I certainly hope everybody had a happy Thanksgiving. For those of you that decided that going shopping the following day is your thing, I certainly have the utmost respect for you. That has to take a lot of patience. I could not imagine battling those type of lines at the mall. You have to be awfully dedicated.
Speaking of dedicated, I certainly want to send congratulations to Katie Knapp on her scholarship. This should be a good example to other students at Branford. Pick a sport you love, and dedicate yourself to it while maintaining an outstanding student status in the classroom. No, I know it is not easy, but if you really want something bad enough, you will find a way. Katie certainly did, and has made it happen. Hard work and dedication paid off in this case and is very deserving. Good Luck Katee!!
LADY BUCS DROP
Lauren Schultz led Branford with 7 points on the road against Newberry, but it would not be enough as the Lady Bucs fell 40-15 to a strong Newberry team. Other scoring contributors was Amanda McNabb with 4 points, Krystyn Lynch 2, and Whitney Dubose with two points.
Other basketball news
I have finally had a chance to catch up on all the area basketball teams. I was certainly in error last week when I projected a down year for this district. Yes, there is some very young teams taking the hardwood this year, but there is quite a bit of talent there also.
I knew the traditionally strong Bronson Eagles boys team lost quite abit from the starting lineup of the district runner-ups of a year ago. Bronson opened up their season with their own invitational, and defeated Santa Fe 54-46, and Madison County 54-52 to take the championship. Not bad for a team in a supposedly rebuilding stage.
The Mayo Hornets have returned a few players that have missed a year or two with injuries. This is the tallest team that Mayo has had in years, and with the quick returning guards, look to be a serious contender to the district title.
The Trenton Tigers will not bring size this year, but will bring a lot of youth and shooting that will make them a pretty good ball team, and should get better as the year rolls on.
Bell will bring a small, but very aggressive team to the floor this year with probably the best shooters in the district.
Jasper lost a couple of folks off that district championship team of a year ago. Jasper has won the district championship five years in a row, and there is a reason for that. The system in place in Hamilton County is a program that starts in the fifth grade, and the Trojans just reload. They will once again be the heavy favorites.
Branford should be a lot better in 2004-05. Look for the Bucs to possible struggle early, but should be making strides by mid-season that should make them quite a bit more competitive than last year.
State Football Playoffs
This was supposed to be the year that a very young Trinity Christian team would have their two year reign ended as the Class A State champions after posting a 4-4 mark during the regular season. But once again, the Conquerors found a way to capture a big win in the region 2 championship game against district rival North Florida Christian, avenging an earlier 29-28 loss. NFC took the lead 20-16 with six minutes to go in the game, but Trinity returned the kickoff for a touchdown, and then proceeded to turn up the defense to take the regional title, 22-20. Next up for Trinity Christian will be the region one public school champion, Blountstown. Blountstown rolled through the region one brackets, finishing up the championship run with actually their toughest game, a 32-7 win over a very good Vernon team. Blountstown will take their states' number one ranking into the game against the two time defending state champion, Trinity Christian, this Friday night to determine the state finalist in Gainesville next week.
There were only two area teams left in the playoffs, with Union County squandering a 13-0 third quarter lead, dropping a shocking 23-22 loss to Pensacola Catholic for their first loss of the season and was denied a return trip to the finals. Madison County continued on their undefeated march toward that much elusive state title, defeating Starke, 21-0.
Other Football News
There was a lot of complaints this past year concerning the size of some of the public schools districts', and the fact that only two teams was being advanced to the playoffs with no wildcards for the regions, while the private schools were in small three school districts, needing only to win one game to qualify, and were also being presented two wildcard teams to each of the private school regions. This particular sports correspondent was not one of the complainers. As long as the private schools was not there to knock off the public schools in the district or first round of the playoffs, they could get an automatic bid with an 0-10 record as far as I am concerned. My only complaint is that the FHSAA does not do the same for the rest of the sports, including the girls sports. Their acknowledgment of smaller school athletes deserving the same equal opportunities on the football field should certainly be applied to the other sports I would think.
The FHSAA is still listening on the football front however as changes were made once again to better benefit the smaller schools. A suggestion by the Aucilla Christian Athletic Director at a recent meeting was voted in that will split the small schools even further to provide more of an equal playing field. Based on the proposal, there will now be eight classifications in the state of Florida high school football. Each division will be split evenly, with the 1A and 2A classifications being split in half based on size once again to produce A and B divisions. The tentative district realignments will be available on 3 December. The other change that will affect the districts' will be the increase of two year periods of realignment to four years for the purpose of establishing rivals and making scheduling more long term. The only change to this that would cause a team to move would be a 20% increase in enrollment.
This is a great job by the FHSAA on making the playing field more equal for the small public schools, now how about looking at the other sports with the same philosophy?