North Florida Christian Preview: (13-0), District 1 Champions
HEAD COACH: Robert Craft (2nd year)
PLAYERS: QB Matt Dobson 6-2 205 Sr.; RB Jonathan Vickers 6-0 200 So.; WR Branton Lee 5-9 170 Jr.; OL Drew Sarvary 6-6 280 Sr.; LB Chase Griffiths 6-2 225 Sr.; DE Evan Gentry 6-2 235 Jr.; DB Tony Fields 5-10 170 So.; DB Travis Blanks 6-1 200 Sr.
BREAKDOWN: NFC is making its 10th appearance in state finals with four of its championship victories coming against Fort Meade. Coach Robert Craft was the starting quarterback on the 2000 state title team that included future NFL starters Ernie Sims and Antonio Cromartie (who later transferred to Lincoln). Craft went on to start at Tennessee Tech and began his coaching career in South Georgia prior to taking over for Tim Cokely who now coaches in Atlanta. QB Chris Walley who was recently named the MEAC offensive player of the year, started on the 2006 state finalist team that lost to Glades Day. Current FSU QB Clint Trickett started for NFC on the 2007 finalist team that lost to Delray American Heritage and also on the 2008 team that defeated Fort Meade for NFC’s most recent title.
Current QB Matt Dobson who has passed for 2,304 yards and 23 TDs, began his HS career as a 7th-grader at Aucilla Christian where he passed for over 3,000 yards before transferring to NFC prior to his freshman year. Dobson started as a defensive back on the 2008 team. Sophomore RB Vickers has rushed for over 1,400 yards. DB Blanks a Clemson commit is considered one of the nation’s top defensive back prospects but missed seven games with an injury. He returned for the state playoffs. LB Chase Griffiths is another Division I prospect whose older brother played at USF before transferring to Liberty.
PLAYOFF RUN: Dobson passed for 265-2 and Vickers scored three TDs in 47-21 rout of Jacksonville University Christian in first round. NFC then defeated Jacksonville Eagle’s View, 40-14 before ensuring its 10th state final appearance with a 54-13 rout of Warner Christian.
Admiral Farragut (St. Petersburg) Preview: (12-1), District 5 Runner-up
HEAD COACH: Chris Miller
PLAYERS: RB/DB Rayshawn Jenkins 6-2 190 Sr.; RB Toddrick Macon 5-11 200 Jr.; DE/TE Demetrius Lewis 6-4 200 Sr.; OL Jonathan Jun 6-3 270 Sr.; RB/DB Napoleon Maxwell 5-9 180 So.; WR Alvin Cunningham 6-2 180 Sr.; RB Cortavius Givens 5-11 195 So. (injured)
BREAKDOWN: First state championship appearance for Blue Jackets who become just the second Pinellas program to reach a state title game. Dixie Hollins was defeated by Ft Walton Beach in 1995 Class 5A final. RB/DB Jenkins was an original commit to USF before flipping to Miami about a month ago. Jenkins who is the defending Class 1A 110 high hurdles champ, has rushed for 691 yards and eight TDs since moving to tailback for the playoffs.
Farragut lost RB Givens in Week 3 with an ACL tear and did not have Jenkins for its lone defeat to Canterbury. Majority of Blue Jackets skill kids are also members of the track team that finished fourth at state last spring. Macon’s brother Toddren is a starting RB at St Pete Catholic. Go figure..Macon has rushed for over 1,100 yards since Givens was injured. DE/TE Lewis will sign Division I with a MAC or FCS program.
Miller and NFC’s Craft could well be the youngest head coaches to square off in a state title game. Miller is a 2000 grad from Farragut.
PLAYOFF RUN: Blue Jackets routed previously unbeaten Ft Myers Evangelical, 48-24 in first round. Jenkins ran for a state postseason-high 356 yards on 14 carries as Farragut rushed for 597 yards against the Sentinels. They then avenged their lone defeat with a 38-24 victory against Canterbury after grounding out 335 yards. Admiral Farragut denied Glades Day a third consecutive state title after defeating the Gators, 42-14. A strong defensive effort led by DLs Lewis and Leo Corrigan held Kelvin Taylor to 168 yards and two TDs.