Florida High Football eyes perfect season and first state title in program history
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Perfection. Long sought after, seldom achieved.
For Florida High football, it’s a distinct possibility. The ‘Noles are an unblemished 14-0, and Friday night, they’re playing for a State Title in Class 2S in the State of Florida.
14 weeks, 14 wins. What began in late August culminates on Friday at Gene Cox Stadium.
The Seminoles of Florida High have gone nearly four months without a single loss. A special season. Perhaps surprising to some, but not to this team. Senior Rhyder Poppell and Head Coach Jarrod Hickman agree--it’s a special group.
“I just think it’s a family,” Poppell said with a smile, “I mean even in the games that we’ve been down, like Trinity Catholic the first game of the season--that was tough--but I knew I was playing for the guy next to me. Everybody is playing for the guy behind them and next to them, so, we just pulled it out.”
“I think it goes with the experience of some of our older guys who have been in those games. They don’t panic in tight ball games,” Coach Hickman said, “They’ve been willing to listen and they’ve gotten better. Some guys have grown up and developed all year long. We’ve put ourselves in a position to be where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year. We want to play well one more time.”
The ultimate opportunity to complete perfection--a state championship in class two suburban. Gene Cox Stadium the place, the Cocoa Tigers the opponent.
This team has won in different ways all year long. Coach Hickman credits that to resiliency, talent, and a willingness to adjust. He knows it’s going to take all that and much more to bring home a state title on Friday night.
“They’ve been really good all year long. They’ve played really good opponents so they’ve been battle tested,” Hickman explained, “Their quarterback throws the ball well, coach does a really good job in the pass game, and defensively they don’t give up very many points. So, we’re going to have to play really good football to have a chance.”
The Seminoles are making their first title game appearance since 2019 when they finished runner-up to Chaminade-Madonna.
Florida High has never won a football state championship. The chance to not only complete the perfect season, but make history for this program, school, and community, is nearly impossible to put into words.
“That would mean a lot. That would mean a whole lot,” Poppell said with a grin, “Especially doing it for somebody like Coach Hickman who’s been trying to have it for 18, 19 years, something like that. It’s a big, big deal.”
“It would be unbelievable for our community, Florida High, and all the good things the school has done for so many years,” Hickman concluded, “To get one in football would be remarkable. It would be just unbelievable for these kids and a lot of our alumni who almost did have a chance to do those things too.”
Florida High and Cocoa square off at Gene Cox Stadium at 7:00PM on Friday, December 9th.
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