SUNDAY Sound-Off: The First Round Reaction

Oh, what a night. The 2019 postseason truly delivered in its first week of action. Here’s a quick rundown of what we thought we needed to get off our chest on this beautiful fall Saturday.

STILL BUZZING: November Madness is a real thing. Don’t tell us any different. Every 4-seed in Class 7A lost. Every single 5-seed in Class 3A won their match-ups against higher seeds. For the second season in a row, a team from Tampa as an 8-seed has ended a 1-seed’s season prematurely. Another area team was 1:10 from beating a 1-seed down south. All that matters is survive and advance, however.

HAIL TO THE CHIEF(S): Chamberlain did the dang thing last night. They may have been an 8-seed, but call that 25-13 win over Rockledge an upset at your own peril. Chamberlain’s peaking at the right time and since their 24-13 loss to Jesuit on September 27th, they’ve gone 5-1 with that lone loss a 5-point defeat to Gaither. They’ve got their running game back, they’re getting smart play from their QB, and their defense is playing some of the nastiest brand of ball throughout the 13 counties in the coverage area. Now that the Chiefs have won their first playoff game since 2008, can they go even further with the bullseye on their backs? Our Spidey Senses are tingling.

TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR: There were just 8 rematches from the regular season in the first round. The teams that won the initial contests earlier this year went 6-2 last night when the two ran it back. Just two of those games ended in single digits. The average margin of victory in those games WITH those close ones was still 24-points. Without them, it was 31. So with that in mind, Zephyrhills Christian, Dunnellon, Sebring, Citrus, Countryside, Auburndale, Wiregrass Ranch, and Braden River will all have to wait to get their revenge until next season.

THIS IS GONNA HURT: East Lake and Braden River as 8-seeds were mere minutes from sending home Palm Beach Lakes and Palmetto home and shocking the state like a toaster chucked into a full bathtub. Braden River was up 21-10 late in the 4th Quarter, while East Lake was up 17-0 at one point, then up 27-26 trying to run the clock out with under two minutes, gave up a fumble deep in their own territory. Sebring had rushed for over 200 yards and were up two scores for a vast majority of the game before Lake Wales came back to win 31-21. Outside of the area, DeLand was up 21-7 with under 5 minutes to play at Timber Creek and lost 22-21. Countryside was trailing Largo 7-0 halfway through the 4th Quarter. Just goes to show that things can change in a blink of an eye when you let your guard down. It’s a 48-minute game for a reason. Not 44-minute and 27-seconds or whatever. Here’s hoping those young men become even greater for this harshest of lessons to learn. It hurts now, but you’re young–you’ll bounce back.

THAT’S A MIGHTY FINE MATCH-UP YOU’VE GOT THERE: So with these thoughts in mind, let’s look ahead to what promises to be an even crazier week of action, with some absolute heavyweights taking the field against one another. Berkeley Prep will host Clearwater Central Catholic in a rematch from earlier this season that the Bucs were victorious in. Tampa Catholic heads down to Delray Beach to take on an American Heritage squad that’s at 5-5 and can be had. The Villages at South Sumter is going to be a battle for Sumter County Supremacy. Lake Wales suddenly finds themselves preparing for a second dogfight in as many weeks against a Port Orange Atlantic team that will stomp them if they can’t stop the run. Port Charlotte heads to Palmetto in an intriguing contest on paper. Clearwater heading to Gaither is a can’t-miss. Manatee heads to Mitchell in a contest between two of the hottest teams in the state right now. Venice travels down to the 1-seed Palm Beach Lakes and with a darn-good shot at taking out that 1-seed that’s been undeniably softened up regardless of how much noise Palm Beach Lakes is talking on social media. Sarasota Riverview hosting Steinbrenner could be one of the best games of the entire postseason. Whew. Let’s take a moment. We’ll see you guys later this week with your primer for all of it!