football

Lessons learned from the Class 2A playoffs

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Three things I learned in last Friday's FHSAA Class 2A regional finals:
1. Crusaders on a mission
When the final score of Dade Christian 20, Belle Glade Glades Day 14 popped up last Friday night, Miami Herald high school writer Andre Fernandez tweeted he didn't see that one coming.
He wasn't alone.
Sure, the Crusaders are 12-0, but they have been good in recent years, too. However, those seasons ended with losses in the first or second round of the playoffs and also included a couple of lopsided regular-season losses to Kelvin Taylor and the Gators.
Behind 306 all-purpose yards and an interception by quarterback/defensive back Gary Sampson, Dade Christian ended the prep career of Taylor, a future Florida Gator, and advanced to host also undefeated Naples First Baptist Academy in the 2A state semifinals. .
2. Upward mobility
The last four years have seen First Baptist Academy go 3-5, 4-6, 8-3 and now 12-0 heading into this week's game at Dade Christian.
The Lions aren't tricky on offense, choosing to run the ball straight at the opposition to the tune of 358.5 rushing yards-a-game.
Led by the unheralded, yet ultra-productive, tandem of Jonah Bueltel (130 carries for 1,705 yards and 26 touchdowns) and Chris Dorrill (184 carries for 1,487 yards with 22 TDs), First Baptist has rushed for 4,302 yards as a team this season.
3. No more NFC
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of the northern portion of the Class 2A bracket involves a team no longer playing.
One year after ripping through the postseason, not allowing an opponent within 26 points of it, 2011 champ Tallahassee North Florida Christian is gone, having fallen 44-31 at Jacksonville University Christian.
After avenging a 47-21 loss from the first round of last year's playoffs, the Christians move on to South Daytona Warner Christian, a 54-13 loser to NFC in last season's state semifinals.
Look for a potential offensive shootout, as Warner is averaging 55 points in two playoff wins, while University Christian is putting up 51.5 ppg.
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