Well since it’s legal now for everyone to recruit and open school choice it’s more difficult for a private school to assemble talent. They have to be all in like a St Thomas and kids have to pay nothing to attend. No way kids are going to pay 3-4K a year to go to Trinity when they could go to Vanguard. Let’s not pretend that the kids that are 4-5 stars actually go for the education. They are going to play on a all star team that will win. Vanguard has been loaded with talent the last few years and underachieved but kids like to play with other “stars”. Also there isn’t any state retirement at Trinity and I know that Union pays much better as well. I saw two of Trinity’s D1 athletes transferred out the other day. I was told it was because of the cost of tuition. Can’t see them getting back to the Brantley days like that.
I was around when OTC was playing those teams, these new OTC teams are not on that level. Don't get me wrong they are good, but they just aren't the same.
In 2005, OTC struggled with Union County (twice) (Union was good then with CJ Spiller) and Pahokee on their way to a 14-0 season.
In 2006, OTC goes 13-1 with a loss in the state championship to Pahokee.
In 2007, Coach Bell is gone, schedule is upgraded, and OTC struggles to 7-5 including two losses to Newberry and a loss to Union County.
In 2008, OTC goes 12-2 with a loss against Mainland and Pahokee (again).
In 2009, OTC goes 9-3 with loses against Bolles, Tampa Catholic, and Gainesville.
in 2010, OTC goes 14-0 beats some impressive teams along the way including a Derrick Henry led Yulee team, Bolles, and University School (when University School was doing it's thing).
in 2011, OTC goes 7-5 including losing to some local schools (Vanguard, North Marion, Gainesville).
In 2012, OTC goes 8-5.
In 2013, OTC goes 8-4.
In 2014, OTC goes 10-2 against a fairly easy schedule to lose to the developing juggernaut of Trinity Christian.
In 2015, OTC goes 4-8 (including a loss to Lake Weir)
In 2016, OTC goes 4-5.
In 2017, OTC goes 5-3 (misses playoffs).
In 2018, OTC goes 5-5 (misses playoffs).
In 2019, OTC goes 8-4 with an impressive home playoff win against Trinity Christian (Jax).
So why go through the last few years, OTC's successes are a long time ago of when they were a dominant beast.
I think partially what has happened is that Vanguard has stabilized it's football program. Notice the worse years of Vanguard coincide with the best years of OTC. There was a reason that OTC was called the Marion County All-Stars for a while. As long as Vanguard continues to have a solid program, OTC won't get the 1 or 2 additional star players they need to make them a state finalist. They will continue to be good, but not able to overcome some of the recruiting powerhouses. Additionally, if you go back to the years of 2B, it was made up of a lot of the larger 1A schools today. You weren't playing Trinity Christian, Pensacola Catholic, Florida High, Chaminade-Madonna to win the state, the competition was easier. It is telling that since they did away with 2B that Trinity has struggled with consistency.
Maybe you were not around when the Celtics were able to take on anybody and either defeat them or compete with them. Teams like TCA, Bolles, Jesuit, Gainesville, Vanguard, Pahokee, IMG, East Lake, Palmetto, Madison, University, Booker, and Mainland. All good teams and most of them in higher classifications. So, going up against Chaminade would not be something that is uncharacteristic of the Celtics. I'm really disappointed in Coach Thomas's decision to leave Trinity just when the team was getting ready to make some real noise. He already had the players at Trinity.
If you look at Marion County, they have a different situation where all team sports are paid the same as football coaches (except soccer and volleyball). The number has been $5,000 since 2007 and I willing to bet the reason why the basketball coach and the football coach are equal has to do with the work the Vanguard Basketball Coach Haley did in creating a program and pushing for higher pay.