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At the start of the season, it appeared the Class 2A, District 5 playoff race was between two teams, Admiral Farragut and Carrollwood Day. Both teams played two weeks ago. The Blue Jackets won so it only seemed natural to skip the formalities and hand them the district title and give CDS the runnerup spot.
Last week, everything changed.
Indian Rocks Christian upset Admiral Farragut. Now, five of the nine teams in 2A-5 have just one district loss. The logjam at the top has created one of the bay area’s most open races for the playoffs.
The emergence of IRC has been the key. Written off as a contender after losing a good portion of its starting lineup, including Missouri recruit Sean Culkin, the Golden Eagles have won four straight. They are doing it with a young set of skill players that includes freshman Zeke McGaughy at tailback. Damian King, a sophomore, has five interceptions, including three last week aginst the Blue Jackets.
“We just had to figure out who we were,” IRC coach Mark Buchanan said. “I think the guys have surprised me with how well they’re playing considering how young we are.”
Another darkhorse contender is Calvary Christian, the team that handed the Golden Eagles their only district loss. The Warriors are led by quarterback Allen Barnes, and his twin brother Derek, a running back. Both played together last week for the first time since the season-opener and helped Calvary to a 37-8 victory over Cambridge.
Here is a breakdown of five teams atop the standings and what their chances are of making the playoffs.
Admiral Farragut: The defending 2A state finalists are in the best position because they have already played Carrollwood and IRC. A win over Calvary on Friday and against Bradenton Christian on Oct. 19 would most likely give the Blue Jackets at least a spot in a tiebreaker.
Bradenton Christian.: Probably the toughest road to make the playoffs with a loss to IRC and games still to be played against Carrollwood Day, AFA and Calvary.
Calvary Christian: The Warriors beat IRC in their season opener. But Calvary still has to get through the tough part of its district schedule with games against AFA, Bradenton Christian and Carrollwood Day.
Carrollwood Day: Two weeks ago, it appeared Carrollwood would have to concede the district title to AFA. But the Patriots are still in the hunt. Big games against Bradenton Christian on Friday, as well as IRC on Oct. 26 and Calvary on Nov. 2 await.
Indian Rocks Christian: The Golden Eagles technically are at the top of the standings because they have more district wins (four) than anyone else. Their district schedule wraps up in three weeks. The biggest game to play is their district finale Oct. 26 against Carrollwood Day. If IRC wins that one, it will have beaten three of the other four teams currently with one loss.