 2021 at the latest . . .
On the Girls side we did dodge a potential bullet. What if Lake Highland Prep and American Heritage-Delray had been split by class? They were two of the TOP TEN TEAMS in the final NATIONAL POLLS for High School Girls! Thank God we didn’t have that scenario this year as that will be EPIC this year as AH-Delray looks to gain revenge for last year’s semifinal loss.
Oh, and fans of the sport, make sure you catch Caitlyn Wurzburger this year while you can. We’ve been spoiled down here for 4 years now. You don’t get to see the all-time leading point scorer come around too often in a lifetime. And while you’re at it, check out LHP’s Regan Alexander, a goalie you might one day be seeing donning the Red, White and Blue of the U.S. National Team; she’s that good.
We are blessed this year in the state!
I have to apologize for missing an article back in early January while on hiatus, about the Florida team compromising of AH-Delray winning the National Indoor Championships, and here is the LINK to the article. Florida lacrosse continues to make leaps and bounds on the national scene, as our list of 75 Florida-raised kids making D1 Men’s programs proves.
UGGH . . .
One ugly snafu that cropped up a little time back was the ruling of the popular Cascade Girl’s headgear being ruled non-compliant to the current regulations. This makes the FHSAA’s decision to mandate that headgear CLEARLY premature. If it was good enough for the past 5 years how isn’t it today? New standards DO NOT excuse the rush to judgement that the Board of Directors in Gainesville shoved down everyone’s throats.
And if you are paying attention out in Denver, I’m STILL WAITING for SOMEONE to get back to me with statistics on whether concussion rates for Florida Girl’s players have decreased or not. If they haven’t you owe the families who had to pay for this an apology.
Still waiting . . .
Last year I highlighted a player I wanted to watch all season, Jack Kilian of Oxbridge, as an exemplar of how the game should be played. Jack has gone on to Providence, and in my area I want to focus this year on SA’s LSM Louie Adams. What made that decision easy for me was his second-round playoff game against St. Thomas, where he led the Scots all the way back to a 4th quarter lead from a big first half deficit, until the effort in the comeback finally took it’s toll in a one-goal loss.
Those in attendance that night saw a jack of all trades performance, on defense, on the clears and even at the faceoff dot, where he managed to battle STA’s FOGO-savant Jared Chenoy to nearly a standstill during the comeback, which was pretty much impossible most of the year (there’s a highly regarded 2-time AA Cornell freshman FOGO from Massapequa that might agree with that viewpoint). His influence on that game extended well beyond what the stat sheets showed so congrats Louie, you are this year’s favorite son! And based on past years. it’s not a Madden jinx!
Readers, feel free to send me your submissions on players in your area I need to pay more attention to! And remember that function called Report Media Coverage on the home page to let us know when players are getting media coverage in your area.
Long-time readers know that I am very impressed when a team takes on a tough schedule. Let’s see how many of you can easily guess whose schedule this is:
2/18 7:00p American Heritage (Delray Beach, FL)
2/21 7:00p Benjamin
2/25 7:00p Suncoast
2/28 7:00p Jupiter Christian
3/3 7:00p @ American Heritage (Plantation, FL)
3/6 7:00p Oxbridge Academy
3/10 7:30p @ St. John Paul II Academy
3/13 7:00p @ Boca Raton (Boca Raton, FL)
3/17 7:00p Bishop Moore (Orlando, FL)
3/19 7:00p Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach, FL)
3/20 TBA @ IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
3/23 TBA Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL)
3/23 4:00p @ Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota, FL)
3/31 7:00p @ Jupiter (Jupiter, FL)
4/2 7:00p @ Saint Andrew’s (Boca Raton, FL)
4/7 7:00p Belen Jesuit (Miami, FL)
They also tried to schedule Ponte Vedra & STA but couldn’t make the schedule work.
This is the schedule for King’s Academy, as they look to challenge themselves and get into the discussion for top programs. Coach Jacob Webb has really gotten them going and I am giving them credit for this right off the bat, as you will see in the Poll. Whether they can stay there is up to them, but this is the way you get serious about your program!
There are going to be some surprises this year, maybe more so than in any other past year. THAT is fun.
Okay, just like last year, we have a sponsor in the Boca-area that I encourage all here to try, particularly since it’s my son as co-proprietor!
As all of you know by now this is the only time I pull rank on this site . . .
Well, one other time is when I have the back of the referees, so here’s my first (and trust me, it won’t be my last) reminder to parents, players and coaches. LAY OFF THE REFS.
Parents, never forget this simple thing:
You will ALWAYS see things they can’t see on the field when you sit in the stands. You have the benefit of HEIGHT, NO players running in your line of vision and you are not running up and down the field constantly, which does tend to affect things a tad. Most of you would be gassed 10 minutes into the game if you had to do this.
Your interpretation of push, hold, WARDING-OFF in particular, etc., are not accurate according to the training the refs go through, not as written in the rules book, nor as taught in the annual Lax Con referee sessions. You will be wrong MOST OF THE TIME.
Make it easier on yourself and be glad there are people out there who are doing this for not a lot of money, and certainly underpaid if calculated on an insult-to-dollar ratio, where the average Third-world seamstress makes more money.
Here’s a couple of videos to catch you up on the new NFHS Rules and Interpretations for this year. Burn them into your memory, because the refs you yell at have already done so.
Enjoy The Game, Not The Blame! Or in FLN-speak, #EnjoyTheGameNotTheBlame.
You’ll save a lot of money on TUMS and Maalox too.
Oh, and here’s a FAIR PENALTY to self-impose . . . if you yell at a referee your penance will be to treat a friend or neighbor to another game. No skimping on that one! #TAFTAG! Make the effort this year to introduce friends, work colleagues, etc. to our marvelous sport.
And on the Girls side I found this video which was quite helpful for understanding rules for this year. It is the 2019 Interpretation video since I haven’t yet found the 2020 version, if rules have changed.
Okay, time to get to it!
Musical introduction please!
Hard to believe it’s been almost 30 years since Freddie passed . . . Bohemian Rhapsody the movie was very accurate.
1) Ponte Vedra – is there any reason not to? Loaded with talent and with a schedule that can make national waves
2) Jupiter – made PV sweat in the semifinals and it’s now a re-load, not rebuild program
3) Creekside – Top 10 final ranking last year returns a lot. Unfortunately, they didn’t change district this year.
4) St. Thomas Aquinas – semifinalist last year, will they be able to score enough?
5) Lake Mary – another steady program that returns a lot. The PV playoff game is a first round matchup now, not a second round. But in the past they’ve played PV as well as most.
6) HB Plant – big beneficiary of the changes in the potential path to Kissimmee
7) Lake Brantley – So close to the brackets and a solid season last year – TOUGH district
8) Boca Raton – another beneficiary in that they no longer reside with Saint Andrew’s – former Duke player Calder Alfano has returned to his alma mater and they have some very nice pieces
9) Columbus – they surprised me last year with the tempo they play at, fun to watch and dangerous to play
10) Winter Park – very nice season last year and the brackets set up nicely for them to make a run
11) Newsome – steady program over the years and also has a path that has gotten easier. No LHP/Bishop Moore to contend with.
12) Hagerty – the third head of the Ghidra of their district
13) Riverview-Sarasota – no longer has to deal with Cardinal Mooney, another potential Final Four team if things break their way
14) Gulf Coast – Maryland-bound Trace Davidson leads them, weak schedule last year did not prepare them for the bracket
15) Western – Coach Shanahan has the program on the move, but they are now in STA’s district and there will be a number of freshmen that need to gain their experience.
Also Considered: Fleming Island, Viera, Steinbrenner, Stoneman Douglas, West Broward, Lakeland and Martin County.
1t) Saint Andrew’s – co #1’s to start, on a potential collision course in the semifinals, it will really be earned with their district
1t) Cardinal Mooney – good bye to MJ McMahon and hello to Drew Snyder. Plenty left in the tank here. And no 4-hour bus ride in the playoffs this year if there’s a God.
3) American Heritage-Plantation – this is the year they’ve been pointing to. Gauntlet playoff run is necessary.
4) Bishop Moore – not sure how they’ll react to the coaching change and the loss of talent. Couple of good tests right off the bat.
5t) Benjamin – I’ll be there Friday to see these two . . .
5t) King’s Academy – . . . decide who deserved the #5
7) Lake Highland Prep – for them it’s been a struggle, they seem ready to head back up now.
8) Oxbridge – Lost a LOT from last year, there’s still plenty of talent but they might need some time to gel.
9) Oak Hall – another program that has quietly gone about building and has sent a lot of talent on to the next level. Last year’s finish should motivate.
10) Bolles – Snuck up on a lot of people last year, including me. Played a really good game at AH-Plantation, which I covered.
11) St. Edward’s – They’ve gone from tough first round matchup to tough district final with Benjamin. A win there would mean a shot at the Final Four.
12) Maclay – turned it around last year from the 2018 debacle. Will still need some time to get to the next level.
13) Melbourne Central Catholic – best result to me last year was the Jupiter loss in the bracket. Stepping up the schedule in the second half of the season is a very smart move.
14) Gulliver Prep – made it to the Final 8 last year in what was a bit of a surprise. The normal playoff season game with Belen is pretty much a given this year.
15t) Tampa Jesuit & Berkeley Prep – I can’t tell them apart at times, they’ll settle it on the field. No longer have to deal with Plant in the district either.
Also Considered: Saint John Paul II, Montverde Academy, Belen Jesuit, Pine Crest, Canterbury, Calvary Christian
Note that I put Montverde Academy on that list. It might be too soon but Chris Spaulding is back in town and he didn’t win FOUR FHSAA titles by luck. Chris and Brooks Sweet will make this a high-level program and you can count on it. He’ll probably win the district this year and might face LHP for his first playoff game . . . how interesting is that? As well as the potential future rivalry that gets built.
I will handle the predictions of the Final Fours separately this year, since it will take up more room . . . also, I could double the number of page hits . . . only took me 7 years to figure that one out.