In My Opinion

Class 8A will be a tough class to get through

 

Class 8A will be a tough class to get through

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•  NORTH: Tampa Plant will once again be tested by Deland, Neptune Beach Fletcher and Tarpon Springs East Lake.

•  SOUTH: This will be a race that begins in Palm Beach with Seminole Ridge, and also in Broward as Weston Cypress Bay and Miramar will be the favorites. In Miami-Dade County, it’s all about the south — where Miami Columbus, Miami Coral Reef, Miami Killian, South Dade and Miami Southridge have the talent.

CLASS 7A

•  NORTH: The Tallahassee Lincoln Trojans have the most athletes coming back but will be pushed by defending runner-up Jacksonville First Coast, Orlando Evans and always tough Lakeland.

•  SOUTH: This is tough as you get. In addition to Bradenton Manatee, there is Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, Royal Palm Beach, Fort Pierce and always competitive and strong Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

CLASS 6A

•  NORTH: While Seffner Armwood had its 2011 title stripped, and appear to have plenty of talent to head back, there are other programs who figure to be in the mix as well. Gainesville could sneak into the finals with a solid season. Niceville and Lake City Columbia also have more talent than last season.

•  SOUTH: If you come out of this side of the bracket, you have really done your job. In addition to Miami Central, Miami Northwestern and Miami Belen Jesuit, there are also quality programs such as Melbourne Palm Bay, Daytona Beach Mainland, Naples and South Fort Myers as well.

CLASS 5A

•  NORTH: A very competitive region with Dade City Pasco, last year’s runner-up Wakulla, Ponta Vedra, North Marion and Tampa Jesuit.

•  SOUTH: One of the toughest to get out of — statewide. Starting with Miami Norland and Miami Jackson in Dade, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons and Plantation American Heritage, and quality programs such as Immokalee, Belle Glade Glades Central, Merritt Island and one of the favorites, Palmetto.

CLASS 4A

•  NORTH: While Jacksonville Raines actually won the district title last year, edging out defending state champion Jacksonville Bolles, this year will see East Gadsden and Bushnell South Sumter in mix as well.

•  SOUTH: For Miami Booker T. Washington, getting back and evening a loss last year is what has driven the Tornadoes, but this is not a set in stone pick. Cocoa has won three of the past four state titles, and gave BTW fits in Miami last year. This year, the game would be in Cocoa. Locally Miami Gulliver Prep has talent, but maybe not enough.

CLASS 3A

•  NORTH: Other than the defending state runner-up Madison County Cowboys, this region has only one other team that has the chance to get to Orlando — and that’s Jacksonville Trinity Christian, which has great talent and coaching.

•  SOUTH: No matter how you slice it, this comes down to Week 2 of the playoffs when Fort Lauderdale University School and Delray American Heritage get together. Last year, the Stallions won, paving the way for a second state title in three years. Steve Walsh’s West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman and Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna are the other teams with a chance, but this should be a two-team race.

CLASS 2A

•  NORTH: It would be a major upset not to have Tallahassee North Florida Christian in the finals. The defending state champions looked as impressive as any first weekend team last year.

•  SOUTH: While Dade Christian appears to be the only team with the talent and depth to get by Kelvin Taylor and Belle Glade Glades Day, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic and Fort Myers Evangelical Christian have the athletes to at least compete.

CLASS 1A

•  NORTH: This is a region that is certainly not set in stone. Last year’s state runner-up Chipley still has a solid program — as do Bratt Northview, Bonifay Holmes County, Vernon and Freeport.

•  SOUTH: As long as this rural class includes a program like Jefferson County, there are very few teams that will be able to match the speed and depth. Jefferson County outscored the four playoff opponents, 168-38. Lake Butler Union County and Trenton have talent as well.

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