FLN Weekly High School Media Poll (Well, This Writer Anyhow!) – 3/12/17


Sorry for the later publishing of this but even this reporter gets to take a day away from the sport . . . and combine that with the fact that this genius completely forgot about daylight savings time and the boat outing we went on with good friends today and the dinner out at Shooters . . . well you get the picture.  So I am sitting down to do this at 8:30 tonight and going to rip right through it.


Author’s Note:  It is now nearly 11:30pm and I am doing the final review before publishing . . . so much for ripping right through it . . . but maybe the readers will appreciate how much thought goes into it?


First of all . . .


Benjamin – LHP . . . PV – Jupiter . . . Oxbridge – Boys’ Latin

Tampa Jesuit sweeps Cardinal Mooney and Plant

But nothing else beats this . . .


Last week . . . Ponte Vedra beats Nease 20-3

This weekend . . . Jupiter beats Ponte Vedra 15-9 and then

Nease beats Jupiter 9-8 in OT on Saturday . . . at Jupiter.

Yep, you read that right!  I’m startled too!


There’s no sure thing in sports.

In 1973, during the summer, I attended Balfour Lake Camp, a sleepaway camp in Minerva, New York.  Minerva is so small that it’s school isn’t even located in the city.  Nothing ever really happened there but the famous American painter Winslow Homer actually used to spend summers there, just like me.  About the most famous person to spend any time there was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who actually attended the sister camp to Balfour Lake, about 500 yards away, called Chenawah.

This summer was right after Secretariat won the Triple Crown and was considered invincible.  The great race horse was scheduled to run in The Whitney Stakes at nearby Saratoga Rave Track and some of our counselors were planning on going to the race on their day off to see him.  We kids pooled our change together, about $2 in dimes and nickels, and asked the counselors to place the bet on him to win.

And then this happened:


Yep, we lost to a horse named Onion . . . and with it all our savings at the time.

You just never know in high school sports.


Readers of my columns know I called out the parents at SJP in my article on their win over American Heritage/Boca and a few decided to respond on our Facebook thread.  You can easily read them for yourself.  I also received some feedback on that from others in attendance that night that agreed that the parents were over the top.

Here are the two comments that criticized me (I’ve removed their names):

“Why is half this article about the stands and the parents, again? I heard nothing bad last night from either side. I heard a lot of cheering, thankfully, these kids have a great support system. Its a game, its a rival…..yes, your going to have cheering, chanting and loud yelling. There will always be disagreements with official calls, but thats in “every game!” I heard no one fighting or anything bad or intolerable being yelled in the stands from either team. The officiating was far better than the Benjamin game vs SJPII, so not sure that should be such an issue, either. I would like to see the perfectly officiated game, but thats never going to happen. The game was a good one. The boys should be proud. Both teams played well. Nothing is more intense than watching your offspring star in a game. Give the parents a break, after all……its not about them and nor should the write up be. I have not been to one silent game yet. Rise above and lets focus on the field.”

“I agree..Article should be about the boys and the hard fought battle of the game..There were no incidents in the stands between either side!! And the very few comments to the refs were that they needed to control the game better.. you really do need to GET OVER IT!!”

And the email sent to me:

“Lee – Great article on this game last week. You are dead on right with regard to some of the parents that night. What needs to happen in order for this embarrassing behavior to stop. I’m all for cheering your team on, but good god leave the refs alone! Thanks for your articles ”

By the way, my photographer was at the game and he was appalled at the level of ref bashing.

As you can see, there’s a disagreement between the two camps about what happened that night.

It’s pretty weird that one of the comments tried to note that “I heard no one fighting or anything bad or intolerable being yelled in the stands from either team.” was somehow the line that was drawn by that fan as to what constituted bad behavior.

Sorry, but the line is not drawn there.

For all of you big mouths out there, LISTEN and READ CAREFULLY

FIVE COMPETENT REFEREES left our southeast area this year and are no longer officiating here.

They have not been replaced fully at all.

I have asked the scheduler of the referees about what effect this has had and was told the following

GAMES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED due to a lack of refs

Games have had their starting times changed so a reffing crew can double up for two games in one night

Some games have been reffed by ONE REFEREE!

I’ve asked him to ask the 5 refs if any of them will write a letter to the fans talking about why they walked away.  I’ve offered to publish it on the site.  I hope at least one of them will do so.

But frankly I don’t need to ask at this point.

I know the answer . . . even if a few parents want to bury their heads in the sand.

Keep it up with the yelling . . . if you want to destroy the sport down here.

You are selfish and I will not stop calling you out when I witness this childish behavior.  This is HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS.  Not the Pros.

If you don’t like it, GO TO ANOTHER SOURCE FOR YOUR LACROSSE INFO.  I’m sure the PB Post will provide you with all the content you want.

I don’t want you as a reader of my columns if you can’t control yourselves.


That’s my response


Now, back to the good side of our sport . . . the players, the coaches, the refs, those parents who understand what setting an example is, and the games themselves . . .


Last week we discussed the issue of teams with great records but schedules that make it hard to really judge them for Top 20 consideration.

We talked about Viera, Key West, Pensacola Catholic, Gulf Breeze, Leon, All Saints Academy, Bartow, Lakeland and St. Augustine.

A few questions were answered this week.

Key West was handled by Belen Jesuit this weekend and are obviously not ready as a program yet.  Not a surprise.  But I still like what is going on down there and let’s see in a few years how far they grow.

Leon lost 10-6 at Maclay and that wasn’t a bad loss but Maclay is down this year.  They did rebound nicely with a good win over a nice Providence team . . . but not enough to get into Top 20 consideration for the regular season.

St. Augustine is a really interesting thing case.  The earlier loss to Nease looks a lot better now after the weekend . . . and the Creekside loss in OT is not terrible, but that is one that would have made a difference.  They do have a road win over Fleming Island.  And on 3/22 they play at Ponte Vedra . . . let’s see how they compete.

Viera lost their last two games at home to Merritt Island and Montverde, both pretty good teams in their own right, so that pretty much does it for them too.

All Saints lost to Lakeland so that takes them out of consideration.  Lakeland has a home and home against Bartow coming up and Bartow lost to All Saints.  Looks like we clear this up shortly.

Pensacola Catholic and Gulf Breeze are just not yet playing the schedules they need to get them here.  But each has a lot going for it and let’s see next year if they try to bring the schedule up.


A few more teams to think about this week.

South Plantation, Sickles, Merritt Island, Melbourne and Lake Minneola

South Plantation unfortunately resides in a district with St. Thomas, American Heritage/Plantation and University School.  Their two losses were not competitive so the 9-2 mark so far can’t be ranked until they beat a bigger name.

Sickles is more interesting.  their 9-2 mark includes losses to Newsome and Berkeley Prep and they hold an OT win at Lakeland.  Not enough yet for consideration but they do still play Plant and Tampa Jesuit and if they found a way to win those two I probably have to rank them.

Merritt Island is 9-3 but their three losses were to Seminole, MCC and Hagerty and only one was a close game.  Their best win is over Viera so I can’t rank them.  There’s not enough on the schedule to get them there.

Melbourne is 7-2 with losses to Viera and Holy Trinity Episcopal.  They do still have MCC but even a win there is not enough to get them here.  They need to upgrade the schedule to be considered.

Lake Minneola is 9-2 but their only win over a team with a winning record is over Apopka, which is 6-3.  This week they face two MIAA B schools so any questions will be answered, but for now, not considered.


Before we get to last week’s key games, let’s take a look down Memory Lane at one of the quirkiest sit-coms to ever be shown on U.S. TV, and a personal favorite of mine when I ran across it in reruns . . .




Try a few episodes and see if you agree, they’re all over YouTube.


Last Week’s Key Games



Saint Andrew’s 12-7 over Plano West (Tx)



Bolles 12-11 over Matanzas

Tampa Jesuit 16-3 over Cardinal Mooney on the road

St. Augustine 14-11 over Fleming Island on the road

Maclay over Leon 10-6

SJP II 13-9 over American Heritage/Boca

Hagerty 10-5 over Seminole on the road

St. Thomas Aquinas 14-9 over American Heritage/Plantation



Lakeland 18-12 over All Saints Academy

Oak Hall 9-7 over Maclay



Barron Collier 13-10 over Gulf Coast on the road

Creekside  11-10 in OT over St. Augustine on the road



Bishop Moore 12-5 over Bolles

Stoneman Douglas 15-7 over Boca Raton on the road

Tampa Jesuit 7-6 over Plant on the road

Jupiter 15-9 over Ponte Vedra

Martin County 17-6 over Melbourne Central Catholic on the road

Saint Andrew’s 19-6 over SJP II on the road

St. Thomas 15-8 over Cardinal Mooney




Ponte Vedra 18-6 over Gulliver Prep

Nease 9-8 in OT over Jupiter

Benjamin 13-4 over Lake Highland Prep

Boys’ Latin (Md) 14-9 over Oxbridge


Going into last week, here is the Top 20 . . .


#1 – St. Thomas Aquinas – just like their Oakland name sake . . . just keep winning baby

#2 – Ponte Vedra – the team that is not considered went down to them yesterday

#3 – Saint Andrew’s – the team that is not considered did beat them Friday

#4 – Oxbridge – treading water until Saturday when the MIAA comes to town

#5 – Jupiter – quietly dominating teams, Friday will be great to watch

#6 – Lake Highland Prep – Friday night home game should draw 1,000 if local fans have half a brain

#7 – Benjamin – Ditto.  HUGE win at St. Edwards, statement time at LHP, to avenge last year’s fourth quarter blow up

#8 – Bishop Moore – also quietly going about its’ business, will they close strong?

#9 – St. Edwards – showed against Benjamin this rating is not a fluke

#10 – Stoneman Douglas – gaining momentum

#11 – Oak Hall – maybe a little too high but can solidify this spot this week

#12 – West Orange – cruising along

#13 – Pine Crest – could easily run the table, early wins looking better as the season goes on

#14 – Barron Collier – biggest jump this week.  8-0 and the earlier wins are looking better

#15 – Newsome – Steinbrenner victory way too close, can’t afford any more like that with this schedule

#16 – Cardinal Mooney – opportunity KNOCKING next week.  Win them both and easily Top 10

#17 – Tampa Jesuit – Maclay pounding gets them here but they need a split this week with BC and HB Plant to keep here

#18 – Lake Mary – barely hanging in due to the schedule . . .

#19 – Cardinal Gibbons – swept Dade County so far, need to reward the road wins . . . 7-1 with only ONE home game so far this year

#20 –  ***** – because I can’t figure out who should be #20 this week, also celebrating the fact that TWO games I covered this week have ended with goals just after the whistle sounded . . . SJP II and Suncoast-Riviera.  Long live the asterisk!  One of the greatest inventions for writers ever conceived.  I considered Hobart for this after their horrendous effort today against Binghamton.


Also considered:

Saint John Paul II – plenty of tough games left to move up

Bolles – lost to Episcopal Jacksonville . . . which means . . .

Episcopal Jacksonville – you get the picture

Gulliver Prep – needs to start beating the better teams

Melbourne Central Catholic – again, better teams coming up to make their case

American Heritage/Plantation – getting close, not quite there yet . . . Tuesday could be statement day

Hagerty – another team having a really nice season but the schedule is keeping them out so far

Winter Park – solid year, a few quality games left to make their case

Maclay – kind of out of habit right now

Any of those teams I didn’t discuss in the Rankings section can be slotted here for one more week, until the dust settles . . .


While driving down to the Gulliver – Ponte Vedra game I passed a sign for Brian Piccolo Park . . .

Brian’s Song

Here’s a challenge to all the kids out there . . .

Watch this movie and see if you don’t cry at the end.

My money is on crying . . .


This is a young James Caan and a then very popular Billy Dee Williams.

Try the whole movie on for size kids, it’s worth it.

In some ways this story is very ahead of its’ time.


Here’s near the end . . .




And now the Underdog Upset of the Week



Sorry Coach Loftus, but the Nease win over Jupiter wins this one hands down.


This week’s big upcoming games . . . 



All Saints Academy hosts Bartow

Bolles hosts St. Edwards



Cardinal Gibbons hosts Stoneman Douglas

Pine Crest hosts SJP II

Saint Andrew’s hosts Boys’ Latin (Md)

St. Thomas Aquinas hosts Barron Collier in a rare battle of undefeateds this late in the season



Bartow hosts Lakeland

Gulf Breeze hosts Pensacola Catholic



The Tropical Park Miami Lacrosse Rivals Night – Belen, CC, Gulliver and Ransom

Bishop Moore hosts Winter Park

Jupiter hosts Saint Andrew’s



Saint Andrew’s hosts Lake Highland Prep

St. Thomas Aquinas hosts St. Edwards

Stoneman Douglas hosts Lake Mary



Jupiter hosts Lake highland Prep


Okay, time for a lacrosse-inspired video!


Kids. developing both hands is pretty much a must . . . unless your last name is Gait, and I haven’t run into any of that in Florida . . .


20 years ago last week


And now, it’s time for this week’s Top 20, and to introduce it we need another music lead in . . .


This week, the TROMBONE



And now This Week’s Top 20!


#1 – St. Thomas Aquinas – the spread is narrowing though

#2 – Saint Andrew’s – might just find a way to pull it off on Tuesday vs Boys’ Latin, then Jupiter and LHP later this week, how’s that for a week?

#3 – Benjamin – huge road win at LHP

#4 – Oxbridge – was competitive with BL until halfway through the 3rd, not a bad showing at all

#5 (t) – Jupiter – PV win was huge and then the hangover the next day

#5 (t) – Ponte Vedra – never awoke versus Jupiter.  Darn good team but this week this Top 6 was really hard.  Any of the Top 6 can win the state title so don’t think this through too much

#7 –  Bishop Moore – 3/21 at LHP no longer looks like a likely LHP win, but a very competitive game

#8 –  Lake Highland Prep – better get its act together, now I’m not even sure about their Final Four prospects, even with their quadrant. Bishop Moore is no longer in their district but a 2nd round matchup looms

#9 – Stoneman Douglas – rapidly getting better

#10 –  Oak Hall – big win over Maclay, can really make noise the last game of the season

#11 –  West Orange – not the greatest schedule but pretty much killing all . . . huge offense numbers

#12 –  Barron Collier – jumping PC due to the GC win, Tuesday should draw a BIG crowd

#13 – Pine Crest – one real test left

#14 – Tampa Jesuit – took care of business with road wins at Plant and Cardinal Mooney

#15 – Newsome – just treading water

#16 – Hagerty – another team having a really nice season but the schedule is mediocre, too bad they didn’t hook up with West Orange this year

#17 – Lake Mary – back on track but those last 5 games are brutal

#18 –  Nease – have to reward that great road win

#19 – Cardinal Gibbons – now 9-1 and Stoneman on Tuesday is a true test

#20 (t) – St. Edwards and Martin County – injuries are really taking a toll on St. Eds and Martin has some of the better results that no one is paying atttention to . . . the West Orange loss is really looking good now


Also considered:

Saint John Paul II – have to get over the hump with one of the toughies

American Heritage/Plantation – getting closer

Maclay – STILL kind of out of habit right now

Montverde Academy – making me look a little better now on the Mike Loveday podcast


Go out and attend a game!  No excuses this weekend with what is scheduled . . . bring a LOT of friends.


And LAY OFF the refs.


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