By Tamas Mondovics
If there was one point in the 2013-2014 football season that Armwood High School came close to missing out on the chance to reach the state championship, it was against Jefferson High.
Instead, the close game only gave the Seffner program a major boost as the Hawks devastated Springstead 41-0 during the 6A regional finals a week later.
Advancing to the state final four, the Hawks defeated St. John’s Bartram Trail Bears 35-28, with quarterback Noah Johnson taking matters into his own hands.
“This is unbelievable,” Johnson said after the win. “I love my team, I love my coaches.”
Following the game, Armwood head coach Sean Callahan was pleased with his team’s success, but recognized what was yet to come.
“We’ve grown quite a bit in this game and I hope they know what they’ve got themselves into by playing Miami Central in the state championship,” Callahan said.
Defending Class 6A state champ, the Miami Central High School Rockets led by senior quarterback Keith Reed, who has thrown for more than 1,500 this season, beat the Daytona Beach Mainland High Buccaneers 28-15.
The result is the 2013 FHSAA Class 6A championship rematch between the Hawks and the Rockets on Saturday, December 14 at 1 p.m. at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.
The Hawks football team has won three state championships. The program won back-to-back state championships in 2003 and 2004. In 2011, the Hawks again reached the top and won the Class 6A State Championship by defeating Miami Central, 40-31, but were stripped of the title as well as their state runner-up crown from 2010 after being determined to have used an ineligible player.
Armwood High school was also fined $12,743.
With a season in between, Armwood has now managed to face off their state rival once again, set for its sixth state title-game berth since 2003.
Armwood High School is located at 12000 E U.S. Highway 92 in Seffner. The program has sported an overall 14-0 and district 8-0 record ahead of the state title game while ranking 150 nationally and seventh statewide.
While Callahan is amazed by his team’s accomplishments this season, the Rockets first-year coach Roland Smith has to contend with a less than perfect season with a 12-1 overall and 4-0 district record.
Facing the Hawks once again ranking 17th nationally and second in the state by Maxpreps, as well as sporting 14 Division I recruits, in this year’s senior class, the Rockets were ready to reclaim the title.
Smith has reportedly claimed his team’s number one status as he said that his coaches and players alike think they are the best team, prepare like they are the best team and play like they are the best team.
For more information about the season, please visit www.fhsaa.org.