Three things I learned in last Friday's FHSAA Class 5A regional semifinals:
1. Runner up? So, what?
Four of the eight teams remaining in Class 5A did not win district championships.
Tallahassee Godby, Jacksonville Bishop Kenny, Lake Wales and Miami Jackson certainly are making up for that now.
And of that group, only Godby, at 11-1, would be considered a team not all that surprising to be here. The others all have at least three losses..
Jackson may be the most intriguing story, having won two consecutive playoff games after having concluded the regular season with three consecutive losses by a combined score of 82-16.
Similarly, LWHS entered the postseason having lost 2-of-3.
2. Peaking now
Raise your hand if you believed Immokalee had arguably the most talented senior class in the state and possibly one of the 10-15 best teams out there, regardless of classification.
Keep your hand up if that faith wavered when the Indians opened 2-2.
Well, they're back, and at 9-3, they have a shot to avenge one of those early-season losses when Lake Wales comes to town. LWHS took the Sept. 21 meeting, 19-14, by shutting out IHS in the second half.
3. Return of the Raiders
When compiling the Florida Varsity preseason top-25, publisher Steve Berrey and I probably had more discussions about Belle Glade Glades Central than any other team.
Steve wasn't sold on the Raiders, thinking they were in for a down year. I, on the other hand, pointed to GCHS's tradition and suggested we might look silly not including the Raiders.
In the end we went with Steve's suggestion, and an 0-4 start appeared to verify his beliefs (though, in fairness, all four of those foes did reach the playoffs).
But, since then, Glades Central has won eight straight, never scoring fewer than the 26 points it put up in last week's victory against Merritt Island and never giving up more than 19.
The Raiders are hot right now. Can Jackson cool them down?