It’s not the list we deserve, but it’s the list we needed and just in time for football season! The 5 Things has returned from its summer slumber to get you ready for the all the comings and goings throughout the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
- The more things change, the more they stay the same: Speaking of three teams and one gigantic pain in our backsides of course. It’s quite apparent that Mother Nature is back on her you-know-what after providing the hottest month in the history OF THE EARTH (actual fact, not opinion) and then deciding to dump rain in buckets on THE ONE DAY we are trying to play ball. Whatever. It’s also quite apparent that Armwood, Lakeland, and Venice are not here to suffer fools this season. As if we already didn’t know this, they all went out and showed us first-hand what the season might look like for the teams on their respective schedules. Armwood went up DEEP into Duval, a vastly underrated metro area in terms of respect and served doughnuts to a Lee squad, who has a senior class entering this year with a sterling 31-7 record the past three years and are perennial visitors to the third round of the postseason. Lakeland was up 9-0 after scoring on the first play and then a safety before Kissimmee Osceola touched the ball. They were up 30-0 at the end of the first quarter, and it was 43-0 before Osceola finally broke loose. Venice received news that Malachi Wideman was headed to their already loaded program this week from Sarasota Riverview and then proceeded to catch 6 passes for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns against Plant. The Indians won their now annual (and always entertaining) offensive slugfest with the Panthers 49-30, which of course prompted HC John Peacock to declare, “We’ve got a long way to go.” Whew.
- TIME FOR YOU TO FEEL DISRESPECTED: Well, not really, but if by chance any of you that feel you were slept on or get the sense that life itself is over because of a preseason ranking, well here ya go. Our official statement on these? We appreciate those who take the time to put these preseason polls together, and that’s with ZERO shade attached to it. Just know there’s no greater feeling than proving someone wrong or right when you’ve been “disrespected” as they say. It works both ways and can be positive AND a negative. Find the balance or perspective and then perhaps find yourself in Tallahassee or Daytona Beach in December. Without further wait, here are FHSFB’s statewide rankings—-> https://floridahsfootball.com/2019/08/18/rankings-week-1-florida-top-25-classification-rankings/
- Don’t Look Now But: Everyone was talking about Venice’s schedule chocked full of powerhouses both nationally and statewide. They talked about Armwood and Plant heading to Atlanta and Washington DC respectively to face Top-25 nationally ranked teams. They talked about CCC heading up to Atlanta to face Jalen Ramsey’s alma mater in the Freedom Bowl. They even spoke about Jacksonville Trinity Christian’s insane schedule. One team, that should probably be discussed? Palmetto. One of the reasons our playoff system has been changed is because of squads like the Tigers and countless others that deserved to be in the big dance, but because they didn’t finish runners-up in districts that were legit 4-5 deep, while others in either 3-team districts or districts where under .500 squads were in at the expense of 7-8-9 win teams. The Tigers will host Pinellas Park and Manatee, then travel to Sarasota Riverview, Port Charlotte, and Largo then return home to face Braden River. They’ll then get Charlotte, Southeast, and Tallahassee Lincoln on the road and finish with St. Petersburg. Granted, some changes in the offseason have made some teams on this schedule go in a different direction both up and down, but with the opponents-opponents winning percentage being a factor, the Tigers will absolutely benefit from this gauntlet even if the teams they face don’t have the desired records to match. All of their opponents have bang-up schedules. This is exactly what we wanted to see as fans and anywhere in-between. Here’s is the always-excellent Dennis Maffezzoli’s article on Palmetto’s prospects this fall—>https://www.heraldtribune.com/sports/20190818/high-school-football-palmetto-has-players-to-join-states-elite?rssfeed=true
- You think Florida has problems with free agency? Try California. That’s it. Nothing else. That’s the punchline. https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/varsity-times/la-sp-high-schools-transfers-20180111-story.html
- Watching with intent: The uproar over officials to work football games in the state made news all over the nation. Perhaps it was the associations holding other associations and boards to their word, perhaps it was a bigger statement that “enough is enough” when it comes to bad pay and outright abuse in some cases, or perhaps it was nothing at all. One has to wonder just *who* was watching this all go down from the outside-looking-in and thinking that this may be the only way to get things done in this state moving forward. We are eternally grateful that the entities involved reached an agreement to see that these young people have a chance to live their dreams out. The 65-ton elephant in the room, however, is that there are infinitely more important aspects of this game that need to be addressed from a human resources and financial resources standpoint. Guess who should be getting that attention? Give y’all a hint. It’s not who you’re wanting to blame. Start writing your locally elected and send them to Tallahassee, NOT Gainesville, with your complaints. We will leave it at that. Here’s Forbes’ breakdown of the officials’ situation from the last couple of weeks—> https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2019/08/14/in-florida-high-school-referees-walk-out-over-low-pay/#1b5b73f06dbb