FHSAA Championship Friday Preview

The participants in the Class 2A state championship game have had two full weeks to digest their lot. The FHSAA playoff schedule for 2A wrapped up earlier than the state's other classifications due to reclassification. Madison County Coach Frankie Carroll knew his team deserved a much needed feeding, so he called for a fish fry. Yes, the Cowboys wrapped up preparation for Immokalee with a fish fry complete with enough grits and hushpuppies fit for a king.

Immokalee rolls in Gainesville as a jester in the eyes of many around the state. These Indians weren't supposed to be within 275 miles of the Alachua County line. After starting their season with a 1-2 record, Immokalee was an afterthought to many in south Florida. Beating Dunbar in their fourth game looked pretty unthinkable. Whispers of "Wait ‘til next year" were everywhere. However, the Indians ran the table the remainder of the regular season and perhaps most surprisingly, throughout the playoffs.



Madison County vs Immokalee

Friday, December 10th @ 1pm


Madison County (12-0)


State Semi-finals: Defeated Bradford County 21-0 at home


Tough opponents: Valdosta (Ga) 15-7 (Sept 3), Live Oak Suwannee 37-6 (Sept 17), Lake City Columbia 22-0 (Oct 8), Tallahassee Lincoln 28-14 (Oct 14), Crawfordville Wakulla 28-6 (Oct 29), Daytona Beach Seabreeze 48-17 (Nov 5), Crawfordville Wakulla 42-9 (Nov 19)


Offensive scoring:

Regular season- 320 points (35.5 ppg)

Playoffs- 103 points (34.3 ppg)



Regular season- 86 points (9.5 ppg)

Playoffs- 9 points (3.0 ppg)


You'll never charge Madison County with playing a weak schedule. Although you might try insanity. The Cowboys began the season by taking a trip to Death Valley for a date against Georgia power Valdosta. Throughout the rest of the season they faced some of the best in talent rich Florida, such as Live Oak Suwannee, Columbia, Tallahassee Lincoln, and Daytona Beach Seabreeze.


The Cowboys offense is full speed with running back Desmond Gee sprinting through opposing defenses on a mission. Gee who ran for 1,762 yards and 26 touchdowns last season is seemingly on pace to eclipse that record in the playoffs alone, despite doing so with a heavy heart. Tonya Gee, his mother passed away on November 16th , after spending nine weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. The Cowboys were set to play Wakulla for the Regional Championship in just three days. Gee refused to let his teammates down. And they have returned the favor.


Gee dedicated the game to the memory of his mother and the Cowboys offensive line made certain that it was night to remember. He ran through the Eagles defense for 155 yards and three touchdowns. It was the second time he had torched the Eagles, as he ran for 317 yards and four touchdowns as the Cowboys captured the district crown with a 28-6 victory. In that game, Gee ran for 170 yards in the fourth quarter.


The 5'9 175 junior has put up some mighty impressive numbers through the 2004 season. He blew through Tallahassee Lincoln for 245 yards and two touchdowns in October. He added a 193 yard performance on just 10 carries in the first round of the playoffs against Panama City Arnold. Gee didn't play in the second half.


The Madison County defense is headed by All-American candidate Eugene Hayes. The linebacker leads the team 93 tackles and 10.5 sacks through the regular season. He has an incredible 24 tackles for loss. The 6'1 218 says that Tennessee and Miami head his list of schools at this time. The Cowboys love putting pressure on their opponents. They bring a lot of speed and surround the football. Senior noseguard Charles Evans is second on the team in tackles for loss with 22.



Immokolee (10-2)


State Semi-finals: Defeated Hollywood Chaminade 21-0 at home


Tough opponents: Lost to Top ranked Naples 36-15 (Sept 10), lost to Barron Collier 45-28 (Sept 24), beat Dunbar 26-8 (Oct 1), beat American Heritage 21-7 (Nov 5), beat Dunbar 54-0 (Nov 19)


Offensive scoring:

Regular season- 289 points ( 32.1 ppg)

Playoffs- 112 points (37.3 ppg)



Regular season- 141 points (15.6 ppg)

Playoffs- 0 points (00.0 ppg)


Immokolee shocked many in south Florida with their 21-0 win over unbeaten, defending state champion Chaminade. Offensively, the Indians are led by tailback Javarris James. The 6'1 200 junior rushed for 1,296 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. James is the cousin of former University of Miami and current Indianapolis Colts star Edgerrin James.


Defensively, the Indians have not allowed a point since entering the playoffs. They are led by senior defensive end Tertus Clement, who has tallied seven quarterback sacks. Immokalee has a very impressive rising sophomore in linebacker Brian Rolle, who leads the team in total tackles with 90. Rolle, 6'1 200 plays outside in the Indians 4'3 scheme.


Analysis: Madison County has whipped everybody in sight. Immokalee has whipped everybody since entering the playoffs. Gee and Hayes make for an unstoppable force this Friday.


Pick: Madison County




Lakeland vs St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, December 10th @ 7pm


Lakeland (14-0)


State Semi-finals: Defeated Daytona Beach Mainland 28-7 at home


Tough opponents: East Bay 42-13 (Sept 17), Plant City Durant 21-18 (Oct 15), Plant City 49-7 (Nov 29), Kathleen 19-17 (Nov 5), Palm Bay 42-7 (Nov 19)


Offensive scoring:

Regular season- 504 points ( 50.4 ppg)

Playoffs- 145 points (36.25 ppg)



Regular season- 147 points ( 14.7 ppg)

Playoffs- 58 points (14.5 ppg)


There is nothing flashy about the Lakeland offense. They have a good offensive line, a good quarterback, and a couple of good running backs. They just get it done. The most impressive thing the Dreadnaughts did in last weekend's 28-7 win over Daytona Beach Mainland was control the football when they needed too. The offensive line opened some holes for running backs Chris Rainey and Steve Chancey. Rainey is just a sophomore. He has 101 carries for 1,357 yards and 17 touchdowns. Chancey has 105 carries for 607 yards. Quarterback Chris Griffin completed 10 of 14 passes for 219 yards in their blowout win over Palm Bay.


The Dreadnaughts have one of the fastest defensive units in the state. They run to the ball as well as anybody in Florida. You'll find it difficult to run wide on them. You'll find it difficult to run inside on them. They seemingly frustrate opposing offenses until they make a mistake. The Dreadnaughts take advantage of turnovers and beat you to death. One of the most impressive players on the Dreadnaught team is 6'1 280 defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart. His favorites are Florida, Florida State, Georgia, USF, and Pitt.


St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1)


State Semi-finals: Defeated Sarasota Riverview 23-14 at home


Tough opponents: beat Pompano Beach Ely 17-14 (Sept 23), lost to Deerfield Beach 20-15 (Oct 22), Edison 21-19 (Nov 19)


Offensive scoring:

Regular season- 308 points ( 34.2 ppg)

Playoffs- 92 points (23 ppg)



Regular season- 106 points (11.7 ppg)

Playoffs- 54 points (13.5 ppg)


St. Thomas Aquinas is led offensively by a duo of junior running backs. Bobby Crawford leads the team in rushing with 701 yards rushing. Marcel Archer is their second leading rusher with 617 yards. Aquinas quarterback Michael Dougherty has completed only 45 of his 101 attempts for 664 yards and two touchdowns. Dougherty has thrown five interceptions.


Defensive end John Duhe leads the Aquinas defensive unit. The 6'3 215 senior has racked up 41 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Might he have had a famous relative play on the Dolphins front seven? Dean McNash and Gene Atkins combine for 23 tackles for loss.


Analysis: Entirely too much speed in Polk County.


Pick: Lakeland

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