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OldSchoolLion

7 Great FL HS Programs That Collapsed

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Over the years, we have seen a number of "flash in the pan" teams that have collapsed.  The following 7 programs all had extended reigns of dominance before collapsing.

Bartow-Between 1977-2006, Bartow was a regular in the playoffs, making the playoffs 18 years and winning 25 playoff games.  During those years, they won 7 region titles and 3 state titles(1977, 1985, 1996).  Since 2006, the program has declined.  Over the past 9 years, Bartow has won only 32 games.  Their last winning season was in 2009 and their last playoff win came in 2006.  This past season, the program may have hit rock bottom.  Bartow finished 0-10 and was outscored by opponents 468-70.   

Blanche Ely-Ely used to be a south Florida powerhouse.  Between 1987-2005, Ely was a regular in the playoffs, making the playoffs 14 years and winning 29 playoff games.  During those years, they won 6 region titles and appeared in 2 state finals, winning the 5A title in 2002.  Ely faced extremely tough competition during its playoff runs, and battled Dillard and St Thomas for Broward County supremacy.  Over the past 5 years, Ely has won only 14 games.  This past season they finished 1-9 and averaged less than 7 points per game.  They lost to rival Dillard by a score of 77-0.  

Bradenton Southeast-Southeast was one of the top programs in the state in the 80's and 90's and was recognized nationally for its accomplishments.  Between 1983-2004, under coaching legend Paul Maechtle, Southeast made 19 playoff appearances and won 35 playoff games.   During those years, they won 7 region titles and made 5 title game appearances, winning back-to-back state titles in 1993 and 1994.  Southeast has not had a winning season since 2013 and has advanced past the first round of the playoffs only once in the past 10 years.

Clewiston-Clewiston was a regular in the playoffs during the 80's, 90's and 00's.  If there is any team on this list that can call itself a "legacy" program, it is the Tigers.  Coaching legend Al Morrell led the Tigers in the 80's and 90's.  During those 3 decades, Clewiston won 34 playoff games, 8 region titles and had 6 title game appearances.  Over the past 4 seasons, Clewiston has struggled, at least by Clewiston standards.  They made the playoffs just once, getting blown out in the first round in 2016.  This past season, in which they finished 2-8, was one of their worst performances in recent memory.  The Tigers have won only 2 playoff games in the past 10 seasons.  

Haines City-Haines City was a very strong program in the early 70's and throughout the 90's.  In the early 70's, the Hornets made 2 title game appearances, winning it all in 1973.  They won 9 playoff games in the 90's and made a title game appearance in 1991.  During those 2 time frames, the Hornets won 6 region titles.  The Hornets were 5-33 over the past 4 seasons.  They have not won a playoff game since 2000.

Springfield Rutherford-Under Coach Steve Hardin between the years of 1993-2002, Rutherford was an absolute powerhouse.  They were even making noise on the national scene.  During those years, they won 21 playoff games, 5 region titles and made 2 title game appearances.  Over the past 5 years, Rutherford is 11-38 and has not won a playoff game since 2002.   

Warner Christian-Between 2005-2014, Warner Christian was a small school power, winning 20 playoff games and making 3 title game appearances. Over the past 5 seasons, the Eagles are 13-38.  This past season, the Eagles were 0-10(one forfeit), and were shut out in 7 of 9 games played on the field.  They scored a total of 26 points combined and allowed opponents an average of 45 points per game. 

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Southeast had a lot of different circumstances that caused it to fall from the ranks of perennial state powerhouse.

1.) Creation of 3 high schools, that pull from areas that during Southeast hey day were areas that provided students/athletes to Southeast.

2.) Those same areas were areas where influential parental/booster support would have also come from.

3.) I knew several parents of football players during coach Maechtle's last years there, and their unanimous sentiment was that coach Maechtle no longer had institutional control of the program and that those that were in control were causing program chaos that filtered all the way to the players. Obviously coach Maechtle hasn't given up on coaching or retired, as he is currently the HBC at Cardinal Mooney in Sarasota......which to me lends its self to the sentiments that were expressed to me about general chaos in the football program, because he was no longer in control of the program when coach Maechtle stepped away.

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You could probably add Orlando Evans to that list. In 1991 it was co-state champion and in the 1980s through 2001 was a perennial playoff contender. Today, Evans struggles to win two games in a season. It is not as if athletes are not there. Basketball still does pretty well and the soccer program has had some success over the past 10 seasons. 

A good staff with the commitment and administrative buy in, could potentially return Evans to playoff contender status. 

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6 hours ago, OldSchoolLion said:

Over the years, we have seen a number of "flash in the pan" teams that have collapsed.  The following 7 programs all had extended reigns of dominance before collapsing.

Bradenton Southeast-Southeast was one of the top programs in the state in the 80's and 90's and was recognized nationally for its accomplishments.  Between 1983-2004, under coaching legend Paul Maechtle, Southeast made 19 playoff appearances and won 35 playoff games.   During those years, they won 7 region titles and made 5 title game appearances, winning back-to-back state titles in 1993 and 1994.  Southeast has not had a winning season since 2013 and has advanced past the first round of the playoffs only once in the past 10 years.

 

 

5 hours ago, FL_HS_football said:

Southeast had a lot of different circumstances that caused it to fall from the ranks of perennial state powerhouse.

1.) Creation of 3 high schools, that pull from areas that during Southeast hey day were areas that provided students/athletes to Southeast.

2.) Those same areas were areas where influential parental/booster support would have also come from.

3.) I knew several parents of football players during coach Maechtle's last years there, and their unanimous sentiment was that coach Maechtle no longer had institutional control of the program and that those that were in control were causing program chaos that filtered all the way to the players. Obviously coach Maechtle hasn't given up on coaching or retired, as he is currently the HBC at Cardinal Mooney in Sarasota......which to me lends its self to the sentiments that were expressed to me about general chaos in the football program, because he was no longer in control of the program when coach Maechtle stepped away.

Sad isn't it?  Truthfully, Southeast is not that bad of a program.  They made the playoffs in 2015 with a 5-5 record and were on track to a winning season in 2017 before forfeiting several games.  20016 & 2018 they were average.  If they just stay the course I expect them to be back to winning soon. 

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Hate that Ely is so weak.   I remember when STA had to play Ely they were a serious force.   I think Ely would have done well in some other divisions around 2005-20010 when STA was just dominant.   Ely gave them some of the closest games in the playoffs.   

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18 hours ago, DarterBlue2 said:

You could probably add Orlando Evans to that list. In 1991 it was co-state champion and in the 1980s through 2001 was a perennial playoff contender. Today, Evans struggles to win two games in a season. It is not as if athletes are not there. Basketball still does pretty well and the soccer program has had some success over the past 10 seasons. 

A good staff with the commitment and administrative buy in, could potentially return Evans to playoff contender status. 

on that note, it wasnt that long ago one of the gierke brothers had them back to like 10-0 or something.  they kept the kids from the area from transferring to surrounding schools.  and some great coaching, kids bought in and they were really good.  there was a newspaper article about the quick turnaround, 1-9,6-4,9-1 or something like that.  then he got fired?  and they fell apart again

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11 hours ago, h8r said:

on that note, it wasnt that long ago one of the gierke brothers had them back to like 10-0 or something.  they kept the kids from the area from transferring to surrounding schools.  and some great coaching, kids bought in and they were really good.  there was a newspaper article about the quick turnaround, 1-9,6-4,9-1 or something like that.  then he got fired?  and they fell apart again

Chip G had health issues and between that and a lack of administrative support when the Olympia principal came over (she had run Bob Head away from Olympia), he called it a day. Some of the staff he had at Evans for that brief run are now at Wekiva and have created a thorn for the Darters. 

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Orlando Evan's for sure.  I remember one year (late 80's) they had the largest offensive line in FOOTBALL....yes ALL of football.  Saw the big boys myself when they played Vero Beach back in the day.  

Ft Lauderdale Dillard:  man....those cats could play.  Fast...Fast...Fast.   

Miami Southridge:  Not sure if they belong here or not, but those Davis Brothers could really play back in the day.  Not hearing much from them as much as we used to.  

Okeechobee:  Could always hold their own against anyone.  Big country boys could just beat you up.  

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16 minutes ago, Ric Flair said:

Orlando Evan's for sure.  I remember one year (late 80's) they had the largest offensive line in FOOTBALL....yes ALL of football.  Saw the big boys myself when they played Vero Beach back in the day.  

Ft Lauderdale Dillard:  man....those cats could play.  Fast...Fast...Fast.   

Miami Southridge:  Not sure if they belong here or not, but those Davis Brothers could really play back in the day.  Not hearing much from them as much as we used to.  

Okeechobee:  Could always hold their own against anyone.  Big country boys could just beat you up.  

Evans certainly dropped off.  The 7 schools above all had 5 or more region titles during their stretches, whereas Evan has only won 2 region titles in the history of the school.  Am not sure I would put them in the same category as those in terms of "greatness."  Regardless, am glad you and Darter brought them up!  

Dillard dropped off in the mid 2000's, but I wouldn't consider it a program "collapse,"...at least not to the same extent as those above.  Dillard has had some reasonable good seasons since then, and they have not experienced multiple losing seasons in a row.  

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