For the teams who are off to the playoffs, the final week of the regular season probably feels like the last few weeks of college, where you have already earned enough credits to graduate but are still plodding through those pesky little electives.
You did the work. You accomplished the mission.
Bring on the next chapter.
This week, however, feels a little different, for there is nothing insignificant and meaningless about Manatee heading to Venice, Braden River hosting Arcadia DeSoto, Palmetto welcoming Southeast, and Cardinal Mooney meeting up with neighboring Booker.
With the exception of the Tigers, the area's playoff teams close the regular season against teams also good enough to make the playoffs. And Palmetto doesn't exactly have an easy draw in the Seminoles, who have lost three of the past four games by six points or fewer. Better ball protection and a better bounce this or way or that and Southeast rather than DeSoto could be carrying the Class 5A-District 13 trophy into next week's region openers.
This is a good thing. Manatee coach John Booth called the Venice game a good dress rehearsal for what should be a rugged road through the Class 8A-Region 2 bracket, and providing everyone gets out of these games healthy, there is no better way to prepare for a playoff game than playing a team that will push you.
And though the standings are set, there is still plenty to play for in these games. Manatee hasn't lost a regular-season game to a Florida school since 2008 and doesn't want to see that streak end at the hands of Venice, which has become one of the Hurricanes' fiercest rivals.
Braden River would love to follow the program's first district title by clinching its first perfect regular season. Palmetto is looking for a jolt following last week's disappointing loss in East Manatee with the Class 7A-District 10 title on the line.
And the Cougars (7-2) haven't won at least eight games in a season since the 2006 team reached the Class 2B final four. What better time to get over that hump than the week before the beginning of the postseason.
All these teams have goals that far extend past Friday night. Their eyes are set on deep runs through the tournament with a possible stop at the Florida Citrus Bowl with the state championship at stake.
But for the last week of the regular season, these schedules pack quite a punch.
Line 'em up and have some fun.
Truancy isn't advised.
John Lembo, prep sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLembo1878.