By Official Florida FC
Tampa Catholic has knocked on the door four times. Will 2021 be the year the Crusaders are let into the party that is a FHSAA boys soccer champion?
Tampa Catholic is 20-2 and enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak. The two teams that beat Catholic this season, Tampa Jesuit (13-1-2, Class 5A) and New Port Richey Mitchell (16-6-1, Class 6A), might mess around and win state championships in their respective classifications.
The Crusaders begin their quest for the program’s first boys soccer state championship at home against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney. Catholic whalloped the Cougars 4-0 back in November and will be favored to end Mooney’s season with a similar result.
Catholic may be the favorite, but the Crusaders may be tested by whoever comes out of Region 1. South Walton is 16-2 with its only two losses coming to Panama City Beach Arnold. Jacksonville Bolles may have an underwhelming record, by their standards, at 5-4-5; but, the Bulldogs have historically been a tough out in the postseason.
Delray Beach American Heritage (7-0-3) and Trinity Prep appear to be the two best teams in Reion 3-3A. But, the former has not ventured beyond South Florida this season. Meanwhile, Trinity Prep has thumped a pair of district champions from larger classifications en route to a 14-1-1 record, a plus-55 goal difference and the program’s first district championship in a decade.
Regardless of what happens this month, there will be a new Class 3A state champion.
Reigning state champions University School only played one match this year and did not compete in its district tournament. The Sharks, who finished 21-0-2 in 2020, were waylaid by the coronavirus pandemic and the graduation of 12 seniors from last year’s undefeated team.
University School may not be in the postseason, but Marathon is. The Dolphins (7-4) secured their first district championship in school history with a 5-1 win over Homestead Keys Gate on Feb. 5.