FHSAA Football State Championship Game Recaps

Class 8A – Plant (Tampa) 31, Miramar 20

Wesley Bullock had 26 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown, while the defense recorded seven sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, and limited Miramar to just 145 total yards, as the Panthers upset the top-ranked Patriots, ranked third nationally according to USA Today. Plant (14-1) took home its fourth state title in six years (2006, 2008, 2009 & 2011). Miramar (13-1) had rallied from a 24-7 halftime deficit to within four, 24-20, late in the third quarter but couldn’t overcome a critical fumble in the fourth quarter that was recovered by Plant in the end zone for the game’s decisive score.

Class 7A – Manatee (Bradenton) 40, First Coast (Jacksonville) 0

Fifth-ranked Manatee won its fifth state title, its first since 1992, by dominating in all phases of the game against the previously unbeaten and top-ranked Bucs (13-1), who were making their first-ever finals appearance and were trying to become the first Duval County public school since Raines (1997) to bring home a state title. The Hurricanes outgained the Bucs 429-108, totaled 22 first downs to eight and converted 9-of-15 third-down attempts while also possessing the ball for 32 minutes. Quarterback Cord Sandberg finished with 258 yards of offense for the Hurricanes (13-2), who have won all five of their titles under Coach Joe Kinnan and finished undefeated against Florida schools this year.

Class 6A* – Armwood (Seffner) 40, Miami Central 31

University of Florida commit Matt Jones led the way with 161 all-purpose yards, including an 80-yard touchdown catch, plus the defense added two scores, as the top-ranked Hawks (15-0) defeated defending 6A champion Miami Central (13-1), ranked second, to earn its third state title in school history (2003, 2004 & 2011). Junior quarterback/receiver Alvin Bailey accounted for three scores for Armwood.

*The Florida High School Athletic Association is investigating Armwood over the residency status of a transfer offensive lineman, Jack Lightsey, and that probe recently expanded to include other players. If the FHSAA finds ineligible players, Armwood would be required to forfeit its victories.

Class 5A – Miami Norland 38, Wakulla (Crawfordville) 0

University of Miami commit Duke Johnson turned in 266 all-purpose yards, five touchdowns and an MVP performance in leading the Vikings (15-0), ranked eighth nationally by ESPN, to its first unbeaten season and second state title. Johnson, the state’s 5A Player-of-the-Year and a Florida Mr. Football finalist, finished his senior campaign with 208 carries, 2,087 yards and 29 touchdowns to rank ninth all-time in Dade County history. His career total of 504 carries for 5,109 yards and 70 touchdowns rank third all-time.

Class 4A – Bolles (Jacksonville) 33, Booker T. Washington (Miami) 25

The second-ranked ‘Dogs (13-1) rallied from a 25-12 fourth quarter deficit and scored the final 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat top-ranked Washington (12-2). It was the 11th state title for Bolles, its 10th under Coach Corky Rogers, who passed George Smith for most post-season wins. Junior running back Tim Betros led the Bulldogs ground game with a game-high 117 yards on 14 carries, including the decisive score – a 33-yard TD run – in winning his second state title.

Class 3A – American Heritage (Delray Beach) 30, Madison County 3

Junior Greg Bryant (being recruited by Florida, Georgia LSU & Alabama among others) rushed for 247 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries to lead the #3 Stallions (12-1) over the 2nd-ranked Cowboys. Junior Tommie Young and Sophomore Deonshay Wells each finished with over 1,000 yards rushing as the Cowboys got back to the finals for the first time four years.

Class 2A – North Florida Christian (Tall.) 69, Admiral Farragut (St. Pete) 0

The top-ranked Eagles (13-0) won their seventh state title in school history (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008 & 2011) behind dual-threat quarterback Matt Dobson and a dominating defense. Dobson (being recruited by Georgia Tech, Navy and Western Kentucky, among others) completed 7-of-9 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns and also carried the ball six times for 82 yards and a score. Meanwhile, NFC held the Blue Jackets, who were making their first-ever finals appearance, to just 121 yards of total offense.

Class 1A – Jefferson County (Monticello) 47, Chipley 13

Sophomore Ladarian Smiley caught five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a 72-yard punt return for a score, as the Tigers (9-5) secured their sixth state title in school history and their first since 1991. Senior Alphonso Footman had 19 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while younger brother Lenorris, a junior, completed 8-of-12 for 145 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who scored 40 unanswered points after a scoreless first quarter.