Seffner Christian’s reversal of football fortunes

Seffner Christian head coach Travis Puleo credits his program's turnaround to kids buying in and his assistant coaching staff.  (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Seffner Christian head coach Travis Puleo credits his program's turnaround to kids buying in and his assistant coaching staff. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
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The Class 2A, Region 3 bracket is full of teams that had unexpected results.
Carrollwood Day (6-5), which advanced to Friday's semifinals, has won more games this year than in the previous two seasons combined.

Cambridge Christian (4-7), a fixture in the playoffs in recent years, was supposed to be in rebuilding mode after graduating 12 players, most of whom started. But the Lancers got into the playoffs and beat Fort Myers Evangelical Christian last week, marking the fourth straight season Cambridge has won a postseason game.

Still, nothing can top the turnaround at Seffner Christian.

The Crusaders were 1-9 last year. Now, they are undefeated (the first time in school history) and seeded No. 2 in the region.

"To be honest, there is no way you could have scripted something like this," Seffner Christian coach Travis Puleo said.

Puleo credits the dedication of players to the program's offseason conditioning program and the guidance of the coaching staff, in particular defensive coordinator Devrett Wade and offensive line coach Kelly Everhart.

Wade's defense has set school records for most shutouts (five) and fewest points allowed (58). Under Everhart, a longtime assistant at Plant, the line has paved the way for the offense to average 50 points per game.

"We're blessed to all these pieces and parts come together," Puleo said.

On Friday, the Crusaders will try to win a playoff game for the first time when they host Carrollwood Day in the semifinals.

Region semifinals
All games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted. Admission is $8
Class 7A
Region 2
No. 3 Plant at No. 2 Viera
Region 3
No. 7 Palmetto at No. 6 Bloomingdale
Class 6A
Region 2
No. 6 Lake Weir at No. 2 Armwood
Class 5A
Region 2
No. 4 Baker County at No. 1 Nature Coast
No. 3 North Marion at No. 2 Zephyrhills
Region 3
No. 6 Immokalee at No. 2 Jesuit
No. 8 Jefferson at No. 4 Lakewood
Class 3A
Region 3
No. 4 Tampa Catholic at No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic
No. 6 Calvary Christian at No. 2 Berkeley Prep, 7
Class 2A
Region 2
No. 3 Zephyrhills Christian at No. 2 Foundation Academy
Region 3
No. 5 Cambridge Christian at No. 1 Admiral Farragut
No. 3 Carrollwood Day vs. No. 2 Seffner Christian (at Strawberry Crest)

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