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Bradford (Starke) advances to first football state semifinal in 13 years


Bradford_TornadoesSTARKE – With the season on the line, it was a senior who made some of the biggest plays in Bradford’s 24-14 win against visiting Dunnellon in the Class 4A-Region 2 Final.

Quarterback Zion Barber scored the first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run around right end on 4th-and-goal on the Tornadoes’ first offensive possession of the game to give Bradford (10-1) an early 7-0 lead.

Barber, who ran for 112 yards on 18 carries, added a 20-yard field goal for a 10-8 lead with 4:56 to play in the first half.

But it was his 14-yard scoring toss to sophomore Nedro Davis with 27 seconds to play in the opening half that proved to be the difference in the game.  That gave the Tornadoes a 17-8 lead in a game they never trailed again.

Barber and Davis hooked up again on a 35-yard scoring pass with 8:24 to play in third quarter for a double-digit lead.

“(Barber) knew what we needed to get to this point, and he executed,” first-year head coach Brian Tomlinson told the Gainesville Sun. “He’s a tremendous leader who takes responsibility upon himself. I love him and all of these guys.”

Bradford, winners of 10 in a row, advances to its first state semifinal since 2004.

They will host Raines (Jacksonville) in the Class 4A state semifinals on Friday, November 24.  The Vikings (11-1) defeated West Nassau (Callahan), 57-15, behind running back Brandon Marshall’s 201 yards.

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