Which Polk football teams are above or below expectations?

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The word expected is often used in sports – the team did better than expected, as expected or not as well as expected.

Expected by whom?

Fans, coaches, writers, take your pick, even if the expectations are often not the same. And those expectations, good or bad, aren’t always from the fans but, as too many players and coaches like to say, it is.

So let’s take a look at some of the Polk County football teams and see if they behave as expected. Oh, and since this is my column, the expectations – good or bad – are mine.

I predicted Lake Gibson would make it to the State Championship game, so the fact that they look set to win the District title could mean they are doing as planned so far. On the other hand, while I didn’t necessarily think they would be undefeated, I also didn’t expect them to suffer three losses.

Lakeland, with one loss, behaves as expected. I thought Lakeland could beat Lake Gibson, but I thought it was a draw that could go both ways.

Auburndale is doing better than expected. The Bloodhounds took a heavy blow to graduate, but they’ve been playing some of their best football in years.

Lake Wales is doing as expected. While the Highlanders lost a lot upon graduation, their losses are against Lakeland and Auburndale and they could finish 7-3 or 8-2. At the start of the season, 7-3 seemed like a reasonable record.

Ridge Community struggles to complete .500. The Bolts played a tough schedule, but I think maybe I overestimated them. They have talent, but the experience factor has not been sufficiently taken into account.

Lakeland Christian is doing better than expected. The Vikings had to completely rebuild themselves on both sides of the ball. I thought they would make the playoffs, but they’re trying their first season unbeaten.

As for me, I almost did as planned last week. I expect perfection and finished 10-2 to move up to 93-33 (.738) for the season.

This week’s choices:

Lakeland (6-1) at Bartow (4-3): Bartow needs an upheaval to avoid a poor record. Lakeland needs a win to keep his momentum going into the playoffs in a few weeks. Lakeland, 35-21.

Gibson Lake (5-3) to Kathleen (2-5): The Braves need a win to clinch the district title. The Red Devils need to save their season. Gibson Lake, 48-14.

Auburndale (7-0) at Melbourne Eau Gallie (3-4): Auburndale played great football so it would be a bad time to have a setback. Auburndale, 42-14.

Lake Wales (5-2) at Palm Bay Heritage (5-2): The Highlanders almost scored a spectacular victory in the final practice last week. It shouldn’t be that close this week. Lake of Wales, 35-14.

Orlando Edgewater (7-1) at Ridge Community (3-4): The Bolts will need to win their last two games to save a winning season, because upset Edgewater is a long shot. Edgewater, 38-14.

Clearwater Calvary Christian (3-4) at Lakeland Christian (7-0): The road is open for the Vikings to end the season undefeated. LCS, 35-7.

Winter Haven (1-7) at Tampa Catholic (3-3): The Blue Devils are probably better than 1-7 as they kept games close before their opponents finally pulled out. Tampa Catholic, 24-21.

Fort Meade (4-3) to South East Bradenton (3-3): The Miners have a future star in eighth-year quarterback Dereon Coleman. Southeast, 28-14.

In other games: George Jenkins on DeSoto County, Lake Region on Gateway, Frostproof on Mulberry, Haines City on Tenoroc, Davenport on Winter Garden Horizon, Kissimmee Liberty on Discovery, Santa Fe Catholic on Cocoa Beach.

Roy Fuoco can be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7526. Follow him on Twitter: @RoyFuoco.

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