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Quotes of the Game – Dec. 4-5

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Football on FieldHere are area newspaper player and/or coach quotes from the fourth round of the state playoffs (State Semifinals & state championship games)

Raines (Jacksonville) coach Deran Wiley after the Vikings’ 43-23 loss to Booker T. Washington (Miami), despite an early fourth quarter lead, in the 4A state championship game on Saturday night

“It stings.  I ain’t going to lie to you.  We squandered so many chances.  We were right there.” – Florida Times-Union

Vikings’ linebacker Michael Pinckney (seven tackles, an interception & a forced fumble) following the loss to the Tornadoes, who won their 4th straight state title

“We came to play.  We played our hearts out.  We just gave them too many points. That hurt us.” – Florida Times-Union

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) wide receiver D.J. Matthews, who finished with 124 yards on three catches, including a state title game record-tying 90-yard TD, in the Conquerors’ 30-3 win against American Heritage (Delray Beach) en route to the Conquerors’ (14-0) third straight state title in Class 3A

“I felt the soft coverage and Billy Cobb saw me.  From there, all I saw was end zone.  The expectations are definitely set high for next year.  I’ve never made it past the third round.  From Day 1 when I got here, the coaches told me I was going to win a state championship and I got me one today.” – Florida Times-Union

Conquerors’ linebacker Eriq Gilyard on winning a fourth straight next year

“We feel like we could do it.  It’s going to take the same thing as this year, hard work and dedication.” – Florida Times-Union

After his sixth state title, the 58-year old Trinity Christian coach Verlon Dorminey was asked how much longer he left in him to coach

“After that water hit me today, I don’t know if I’ve got much longer.  I thought I was going to die, it took my breath away, I couldn’t breathe.” Florida Times-Union

University Christian (Jacksonville) coach David Penland on Hussein Howe’s four first-half touchdowns and 191 yards rushing on 22 carries in a 61-16 win over Cambridge Christian (Tampa) for the 2A state title

“You win two state championships, get 5,000 yards, this team leans on Hussein and they thrive on him it seems.  He wasn’t going to let us get beat.  This is just an awesome feeling.” – Florida Times-Union

Howe, who finished with 5,026 career yards, also had a team-best nine tackles, including four for a loss, a forced fumble, recovered a fumble, and he recorded a sack

“First I want to give glory to God, without him it wouldn’t be possible.  Starting my career off with a state championship, ending it with a state championship, it feels awesome, it’s so surreal right now.  I thank God and my offensive line for everything.  It means a lot personally.  I had a good career – 5,000 yards is a lot.  I give it all to my coaches and my players.” – Florida Times-Union

Trenton coach Andrew Thomas following the Tigers’ 56-21 win over Port St. Joe in the Class 1A state championship game, giving Thomas his second state title and a 60-5 record in five years

“It is what this group has worked for.  This is the best senior class I’ve ever had.  The leadership and work ethic of these kids, and toughness, is unbelievable.  “To finally get to this moment and face a little adversity early, to be able to respond like that just shows you their character.  This is the best football team I have ever had, no question.” – The Gainesville Sun

Trenton senior LB/FB Kade Rogers on winning the state title

“It feels good, we are blessed to come out on top tonight.  “I think we had a few guys in the back end that got a little star-struck early, then we got focused and played our game.  We all grew up together and had a strong bond. We are just family.” – The Gainesville Sun

Trenton senior Hamp Cheevers, who ran for 201 yards on just 12 carries with three touchdowns and two interceptions

“This win was very important.  We wanted to be remembered as champions and you have to win the last one.  That is what we did.  I just thank God.  We knew early on they were going to hit us in the mouth.  We weren’t going to let that rattle us.  We had to fight and get back to playing Trenton Tiger football and that is what we did.  I love my team and thankful for everything they did.” – The Gainesville Sun

Columbia (Lake City) junior quarterback Davin Schuck after being sacked eight times and throwing four interceptions in a 42-23 loss to Viera in the Class 7A state semifinals

“”It’s hard for a quarterback to get confident when you’re getting pressured all night with all the rushers coming at you.  The line had a hard time stopping their pass rush, but I also made bad decisions, so it’s on me, too.” – The Gainesville Sun

Columbia coach Brian Allen after the Tigers’ finished the season with a 12-2 record and their first state semifinal appearance since 2003 

“I’m extremely proud of my guys, man.  They worked their tails off to be here.  The opportunity was there for the taking, but we just fell a little short.” – Florida Times-Union

Clay (Green Cove Springs) coach Josh Hoekstra after the Blue Devils’ season came to an end in 34-24 loss at No. 3 Wakulla (Crawfordville) in the Class 5A state semifinals 

“We didn’t quit.  We kept fighting until the end, but we just didn’t make enough plays when we needed to.  We lost a couple more guys on offense, but still were moving the ball; really proud of my guys.  We weren’t even supposed to be here.  To finish in the final four after losing 26 seniors and 10 starters, I can’t say enough about our coaches and more importantly this senior class.” – Florida Times-Union

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