No Doubt!

Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas started the year 3-2 and many doubted the Raiders had what it took to win the state championship. But after beating Bradenton Manatee last week and Tallahassee Lincoln tonight no one is doubting them anymore. Led by quarterback John O'Korn the Raiders blasted Lincoln 41-25 to win yet another title.

Orlando, Fla. John O'Korn saved his best game for last. This senior signal for St. Thomas Aquinas finished with 435-yards (96 rushing, 339 passing) of total offense in leading the Raiders to a 41-25 victory over Tallahassee Lincoln for the 7A Florida state championship.

"It was unbelievable. We started this season 3-2, everybody wrote us off. It's just a picture perfect ending to the season," O'Korn said.

O'Korn had some help, hitting big play wide receivers Mark Barr and Corey Holmes early and often. This duo had a combined for eight receptions for 299-yards and two scores.

"We opened up just like we practiced," said Barr, who had a 71-yard touchdown reception. "We saw some things on film and took advantage of it early. And John did a great job of getting us the ball. He was amazing tonight. It was truly an amazing performance that he had. I'm speechless."

Holmes, only a junior, says that the Raiders just took advantage of the matchups.

"First, John was awesome tonight," said Holmes, who had an 80-yard touchdown reception. "We beat the No. 1 team in the nation last week [Bradenton Manateee] and a great Lincoln team tonight. It was an offensive and defensive effort. We knew it would take all aspects to beat these guys. John just picked the right spots and we made some big plays. But they were pressing me and Mark and John just took advantage deep."

It wasn't a complete aerial assault by the Raiders. Senior running back Fred Coppett rushed 22 times for 155 yards. He scored from 40-yards out in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

"It wasn't all me," Coppett said. "The offensive line created the holes and I just hit them. It was like that all night. We did it with the run and the pass. John showed tonight that he's the best quarterback out there."

St. Thomas Aquinas amassed 604-yards of offense on the night. Lincoln had 225. They controlled the line of scrimmage from the start and were aided by some blown assignments in the Lincoln secondary.

"They connected on some really big plays," said Yusuf Shakir, Lincoln's head coach. "But I can say that we had some miscues back there that really hurt us. That's what got us. They made the plays when they had to."

Godby wins dramatic fashion
Tallahassee Godby held on to beat Immokalee 21-20 to win the 5A Florida state championship. The Indians scored with no time remaining but failed on their extra point, giving the Cougars their first state title in 25 years.

"We couldn't have won this without the play of our defense," said Ronnie Cottrell, Godby's head coach. "They played so well. They made the stops. I am so proud of them, of all these guys. We are a close group. This is a sweet victory."

Godby has a versatile, fast-break offense. The field general is junior quarterback J.T. Bradwell. This is a kid that can beat you with both his arm and legs. Today, he and his running back mates did it on the ground.

"Our philosophy is to always run first," Bradwell said. "It makes passing much easier. But today, our run game was working and the coaches just kept going to it."

Bradwell and Kentucky bound running back Khalid Thomas combined for 147 yards on the ground. Thomas had the game winning score from 28-yards out.

"The other team [Immokalee] was very aggressive and they were biting on little things," Thomas said. "Whenever we did something and executed fully, it would just bust open and we just had a good game."

Thomas's partner in the backfield is Tim Longmire, another senior standout. He helped the Cougars offensive attack is the passing game, where he completed two pass on half-back options for 54 big yards. He also caught three passes for 57-yards.

"The run game was so strong today," Longmire said. "We just had to keep at it and play fast. J.T., Khlaid, Jaylin [Hayward] and Kenny [Young] all made plays."

It's sweet for Thomas, Longmire and the other seniors at Godby. There's no better way to go out.

"We said from day one that we wanted to play for 15 weeks," Longmire said. "That was our goal. We did it. Right now I am just so excited. I am overwhelmed."

Longmire with visit set
Tim Longmire is an underrated prospect from Godby. This is a versatile back that can run, catch and throw. His stock has started to rise of late. Right now he currently has one visit set.

"I am going to Ole Miss (1-25) in January," Longmire said. "Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Penn State are the other schools I am looking at."

Longmire was 2/2 throwing the ball for 54-yards, rushed for 10-yards and had three receptions for 57-yards against the Indians in the state final.

Pugh steps up
One of Godby's defensive stars of the title game was junior defensive end Jacob Pugh. He finished with seven tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss.

"Jacob is the type of player that gets better as the game goes on," Cottrell said. "He did that today and made a couple of huge sacks for us. He tipped a few balls. He played big for us, especially towards the end."

Pugh, 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds, already holds offers and one team has caught his eye.

"I have offers from North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Miami, East Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and more," Pugh said. "I like North Carolina first because of their academics. I also like Tennessee."

Thomas excited about Wildcats
Godby running back Khalid Thomas made a verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky a few months back. Since, Joker Phillips has been fired [now at Florida] and enter Mark Stoops. Thomas is thrilled to still call himself a Wildcat.

"I'm very excited because the program is going in the right direction," Thomas said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."

Taj Williams with big game
Lincoln senior Taj Williams had a super game for the Trojans. Williams, 6-foot-3 and 195-pounds, starred on both sides of the ball at cornerback and wide receiver.

"He's a phenomenal," Shakir said. "He's a great athlete and a great player. What you saw tonight is what he has been doing all year."

Now Williams can concentrate on where he will play his college football.

"I've been trying to focus on school right now but I've been talking to a few schools," Williams said. "I am talking with Alabama, Louisville, Florida State, and Washington State. My first official visit will be to Louisville. I am unsure of the other visits. I have visited Florida State [unofficially] twice."

Coppett to turn attention to recruiting
St. Thomas Aquinas running back Fred Coppett will now turn his attention to recruiting. This senior running back said he's open with a handful of schools.

"Boston College, Indiana, South Florida, Bowling Green and some others are the schools I will focus on now," Coppett said. "I have just been concentrating on winning the state title."

Hayward is one to watch
Remember this name – Jaylin Hayward. He's a super sophomore at Godby and a member of the Class of 2015. Against Immokalee he lined at running back, receiver, quarterback and cornerback. He can do a little bit of everything. At 5-foot-9 and 170-pounds, he can fly. College programs have already taken notice. He currently holds [verbal] offers from Florida State, Florida, Miami and Kentucky.

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