Florida High falters in overtime to lose FHSAA 2S Championship, 38-31 against Cocoa

The Florida High Seminoles' defense lines up against the Cocoa Tigers in the FHSAA 2S State...
The Florida High Seminoles' defense lines up against the Cocoa Tigers in the FHSAA 2S State Title game at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee, FL(Ryan Kelly | WCTV)
Published: Dec. 10, 2022 at 1:47 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Four quarters and overtime weren’t enough for the Florida High Seminoles to complete a perfect season and claim their first ever state title, the ‘Noles putting the ball on the ground and turning over to fall to the Cocoa Tigers 38-31 at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee.

Cocoa (11-3) would score the only points of the first quarter courtesy a 25 yard field goal from the boot of Mao Saito to make it 3-0. FSUS (14-1) would respond in the next frame, eventually finding paydirt off a hard, two yard run from Jalon Carter to pull ahead 7-3 in the second quarter.

From there the Tigers and ‘Noles would trade scores before the half with Cocoa’s Blake Boda finding CJ Bragg for a 25 yard score followed by Jeremy Johnston finding Ashton Hampton on a wide open slant in the middle of the field for 61 yards to give Florida High a 14-10 lead at intermission.

After a Cocoa touchdown early out of the break, the Seminoles put themselves in a deeper hole as Johnson tossed a 44 yard interception returned by Caleb Dobbs for a score, putting FSUS in a 24-14 deficit. From there however the ‘Noles responded as star tailback Micahi Danzy scored a 20 yard rushing TD to cut the lead to just three.

Boda would then toss another score to Dayday Farmer which the Seminoles would answer with a field goal to make the score 31-24 in the final minutes of regulation.

The Seminoles would get the ball back with a chance to tie the game, eventually relying on last second heroics on fourth and 10 as Johnston found runningback Rhyder Poppell for a touchdown with just three seconds remaining. Jarrod Hickman’s squad would elect to kick a PAT and end regulation in a 31-31 tie to force overtime.

Cocoa would score immediately off a QB keeper from Boda putting the pressure on the Seminoles to match. On second down FSUS would have trouble handing the ball off, putting the ball on the ground which the Tigers would ponce on, ending the game and Florida High’s long gestating title hopes.

“I think this group is the 2022 state champions,” Said a dejected Hickman of his team’s valiant effort. “It won’t say it [on the scoreboard] but they deserved it, they earned it, it doesn’t make any sense but that’s life and I couldn’t be more proud of a group, alumni and coaches that deserve this.”