Withdrawal is already setting in . . .
Okay, maybe about Thursday after I’ve caught up on my beauty sleep.
First, for those of you who read the STA-PV article and are wondering about the Hearns-Hagler reference:
The best 8+ minutes of action you will ever see . . . but STA-PV and STA-Benj OT was pretty close
The season can be summed up as The Best of Times and The Worst of Times
SA’s regular season . . the best
SA’s playoff . . . the worst
STA and PV undefeated until their matchup . . . the best
Someone having to lose that game . . .the worst
Bartram Trail playing Cinderella . . . the best
Vero hearing the clock strike midnight . . . the worst
The regular season games I wrote about . . . mostly the worst . . . very few games coming down to the last shot
But, without a doubt the best playoff season I’ve witnessed . . . THE BEST
Bobby Kilian with a minute to go
Kevin Crowley in OT
Alexis Marcionette with probably the most clutch goal I’ve ever seen in a Girls’ game
Joey Guglielmo ended the best playoff game in state history
Brennan Harhart coming out of nowhere
If you missed the weekend in Jupiter . . . DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE NEXT YEAR.
By the way, my annual rant . . .
The Palm Beach Post, God bless their soul.
A week before the event it was profiled in the paper as an upcoming event . . . by the Business Section
Here’s a link to the entire Palm Beach Post staff:
Here’s a little secret I found . . . no one actually has the title of Sports Editor!
But there is this!
Anyone have the slightest clue what a Moving Up Columnist reports on?
There are some Sports Writers as you will note.
One of the High School beat writers, even if he isn’t listed as such on this list, is Adam Lichtenstein.
He did chime in with his coverage on Saturday this way:
I assume that was his girlfriend, or whatever, that gave him the ‘Like’
But let’s not get too upset with Mr. Lichtenstein . . .
After all, while the St. Thomas – Ponte Vedra final was going on just 15 minutes from the PB Post’s headquarters he was quite possibly assigned to another sporting event in the area . . .
Or maybe not.
Yes, lacrosse fans. Either his boss or Adam himself, decided that instead of covering the FHSAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS at Jupiter High School, which I do believe still resides in Palm Beach County, Adam was tweeting about the White House Correspondents Dinner.
I guess the Equestrian Columnist wasn’t available to fill in for Adam that night. After all, the final was quite the horse race.
And one more interesting tidbit about the priorities of the PB Post . . .
There was an article announcing the resignation of Jupiter AD Mike DeLeonardo so he could take a teaching position in the AICE program at the school. The article appeared Friday.
I spent more time with Mike on Friday and Saturday than any other one person, including Wells.
Hey Adam and Jodie . . . Mike loved the weekend of lacrosse.
Might have found a way to weave that one in.
Okay, got that out of my system for at least 285 days, until their continued lack of respect for the fastest game on two feet needs to be torn a new one.
You would think a paper of their, shall I say editorial approach, might be a little more appreciative of the Native American connections?
Or was the appearance of the Vero Beach INDIANS too sensitive to cover? Or a team of Raiders . . . too much pillaging? Highlanders? Too Eurocentric? Sharks? Too Predatory? Bears? Bucs? Maybe next year there will be a team named the Solar Bears? The Green Wave? The Saint Andrew’s High Marginal Tax Rates?
Actually the Solar Bears do exist!
Coach Spaulding and AD Prendergast . . . why not? Do it for the children!
Okay, back to the action.
Let’s take a look back at the Preseason Top 20!
Because I’m a masochist at times . . .
#1A – Lake Highland – the defending champs get this automatically to me but this will change at some point because their schedule will give them some losses along the way – Right idea
#1B – Saint Andrew’s – since I pick them to win it all – Pretty sharp until the playoffs
#3 – St. Thomas Aquinas – there’s great high-end talent coming back but the depth and the realignment keeps them out of the Final Four – hmmm, got that last part wrong
#4 – Benjamin – IF they solve the defensive side of the ball (that sounds a lot like last year) – they really did and this was the right spot in the end
#5 – Lake Mary – loses a little too much to be ranked higher, at least they can earn it on the field – not very good, a key early injury hurt big
#6 – Ponte Vedra – I need to see if last year was just a one year thing – it was, a great recovery
#7 – Vero Beach – another great season that likely ends with the brutal first round match-up – big time thud on my part
#8 – Newsome – I have to overlook the schedule weakness, it’s not their fault – it was mine for putting them this high
#9 – Oxbridge Academy – the regular season needs to be special – the ENTIRE season was special
#10 – Maclay – I don’t think last year’s defensive soundness goes away, even though they lose two top talents – not a bad call and about right
#11 – Seminole – It’s almost amazing how good a year they had with no one noticing – I’ll pretend no one saw this
#12 – Stoneman Douglas – they are not going away anytime soon, will be a force for the future – pretty much on target
#13 – Gulliver Prep – also ready to take the next step – except they had STA in the way
#14 – Barron Collier – they know how to win and how to get ready for the top games – they got far but didn’t really beat anyone
#15 – Oak Hall – my northern friends have me convinced they are ready for a great year – until the last couple of weeks, did win district
#16 – Pine Crest – Coach Harris just quietly gets the most out of his kids – they never really put it together this year
#17 – Buchholz – raised the schedule enough to really know where they are as a program. If you are in their area go see Finn Swanson before it’s too late – nice season but lost district again
#18 – Jupiter – too many losses and Viper will need to play lights out every game – He did, and so did they . . . and they surprised
#19 – Lake Brantley – can Jake Bernhardt turn it around in year 2 and get the program back to recent glory? – Certainly took a big step
#20 – Belen Jesuit – maybe a year early for this but potentially the Buchholz of 2016 – got this one exactly right
Tampa Jesuit, Columbus Catholic, Saint John Paul II, Cardinal Mooney, Jensen Beach, Bolles, Bishop Moore, Oviedo, Dr. Phillips, Berkeley Prep, Steinbrenner
Note the big miss? HB Plant. Really good this year. Also Creekside and Nease. Melbourne Central Catholic. Jensen Beach. Probably give myself a “B” grade this year.
We’ll just skip the Final Four predictions . . .misplaced them somewhere . . .
And now for a commercial break . . .
My remaining fans have my back on those Final Four predictions:
I could have sworn they were on my side.
So many memories, as usual.
So many great people to meet.
So many who appreciate what we do here.
Our first effort at promoting a major event with the Lacrosse News Network Florida Classic
Seeing my Statesmen take the Big Red down to the wire
And two high school games that turned out to be harbingers of things to come.
I have the pleasure of being able to do this writing for all of you and so many of you respond in a way that, as Clint Eastwood might say, Makes My Day.
We at FLN have really carved out a unique niche and when I show up at a game and parents thank us it makes the time spent all that more special.
And we are on our way to once again increasing out readership year over year and we thank all of you for continuing to tune in. Brian has mastered the new podcast formula and we should be able to expand on that, and hopefully Wells can join in now that he has settled in at his new position and we can really produce some exciting online listening!
But before I get to the Final Four it’s time for some fun.
My Favorite SNL Commercial of All Time
The most Under-appreciated Rock Group of All
Jack Nicholson at his best
When you put in 40 hours a week as a hobby you do get to take a couple of liberties here and there . . .
But Now It’s Time . . .
The Final Media Poll Top 20 of 2016
#1 – St. Thomas Aquinas – ran the table and this team never let themselves stop believing
#2 – Ponte Vedra – what a great year and they finally get over the LHP hump
#3A – Saint Andrew’s – it’s a tie for third as each team won once
#3B – Oxbridge – probably still thinking what could have been, one OT goal short of maybe winning the whole thing
#5 – Lake Highland Prep – barely gets the nod over Benjamin due to the head to head but that would have been a heck of a final too if they both got there
#6 – Benjamin – only the STA juggernaut kept them from the winner’s circle
#7 – HB Plant – getting to the Final 8 gets them the nod over Jupiter
#8 – Jupiter – Danny Loftus and staff can really coach
#9 – Maclay – disappointing way to end the season
#10 – Lake Brantley – nice to see the program again taking flight
#11 – Gulliver Prep – really nice team that couldn’t solve STA . . . not like anyone else did either
#12 – Stoneman Douglas – big road win over Gulliver and were willing to run with STA in the playoffs
#13 – Nease – snuck up on me this year
#14 – Jensen Beach – finished strongly but Benjamin was way too much for them
#15 – Belen Jesuit – every time someone wondered they responded.
#16 – Creekside – some nice wins
#17 – Lake Mary – never really got it going but some really quality losses, played a tough schedule
#18 – #20 – Oak Hall, Buchholz, Dr. Phillips and Newsome – frankly there’s no real difference between these four
Pine Crest, Barron Collier, Vero Beach, Melbourne Central Catholic
Well, that’s it for now.
Time to get to the colleges and MLL . . .
But we’ll be finding ways to look at the high school scene in other ways too!
A congratulation to Raider Nation and the Bears of Bartram Trail!