There's nothing quite like the playoffs in sports.
The thrill of knockout competition - knowing that a loss will end your season, but a win would extend it for at least one more game.
Underdogs are ready to cause upsets, while favorites want to prove their regular season success was no fluke.
And you can't deny that the level of rugby takes a step up when this much is on the line.
Note from the publisher: The Sideline Whisperer is a member of our Florida Rugby Community who will remain anonymous.
Posted on 4/2/2014 4:04:34 PM
This isn't the first year we've had Florida playoffs by any
means, but I think this is the first time in a while that the D2 winner only
will progress to the first stage of the USA Rugby national championship
stepladder. If you remember last year, the Florida D2 playoffs were just
something to fill in the gap between the end of our regular season and the
first-round South games. Do you remember who won the D2 Florida playoffs in
2013? We'll get to that just below.
#4 Tampa Krewe at #1 Miami RFC - Krewe lost their
first two games of the season back in November to a pair of teams who missed
out on the playoffs (Naples and Tridents), but then went 6-2 the rest of the
way to secure the fourth seed. Those of you who were paying attention last
season will remember that Krewe beat Boca Raton and Naples to win the Florida
Cup playoffs. So, can they do it again this year? Well, the positive is that
they beat Miami in Tampa 34-23 just over a month ago. However, in the game
played in Miami back in February, the Bumblebees came out on top 42-15. Krewe
were also handily spanked by Boca on the road four weeks ago and finished the
year 1-4 away from Tampa, with their only road win a three-point squeak past
Orlando. Miami, meanwhile, didn't suffer another loss all season and averaged
34.3 points a game in their four home wins (not including one forfeit win).
While you have to think Krewe will try to bring down the best team they can for
this playoff contest, I just don't think it will be nearly enough to
overcome the black and yellow. Miami RFC 35, Krewe 17
#3 Fort Lauderdale at #2 Boca Raton - Both of these
sides come into their semifinal playing great rugby over the last few months.
The Knights have won five in a row, but you need to realize that all of those
wins came against teams that didn't make the postseason (Tridents x2, Naples,
Daytona and Jacksonville) and they went 1-3 against the other playoff teams
this season. Meanwhile, like Krewe, Boca lost their first two games of the
season (to Fort Lauderdale and Miami), but the Bucs haven't lost since, winning
eight straight fixtures to secure the home-field advantage here. The last time
these two fierce rivals met, back on Feb. 1, Boca came out on top 13-3, while
the Knights won 25-16 in November. If you're not doing anything else on
Saturday, I implore you to check out this game, which should feature a large,
raucous crowd and two teams that don't like each other battling it out for a
spot in next week's finals. I'm going with the home team here in a tight
affair. Boca Raton 24, Fort Lauderdale 20
#4 Brevard at #1 Sarasota - The Surge have been a
revelation under former Krewe coach Dai Morgan, winning all of their D3
contests and the All-Florida Weekend title. They also won the first meeting
between these two teams 52-11. Gainesville and Palm Beach kept things
respectable against the Surge, but the SW boys will be heavy favorites to reach
the CR stage in D3. Brevard went 3-3 in the regular season, losing once each to
the other three playoff teams. Surge will have no trouble taking this one
handily. Sarasota 49, Brevard 5
#3 Palm Beach at #2 Gainesville - The Panthers take
their second trip north to Gainesville in the space of four weeks, having lost
to the Hogs 24-15 on March 15. These two teams, along with Sarasota, have been
the class of the division all season, and I expect a very close contest between
these two squads again on Saturday. Will the men in black get revenge and move
on? No, I don't think so. Gainesville 22, Palm Beach 19
Last Week: 7-0
Season: 49-13 (79%)
All-Time: 98-31 (76%)