Saturday Morning Musings . . .
We’re not quite done yet with the first round, due to a number of rescheduled games to Saturday. Here’s what’s left of the first round:
Oak Hall hosts South Walton (NFHS ‘broadcast’ . . . )
Belen hosts Calv Christian Ft Laud (not sure if broadcast)
Benjamin hosts Windermere Prep (YouTube broadcast)
SJP hosts AH-Plantation (not sure if broadcast)
Holy Trinity hosts Montverde (Brevard Sports Network Facebook broadcast)
Pensacola Catholic hosts Trinity Catholic (NFHS ‘broadcast’ . . . )
The Girls first round is in the books. In Region 1, we had #5 Pensacola Catholic knocking off #4 Bolles, which was in line with our Bracketology prediction of PC at #4 and Bolles at #6, while the FHSAA had it #4 Bolles/#5 PC. In Region 3, we had another #5 over #4, as St Petersburg Catholic took the one-goal win over Cypress Creek in maybe the best first round game so far.
In Region 3, we had the #2 seed, First Academy, falling to the #7 seed Cypress Creek, in which I believe was the first time a #7 has won in the two years of at-large bids, and that was followed by Benjamin. This was not as big a surprise to us, as we had predicted First Academy to be the #4 seed, not #2. Either way, it’s a great win for CC. In Region 4, the Benjamin resurgence continued, as the #7 Bucs knocked off #2 Saint Andrew’s by an 8-goal margin. Quite the turnaround story for them, after taking down both South Fork and Jensen Beach in the district tourney. And District 13’s two at-large bids fell, as South Fork went down to AH-Plantation, and JB lost to Pine Crest.
On the Boy’s side, we already have three #5’s move on, with Creekside, Bishop Verot and Viera winning their 4/5 matchups. Viera’s is the most interesting to me given they replicated a regular season home win by taking down Windermere on the road. Could we see 2 more, as Montverde looks to duplicate last year’s road win over Holy Trinity, while Trinity Catholic looks to take out Pensacola Catholic?
While we had a number of our usual blowouts in the 1/8 matchups (don’t worry, 5 years from now you’ll see far fewer, and if you are wondering, go look at the New York brackets from recent years and you’ll see blowouts even in the finals and semifinals, so don’t bother whining about whether Team A or B deserved to be playing) but let’s give credit to #8 Seminole Ridge for being competitive with #1 Boca Raton in Girls 2A, Region 4. Laxnumbers had them much higher than FHSAA, and that was certainly a better indication.
I was at the Pine Crest/Oxbridge game last night, a PC 15-10 win, and was dismayed that one parent had to be ejected from the stands for their comments towards the referees. Once again, I have to point out some obvious things:
1) This is high school sports and parents are the adults in the room; they need to control themselves more and remember that kids take their clues from their adult’s behavior.
2) Referees have players running in their line of sight and you will always see something from the stands that can be blocked out on the field, because you have the benefit of elevation. I can’t say that enough apparently.
3) I would say the percentage of fans in the stands who have read the current rule book are probably the same as the percentage of humans who’ve been struck by lightning. What you THINK is a penalty/violation (if I had just ONE PENNY per false ‘ward’ claim I’ve heard, I’d be Elon Musk wealthy) is likely not how the ANNUAL rule interpretation changes read.
4) This is a physical game and there will be a few shots here and there that will slip by the refs. Unlike football (a slightly SMALLER field than lacrosse), there are THREE REFS, not the EIGHT there are in a football game. And throw in that there are replays utilized in football at certain levels to help aid in a correct call. It’s LUDICROUS to think they will catch everything.
5) Those refs have to run far more than your average football referee and a lot of time the biggest critics from the stands have never tried getting certified and seeing what it’s like to officiate this sport. I know of a few parents who have made the transition and they will tell you it’s a huge difference-maker to them when it came to watching a game.
Every broadcast of Morning Coffee on our YouTube channel (hit that SUBSCRIBE button if you haven’t already done so!) has in it #LayOffTheRefs . . . it’s there to keep YOUR sanity just as much as making it a better experience for everyone at the game. Last year, Oxbridge won their first-round game in double OT over SJP, with TWO SJP OT goals being waived off for crease violations. This sport, like so many others, can be capricious, cruel and exhilarating, all at the same time (just ask Eagles fans about a certain holding call). Treat it as the gift from the Creator as it was intended to be and remember to HONOR THE GAME . . . and a chunk of that is accepting the outcome without forgetting this is High School sports, not professional.
The PC-Oxbridge game was an interesting example of how a player can make a difference, not just in what they do themselves, but also in how their presence helps the rest of the team. Oxbridge won the regular season game comfortably, as PC’s Notre Dame commit Jordan Faison was not available to play. Oxbridge jumped out early and Pine Crest never really recovered. Faison played last night and the early game play he produced forced Oxbridge to make defensive adjustments to combat his lateral quickness, and that opened up opportunities that weren’t there in the first game. The PC team played with a lot more energy and confidence too. Oxbridge had chances to narrow the lead in the second half, but every time they chipped away, Faison and his teammates had an answer. It was a hard-fought, intense game where the two teams honored the sport on the field. In other words, the kids taught the fans a lesson; I saw a LOT of hugging and talking among the kids on the field in a congratulatory way. The two head coaches are close (remember they coached together on the Florida Launch staff) and also took time to talk afterwards. They also understand how to Honor the Game.
Pay attention fans.
The college season is also entering the final phase, and there will be plenty of action to catch, as well as seeing how we do at all levels, NCAA, NAIA and MCLA.
The state of Florida is positioned to win multiple national championships; good luck to all!
Grow the Game!
Respect the Game!
Honor the Game!