A big upset in Texas has helped set up a possible clash of undefeated teams later in the Florida state playoffs in which the winner would be declared the mythical national champion.
For most of the season, Cedar Ridge of Round Rock, Texas, has been considered that state’s No. 1 team and went into the Class 6A playoffs looking to win the Region 2 title and then advance to the final four for the state title still holding a perfect record.
Although the Raiders went into their matchup last week with Oak Ridge (Conroe, Texas) thinking it would be a best-of-three series, there were weather delays, which caused it to become a one-game winner-take-all situation. Oak Ridge then pulled off a 3-1 upset and the Cedar Ridge season was over.
The possibility of an unbeaten Class 6A state champion in Texas (that state’s highest division and usually one of the two most difficult playoff titles in the nation to win) also had Cedar Ridge sitting at No. 2 in last week’s Extra Elite Eighty national rankings.
Instead of moving up previous No. 3 Norco (Calif.) to No. 2 this week, however, the choice instead was to move up previous No. 5 Winter Springs (Fla.) into the position right behind No. 1 Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.).
The reasoning behind the move is simple.
Winter Springs also happens to be in the same Florida state playoff division (Class 8A) as Lakewood Ranch, both teams are unbeaten, and it is possible that the two teams could face off in the Class 8A state championship.
In a situation that also doesn’t always happen in Florida, there are other top-ranked teams that are in the Class 8A state playoff bracket as well, including nationally ranked Wellington, Oakleaf, East Lake and Bartow.
If Lakewood Ranch goes ahead and wins out as the Class 8A state champion, head coach T.J. Goelz’s girls would be a more than deserving national No. 1 team (especially with a perfect record). If Winter Springs was able to play the Mustangs in that state final, win the game and finish unbeaten, then it would be equally deserving.
Instead of moving up Norco to second this week and then perhaps hopping Winter Springs up in front of the Cougars later on, we’ve found it’s much better to make that move at an earlier time.
All three teams just need to keep focusing on winning their playoff games and advancing in their brackets. We have pondered the possibilities if none of the three teams wins championships, but we’ll get into all of those explanations if they become necessary.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Tuesday, May 7)
1. (1) Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.) 26-0
2. (5) Winter Springs (Winter Springs, Fla.) 26-0
3. (3) Norco (Norco, Calif.) 28-1
4. (4) Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.) 23-0
5. (6) Katy (Katy, Texas) 26-2
6. (8) Klein Collins (Klein, Texas) 32-2
7. (7) Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio) 22-0
8. (9) Coral Springs Charter (Coral Springs, Fla.) 24-1
9. (10) Keller (Keller, Texas) 29-3-1
10. (11) Male (Louisville, Ky.) 21-0