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November 27, 2012
Lessons learned from the Class 1A state playoffs
Three things I learned in last Friday's FHSAA Class 1A regional finals:
Chris Baker has quite the history with the two teams involved in Friday night's Class 1A South state semifinal.
The defensive coordinator for Newberry 2007 Class 2B state runner-up, Baker got his first head coaching job at Trenton in 2008. There, he led the Tigers to records of 2-8 and 2-8 before turning things around by taking a young team to a 7-3 mark.
He returned to Newberry as its head coach last year, and the Panthers finished 2-8. But like he did at Trenton, Baker has helped turn Newberry around.
Now, the Panthers (9-3) will host, you guessed it, Trenton (12-0 in Andrew Thomas' second season) in Friday's state semifinal.
At 9-3, Bratt Northview doesn't have the gaudiest record of any 1A playoff team, but it has the gaudiest offense.
Only once this season have the Chiefs failed to score 28 points, and in that one, they put up 20.
Northview has scored at least 40 points eight times in 2012 and has reach the 50-point mark in half of those contests.
Of the Chiefs' three losses, all three have come to bigger schools - and two of them made the post-season. The third - Marianna - was 8-2 but missed out.
Winning in a different manner is Northview's semifinal opponent, Bristol Liberty County.
The Bulldogs can score points and have a pair of 48-0 victories on their résumé, but they also can win tight defensive struggles, evidenced by 20-7 and 14-7 defeats of Blountstown.
It has been two-and-a-half months since Liberty County was last beaten. Will that momentum carry over against the high-powered Chiefs?