Football: News, notes and stats from the regional quarterfinals

Jon Santucci
Treasure Coast Newspapers

The first round of the FHSAA playoffs is in the books.

A handful of teams — Plantation, Gibbs, Hillsborough and Nease — pulled off big upsets and several other games were decided in the final two minutes.

Here's some quick news, notes and stats from the regional quarterfinals. 

More:Football: Scores and notes from the first round of the FHSAA playoffs

Lake Wales, the No. 5 seed in Region 2-6A, beat Port St. Lucie 35-0 in the regional quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

1. The No. 5 seeds dominates

In Classes 5A-8A, the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game pits the district champion with the lowest RPI against the at-large team with the highest RPI.

In most cases, the matchup is complete mismatch on paper. Turns out it was a mismatch on the field, too.

The No. 5 seed went 12-4 in the regional quarterfinals — including complete sweeps in Classes 8A and 5A. The average margin of victory in those 12 wins was more than 21 points.

The FHSAA may want to consider a different format to ensure the best matchups, including no longer guaranteeing district champions receive a top-four seed.

If district champions automatically received a playoff spot, but the seeds were completely determined by the RPI, the first-round matchups likely would have been much better.

More:Santucci: Want to improve the FHSAA's RPI system? Don't give district champs a top-4 seed

5-seeds vs. 4-seeds in 2021 first round: 

Class 8A: 4-0, 29-point average margin of victory

Class 7A: 1-3, 21-point average margin of victory

Class 6A: 3-1, 21-point average margin of victory

Class 5A: 4-0, 20-point average margin of victory

2. Osceola spoils the RPI party in Class 8A

Speaking of RPI, the top-four teams in every region in Class 8A won their first-round games with one exception: Osceola.

The No. 6 seeded Kowboys beat No. 3 Newsome 28-21 in a Region 3 game, with senior quarterback Chad Mascoe throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Jean Baptiste with 1:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. Osceola finished fifth in Region 3 with a RPI of .635, one-hundredth of a point better than Newsome.

Martin County hosts Viera in a Region 2-7A quarterfinal high school football playoff game on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Stuart. Martin County won 26-15.

3. Class 1A, Region 2-7A went according to script

1A was the only classification in the state where the higher-seeded team won every game. Only three games in Class 1A were decided by six points or less.

Class 3A had almost every higher-seeded team win, but No. 6 Tampa Catholic upset No. 3 Carrollwood Day. Eric Fidalgo's 26-yard field goal with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter was the difference in the Crusaders' 26-25 win.

Only one region in Classes 5A-8A — 2-7A — saw the higher-seeded team win all four quarterfinal games. In Region 2-5A, three lower-seeded teams advanced to the semifinals. The only higher-seeded team to win in that region was No. 1 Merritt Island.

Dunbar's season was stopped short as the fell to Plantation 44-20 in their first round playoff game.

4. Plantation’s upset was the biggest in the state

No matter how you look at it, brackets or the RPI, the Colonels win against previously undefeated Dunbar in Region 4-6A was the biggest upset on Friday. No. 8 Plantation beat No. 1 Dunbar 44-20.

Dunbar finished the regular season with fifth-highest RPI in the state (.731) and was the No. 1 overall seed in Class 6A. Plantation finished the regular season 7-2, but the Colonels low strength of schedule had them finish with an RPI of .555 — the lowest of any at-large team in 6A.

The Colonels never trailed against Dunbar and led by double digits for all but four minutes in the second half.

More:Dunbar falls to Plantation in first round playoff game