FLN Final 2017 High School Media Poll (Well, This Writer Anyhow!) – 5/1/17 – A Top 25 This Year!

 

Funny How Time Flies When you’re Having Fun . . .

 

This year in Jupiter my girlfriend and I decided to make the weekend a getaway instead of just driving back and forth.  Thursday night and Friday night at the Fairfield . . . yeah, I really splurged on that one . . . but it really turned out to be a great working weekend.  Unfortunately, Annie’s has closed on Indiantown Road and that was not a good thing.  I’ll miss their dinner to go for all my Jupiter home games.

The Spectrum Sports broadcast crew also stayed at the Fairfield and we all gathered for a great Saturday breakfast gab fest.  Minus one young man who slept in.

This weekend is both a bit exhausting and very exhilarating for me at the same time.  Friday is an all day affair, and even with the narrow time frame between games it was basically 10:30am to 10:00pm, almost all on my feet, to live blog the four games and talk to the coaches.  After the final game it was a quick trip to Hurricane for some tuna tacos and a drink with Wells and of course Marcela had to listen to the two of us decompress by continuing to talk lacrosse until it was time to go.  Maybe decompress is the wrong word.  Try obsess instead?

BSN broadcasts the semifinals for the FHSAA but Spectrum Sports steps in for the finals.  Rishi Baron on play by play for Spectrum for both and Tom Hopkins and John Drehoff on color for the Girls and Boys respectively.  Of course, with Tom you also get Mary so you can see it was a great meal of lacrosse talk!  Rishi is a fan of the sport too so it’s his loss on missing the Saturday breakfast.

The finals didn’t require us to get there until about 3:00pm to get everything set up and get ready.

The Jupiter group that ran the event deserves all the thanks in the world from lacrosse fans and when I get the full list I will publish the names of all the volunteers so we can all tip our caps to them!  Ernie Cox and the rest of the Cox clan led the brigade and it was truly a labor of love.  Mike DeLeonardo might have a new role at the school but kept his old school approach in doing the PA role for ALL 6 games!  And of course swap references that only the two of us would get due to the age differences around us.

I also get that rare opportunity to catch up in person with Alex Ozuna, who oversees the administration of lacrosse in Gainesville for the FHSAA and it’s always good to catch up with him.  There’s nothing earth shattering to report right now up there.  The full ‘headgear’ regulation goes into effect next season for the Girls’ game.  It’s a little early to know which schools are going to make the leap from club to varsity status but I am sure it will happen on both sides of the game.

And last but not least I saw Casey Vock of 3dRising and I made sure to put the bug in his ear after the finals . . . Top 25 Casey!  Top 25!  All STA fans need to become Massapequa fans now.  A Class A New York State title would go a long way to cinching STA that coveted Top 25 national ranking.  Casey does the Top 25 for USA Today so let’s keep the pressure on!

A great weekend all around!

 

Here’s some pictures from the weekend (thanks to Tom Congdon and Ted Swoboda for taking all the pictures for FLN this weekend!)

 

 

 

 

 

A season in review.

 

First, let’s look back at the Preseason Top 20.

 

#1A – St, Thomas Aquinas – I always give the defending champs the top spot until they are beaten.

#1B – Ponte Vedra – because I pick them to win it all

#3 – Oxbridge Academy – last year’s playoff run was no fluke.  Could be the best matchup in the finals to beat PV if it came down to it

#4 – Saint Andrew’s – loses a lot but really learned how to play together last year and that goes a long way

#5 – Lake Highland Prep – I’m really worried this might be too high but the next few weeks will tell me more

#6 – Jupiter – Last season I started them way too low, not making that mistake this year

#7 – Stoneman Douglas – EVERYONE I talked to in the offseason told me they will be really good

#8 – Benjamin – will have to see how they handle the adversity

#9 – Maclay – once again, can you possibly schedule a southern weekend next year so I can really tell?

#10 – HB Plant – lost some key pieces, will have to prove they can stay here.  Schedule is a little light so record should be pretty good.

#11 – Creekside – maybe too high but sneaky good season last year.  3 goal loss to PV was PV’s closest game.  Same district as PV keeps them a little under the radar

#12 – Gulliver Prep – Only losses last year were to teams above them in this poll

#13 – Lake Mary – very competitive last year but just didn’t win the tougher games.  Tough schedule again this year will get them ready

#14 – Nease – same issue as Creekside.  PV’s district will mask how they do

#15 – Belen Jesuit – really nice story from last year.  Will have a really good record again but SA is not on the schedule this season so they need to win all the games they are supposed to

#16 – Oak Hall – got out of district but also couldn’t quite compete with the best teams on the schedule

#17 – Newsome – solid record last year but the schedule is soft so I can’t really do better than this

#18 – Gulf Coast – could be last year’s version of Belen Jesuit . . . ready to step up but the softer schedule keeps them down here

#19 – West Orange – transfers can lead them up

#20 – District 23 – I can’t figure this one out yet but someone will be there.  Yesterday’s results make this tough to think . . . Oxbridge slammed Jensen Beach and Martin County routed Spanish River on the road.  Maybe Martin County earns that first slot.

 

Others:

Saint Edward’s – have to mention them because with that beefed up schedule it will be hard to rank them unless they take some of them down

Boca Raton – mentioning them because while they will likely be around .500 it is a team of sophomores and freshman and next year they’ll start to make some noise . . . and don’t be surprised if they get a major win this season either

Barron Collier – maybe one more good run in them

Montverde Academy – unlike IMG they joined a District and they are certainly looking to make some noise

Melbourne Central Catholic – another really good season last year but a little short of Top 20 consideration

Saint John Paul II – Andy Bolger always plays a tough schedule.  Last year it caught up to him . . . can some of those losses be turned around?  Perennial Top 20 program in the past.

Buchholz – can the growth in the program continue?

Pine Crest – Coach Harris again put up a nice winning record but didn’t get the big win

Berkley Prep – another good season but not quite there yet, can they get a big win?

 

That’s really not all that bad.

Obviously some of the teams in the poll didn’t quite play up to snuff but no horror stories.  The ‘also considered’ pretty much covers most of the teams that played well but didn’t quite make the grade.  I did spell Berkeley wrong but corrected it for this article.  Missed out on Hagerty and American Heritage/Plantation and Tampa Jesuit.  Probably a strong ‘B’ should be the grade.

 

For this I’ll take a bit of a bow . . .

 

Okay, not a perfect fit . . . and I certainly urge all out there to NOT to set fire to the clothes of those you break up with inside an apartment . . . but at least I got a song in from less than 10 years ago.

And please readers, don’t get any ideas from the lyrics . . . 🙂

 

Of course, the Finals prediction of Ponte Vedra and Jupiter didn’t come to pass but I did get the other two slots right for the Final Four and it wasn’t a huge leap to all four.  A one-goal loss to Benjamin in the District final likely kept Jupiter out of the Final Four and of course PV’s loss to Lake Mary was a stunner.

So I get a ‘C’ for the Final Four and that might be generous.

Of course, since I again misplaced the Final Four predictions just like last year there’s no ‘official’ way of verifying my ‘C’ . . .

 

There’s a lot of what-ifs this year

Ponte Vedra and Jupiter certainly have them.

Saint Andrew’s is full of them

Bishop Moore, Hagerty and Lake Mary have the same one

But in the end it all comes down to the magic number 48, as in minutes played.

There’s a line in Men In Black 3 where K asks J ‘what’s the most dangerous word in the English language?’ and after J guesses ‘sugar’ K says ‘regret’.

It’s the same in sports.

Regret is potent, and it will nag at you if you let it.

But it’s also a waste of time unless you don’t learn the lesson.

Give it your best and if it isn’t good enough, that’s okay.

Just give it your best and don’t look back.

 

By the way, remember this if you live in my area?

 

‘Little Will’, as Anthony called him, is pretty grown up now . . . and if you get a chance to see the video of the goal he scored in the loss to STA, WATCH it . . .

If anyone has the full clip and it is NOT on field level, please send it in so I can post it.

Yes, it was that good!

 

Well, let’s get the thanks out of the way now.

First, for all the seniors who have played their last games, we thank you for your efforts and wish you the best in whatever direction your lives take you and all the success in the world!

For those who are going on to play in college, hit the weights (Rudy reference) AND the books and show the college world what Florida lacrosse is becoming!

Coaches work their tail off.  To those who are stepping down thank you for your time and efforts!  And thank you so much for being there when I need an answer or contact information or anything else I ask for.  It makes the site such a better product.

For those coaches coming back . . . good luck!  The sport is becoming more competitive every year and the brass ring is there for the taking!

A special thanks to the referees!  You are putting up with too much and we really hope to help the lacrosse community to appreciate you a LOT more, and support you in continuing to make the experience for the players better every year.

Parents.  You open your wallets and you donate your time.  It’s not easy being a parent in this sport.  But you can make it a lot easier on yourselves if you keep in mind one simple thing.  Root for your kids and the team, not against something else.  We are going to work over the summer to bring you a lot more information about rules, interpretations and the latest in recruiting knowledge so you can better understand the game and make the experience a lot better.  Believe me, when you remember it’s high school sports and not life and death you’ll be a lot happier.  Let your kids take it seriously and take the other side, as the kids shoulder to cry on or celebrate with.  We all love our kids.  But this is their world, not ours.  Let them be.  Spend your energy helping us at FLN to increase our coverage of your teams!  Let us know when content is out there!  We can grow as a community together.  And set the bar for all the other states that will long for their kids to experience what our kids do!

 

Okay, before we get to the final pool, here’s a reminder of what we will get to start all over in 260 days . . .

 

 

Here It Is . . . The Final FLN Media Poll for the 2017 Season!

I decided to go with a Top 25 this year due to . . . 

A) There’s more than 20 teams that deserve the recognition

B) To suck up even further to the lax community . . . 🙂

 

By the way, I know some of this will scratch some heads but with all the A beat B who beat C who lost to A type games this season I am going as much with my eye test as with power rankings and comparative results . . . so no cards and letters wondering why . . . 

Just because a team misses the Final Four doesn’t mean I will not look at the entire season’s body of work and this poll reflects that.  Realistically i could have clustered teams even more than the 2 ties.  Lake Mary, Bishop Moore, SA and Oxbridge are all close together, as are Benjamin, PV and Jupiter.  The only easy one is STA.

 

#1 – St. Thomas Aquinas

#2 – Benjamin

#3 – Ponte Vedra

#4 – Jupiter

#5 – Lake Highland Prep

#6 – Lake Mary

#7 – Bishop Moore

#8 – Oxbridge

#9 – Saint Andrew’s

#10 – Barron Collier

#11 – Stoneman Douglas

#12 – Hagerty

#13 – Saint Edward’s

#14 – Tampa Jesuit

#15 – Bolles

#16 – Oak Hall

#17 – West Orange

#18 – Berkeley Prep

#19 – Nease

#20 – Pine Crest

#21(t) Belen Jesuit

#21 (t) Gulliver Prep

#23 – Newsome

#24 – American Heritage/Plantation

#25 (t) – Riverview-Sarasota and Maclay

 

Just outside the Top 25

Saint John Paul II

HB Plant

Gulf Coast

Merritt Island

Martin County

Buchholz

St. Augustine

Boone

 

Again, congratulations to the St. Thomas Raiders and the Bishop Moore Hornets for their state titles!

Just 260 days to go . . .

 

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