There’s still several high school football games to be played, but with playoffs already a guarantee, brackets for regional play were released on Wednesday.
The Florida High School Athletic Association typically waits until after the regular season to finalize seedings and brackets, but this year determined matchups and home field advantage on coin flips, due to the pandemic.
There will be two rounds of play-in games due to the excess teams in this year’s playoffs.
Venice will host North Port in a matchup of 7A teams in a bracket that also includes perennial powers Manatee and St. Thomas Aquinas.
In 6A, Port Charlotte will play at Palmetto Ridge and Charlotte will play at East Lee County. If both teams can win, they’ll face each other in the regional quarterfinals.
“We’re getting into the meat of our schedule, especially with the brackets coming out,” Port Charlotte coach Jordan Ingman said. “We didn’t exactly pull an easy first round. (Palmetto Ridge) beat Naples 38-0 in the first game and Naples is a team we have a ton of respect for.
“After that it would be Charlotte or somebody else, so there’s no cupcakes on the schedule.”
DeSoto County, in 5A, will host Rockledge and would play the winner of Estero vs. Cape Coral if it can win.
The Manta Rays of 4A will host Lake Placid and would play the winner of Avon Park vs. American Heritage if they can make it past the Dragons.
City of Palms canceledThe City of Palms has been an annual holiday-season basketball tournament that attracts top talent from across the country for 48 years. But it won’t go on as planned for the first time since its inception this season due to “health and safety concerns.”
Originally scheduled for Dec. 18-23 on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College, the next City of Palms tournament is now planned for Dec. 17-22, 2021.
Charlotte High was the only area team that was invited to play in the tournament this year.
“This was without a doubt the toughest decision we have ever had to make regarding the nation’s top high school basketball tournament,” executive director John Naylor wrote in a press release.