By Tamas Mondovics
While for many high school sports fans, wrestling tournaments around the state and beyond were the choice of sport, there was another battle taking center stage during the second weekend of December.
The event was the third consecutive meeting between the Armwood High School Hawks and Miami Central Rockets in the 6A state championship.
The bout was the Hawk’s eighth title game appearance and the fourth time in the past five seasons that the two high school football powerhouses managed to face off in front of nearly 4,000 spectators at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
Unfortunately for Armwood (15-1), led by program Head Coach Sean Callahan, the title game ended in a 48-13 loss, the third in a row.
The last time Armwood won the State title was in 2011 when the Hawks defeated the Rockets 40-31.
Sadly, after an FHSAA investigation, that game was scrapped from the books for both teams’ use of ineligible players. The Hawks also won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
Miami Central managed to win the championship game 24-10 in 2014, as well as in 2013 when Armwood suffered an embarrassing 52-7 defeat.
From the start, things looked good for the Hawks, thanks to a 90-yard touchdown run by Erin Collins who finished the game with 141 yards.
The celebration was short lived as Armwood fumbled on its next possession, giving the Rockets’ Allen Jones a straight shot to a 90-yard touchdown answer and a 7-6 lead.
From then on the Rockets managed to stay ahead of their rival, receiving two more Armwood fumbles, as well as closing the first half with a 29-6 lead and onto to the State championship victory.
Going into the playoffs, the Hawks enjoyed the number one spot in 6A, while the Rockets, who are now claiming their sixth straight state final appearance and fifth championship, were placed at number six.
There was no doubt Armwood wanted the crown badly, but going into the game Callahan knew what he and his team were up against and said that to be viewed as the best not only in the state but the nation, losing to Miami Central was not an option.