All good things must come to an end, but the final weekend of the 2015 season should provide us with four games that will give us plenty to be excited about as we head into the offseason. Half of the eight teams are “new blood” while the other four are regular visitors to the Orlando area this time of year. We’ve added some quotes from the respective coaches in order to give you some perspective so enjoy. Grab your popcorn and settle in for the final Friday edition of BCP’s Friday Fireworks! Light ’em up!
BISHOP MOORE HORNETS (13-1) vs. WAKULLA WAR EAGLES (13-1) – CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Hornets haven’t played for a ring since the 60’s while the War Eagles were in this position on 2011. Things didn’t go so well for Wakulla that afternoon as they ran into a Norland squad that ran them into the ground with Duke Johnson. Bishop Moore brings in a three-headed monster in the rushing game while Wakulla boasts one of the most-exciting QB-WR combos in Felipe Franks and Keith Gavin. Does the pressure get to Bishop Moore playing in front of their home crowd? Does the previous experience play a huge part for Wakulla? Those questions will be answered this afternoon. If the Hornets start strong and force Franks from the pocket where he sometimes looks uncomfortable, they’ve got more than a shot–they’ll probably win. If the Hornets can’t get to Franks and he has time, regardless of how good B-Moore’s secondary is, they’ll watch Keith Gavin possibly break records and will have to score points in bunches just to keep up. Light the fuse!
Hornets HC: Matt Hedrick – “At the end of the day–when you have a lot of talented players, you’ve got a really good chance at being successful. They only threw the ball 12 times against Clay in the semifinal game–they really aren’t a pass-heavy team–they may be against us, though–you never know. We’ve had some success in terms of a bend-but-not-break mentality this season–we’ve given up some yardage and some points, but we have a really good secondary and hopefully we can find some ways to make it difficult for them to throw the ball.
War Eagles HC: Scott Klees -“Well the first time (in 2011) we really didn’t know what to expect–playing at one o’clock was learning experience in-and-of-itself. This time, we’re a little more prepared. We know what the FHSAA expects from us in terms of when to arrive to the stadium. We know what to expect. We’ve already played a one o’clock game this year, the first game of the year–also, during the holidays over Thanksgiving we practiced every day at that time for that very reason.”
ARMWOOD HAWKS (14-0) vs. MIAMI CENTRAL ROCKETS (11-2) – CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
This is beginning to get a little predictable fellas, don’t ya think?!? Armwood HC Sean Callahan has probably had enough of running into this squad at this stage of the postseason, but he probably wants it no other way since the Hawks aren’t in the business of backing down from a fight. Both teams bring youth, especially Armwood. Both teams have almost “quietly” plowed through their opponents this season, and there’s a feeling that we’ve yet to see each squad even play their best games of the season respectively. That time? This Saturday in Orlando. Once again, most of the folks that live south of the I-4 corridor and most specifically in the 305 give the Hawks very little chance against their boys, but this ain’t your Mama and Daddy’s Armwood of the past. All things considered, this game might be one of the toughest to predict in the entire eight classes worth of games. Let’s have a little fun, shall we? Light the fuse!
Hawks HC: Sean Callahan -“Third year in a row and we’re like a glutton for punishment with this group (Miami Central) so we’re going to have to figure something out come this Saturday, but we’re really excited–playing a quality program like Miami Central is quite a challenge and we look forward to it. Usually they come in undefeated, but this year they played a nationally-ranked team like DeMatha and then they had that loss to Carol City. Because coach (Roland) Smith chose to go out of state and play a team like DeMatha–it’s only made his team better, so we see a group that’s as good as it’s ever been actually.”
Rockets HC: Roland Smith -“We’re really excited about playing Armwood. We have a ton of respect for what coach Sean Callahan has done with that program, anytime a team can go to a state championship game four times recently like they’ve done–it says a lot about their program and what they do. We’ve seen the film and they’re explosive, so we’ve got our hands full this Saturday.”
VIERA HAWKS (10-4) vs. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (12-1) – CLASS 7A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
David meet Goliath–Goliath, this is David. He’ll be trying to throw rocks at you–careful. The Hawks make the relatively short trip from the Space Coast against an Aquinas team that is petitioning the FHSAA to have its equipment just kept in storage for when they inevitably make their return next December. Aquinas comes into this game with a few bumps and bruises, and are without some of their biggest names–well Nick Bosa–that name. Bosa’s not the only though–and all Viera’s done this season is go and play Allen (Texas) along with road trip at Kathleen, a game against Cocoa–and most importantly, wins versus Lakeland and Lake City-Columbia in impressive fashion. The Hawks throw it all over the field, and will try to get flying early, because the Raiders brought their wing-clippers and are ninjas with those blades. Light the fuse!
Hawks HC: Kevin Mays -“Obviously–anytime you make it to a state championship game, people get really excited. I don’t how many people around here thought we’d make it to this point, but I’ve had a good core group of guys since last January that bought-in and they’ve worked hard and have rewarded themselves with this trip to Orlando to play for a state championship. We saw it when they were freshman that they might be special. Like I said, we got them to buy-in and we went from 1-9, to 8-2, to 10-0, and this year, our schedule was a lot tougher going 6-4, but since our bye week, we’ve got this group to come back together and now we’ve come this far.”
Raiders HC: Roger Harriott -“As an alum, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to come back and work for my previous coaches. It’s been an unbelievable blessing so far for me. This is more of an expectation at St. Thomas to play for a state championship, so we consider ourselves fortunate to be in this position after enduring throughout the season with the injuries we’ve had. I know that Viera’s a team that’s full of character. They’ve been battle-tested throughout the season. From a logistical standpoint, they’re very athletic. They do a great job on the offensive side with their quarterback Hayden Kingston does a great job of distributing the ball quickly to his receivers.”
KISSIMMEE-OSCEOLA KOWBOYS (13-1) vs. FLANAGAN FALCONS (11-2) – CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Kowboys have been here before. The Falcons haven’t. Make no mistake–Flanagan’s head coach Devin Bush Sr. has a healthy respect for his opponents tomorrow night, but he’s also quite skilled at playing up the us-versus-them card. He knows he’s got one of the most physically dominating defenses in the entire state. The Falcons have given up less than 90 points in 14 games this season and have posted six shutouts. This one figures to be a slobberknocker. Osceola’s played so many of these bruisers, they’d probably break into a rash if an offensive shootout took place–which is something Flanagan’s Bush Sr. wants by the way. Regardless of the condition of the scoreboard, this game figures to be a football-purists’ dream. No better way than to end the season on that kind of contest. Light. The. Fuse!
Kowboys HC: Doug Nichols – “I think DP (Dr. Phillips) would be a good comparison to what we’ve seen this year. They’re physical like DP was, and very athletic–athletic on both sides of the ball and just physical as they are athletic on both sides as well. They’re a great football team without a doubt. I don’t think we’ve faced a dual-threat that can run AND throw like him. We played the Barrett kid last week, but this kid is a legitimate dual-threat guy.”
Falcons HC Devin Bush Sr. -“NAH, You can’t compare Osceola to any team we’ve played this season. They’re a big-tough-downhill-experienced physical team. I’m sitting here watching the film scatting my head trying to figure out what I need to come up with to try and slow these guys down. I was really hoping they didn’t win against West Orange, to tell you the truth, I really didn’t want to face this team.”