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Area football teams hoping for playoff nod

By Staff | Nov 1, 2019

North Fort Myers senior QB Parker O'Dell

Things are looking good for two area high school’s postseason prospects, while a third may still have a shot.

There’s one Friday game remaining, and then the playoff teams will be posted by the FHSAA on Sunday morning (fhsaa.org/sports/football).

North Fort Myers (7-2) remains seventh in Region 6A-4 despite a convincing win at Island Coast, and Lely dropping Barron Collier from fifth to eighth. Dunbar’s win against South Fort Myers boosted the Tigers from ninth to sixth.

If things stay the same after this weekend’s games, then North Fort Myers would have a rematch against old rival Fort Myers for its first-round playoff match-up. A short trip, and a chance to avenge a 48-3 humiliation in the regular season.

The one thing that looks like a sure bet is that the Red Knights will make the playoffs. While No. 8 Barron Collier isn’t that far behind North in the ratings, ninth-place South Fort Myers is pretty far back — and the Red Knights defeated the Wolfpack two weeks ago.

Two Bishop Verot defenders bring down a ball carrier

Who and where the Red Knights play in the first round is still up in the air. A loss to Bishop Verot (7-2), ranked fifth in the state in Class 3A, could be a problem simply because of the three-class gap between the schools. A win absolutely won’t hurt, but might not be that much of a boost.

Or it might. The FHSAA’s all-class RPI ranks Bishop Verot 49th in the state, ahead of Fort Myers (53) and far ahead of the Red Knights (131).

If Dunbar loses to Fort Myers, ranked fifth in Class 6A, it would take something of a hit. However, should the Tigers pull off the upset, there’s no doubt they would finish ahead of North Fort Myers.

For Bishop Verot, the only question is whether or not the Vikings will get a first-round bye.

Only six teams make the playoffs in classes 1A-4A, while eight get spots in classes 5A-8.

Oasis High School senior running back Tanner Rennie

The top two teams — right now Tampa Berkeley Prep and Bishop Verot — get first-round byes while the other four meet for first-round games.

A win against North should lock Verot into the second spot — Tampa Berkeley Prep looks untouchable in the first position. A loss, however, might let West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman squeak past Verot and into second. Newman, just nine percentage points back, faces a 4-5 Coral Springs Charter in its finale.

However, the point system might not let that happen. Bishop Verot would get a points boost by playing North, a team in a higher classification.

If Bishop Verot remains the second seed, the Vikings would get a week off and then have a home game against a first-round survivor.

Then there’s Oasis.

A week ago at this time, the Sharks were 7-1 and within reach of Verot for the second spot in Region 3A-4.

Then came the stunning announcement that Oasis would forfeit three games for having used an ineligible player. That dropped the Sharks to 4-4.

Oasis took its frustrations out on Avon Park 41-0, but still tumbled from third in the region to outside the top six.

Now the Sharks are eighth, on the outside looking in.

All is not lost, however.

Oasis faces Clearwater Calvary Christian on the road Friday. A win against Calvary Christian, right now standing fifth in the district, is a must — no two ways about it.

It’s a tall order. Calvary Christian, in the all-class RPI, is 87th.

Oasis’ RPI, state-wise, is not good (229), but it’s not due to what happened on the field. It’s win or go home for sure. Then the Sharks need help.

West Palm Beach Benjamin, right now in the sixth and final playoff spot, faces a Class 6A team in Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy, which is 2-7 on the season.

In fact, Archbishop McCarthy is 71st in the state in Class 6A, 30 spots behind a Bonita Springs team that can only claim a single victory.

That win didn’t come on the field, but was one of Oasis’ forfeits.

A loss by Benjamin and an Oasis win at Calvary Christian might be enough to give the Sharks the first playoff berth in school history.

It’s no sure thing, however. Benjamin’s RPI of .591 is a substantial lead over Oasis’ .517.

In seventh place is West Palm Beach King’s Academy (5-5) ,which has completed its season.

King’s Academy, at .532 — short of a miracle — is already eliminated.

All the Sharks can control is what happens at Calvary Christian.

The rest is up to Benjamin and Archbishop McCarthy.

The top 10 teams in Region 6A-3 are, in order, Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale Dillard, Miami Central, Lely, Dunbar, North Fort Myers, Barron Collier, South Fort Myers and Palmetto Ridge.

In Region 3A-4, Tampa Berkeley Prep is followed by Bishop Verot, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman, Clearwater Central Catholic, Clearwater Calvary Christian, West Palm Beach Benjamin, West Palm Beach King’s Academy, Oasis, Fort Pierce John Carroll Catholic and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.