Sat, Dec 9, 2017 12:43 AM
CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW
The Miami Northwestern Bulls will play for a state championship for the first time in nine seasons. When the Bulls take on Seffner Armwood, this will be Northwestern's seventh time playing for a state title. "The West" have won titles in 2007, 2006, 1998, and 1995. The Bulls were state runner ups in 2008 and 2001.
Northwestern enters the 6A final sporting an 11-2 record and they have outscores their opponents 124-40 in their four playoff games. The Bulls blanked Palm coast Matanzas 33-0 in the opening round, defeated District 16-6A opponents Miami Central 24-18 and Miami Carol City 23-15 in rounds two and three. They blasted Naples 42-7 in the state semifinals last week.
When on offense, the catalyst for the Bulls is senior quarterback Tutu Atwell. Atwell has passed for 1,337 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. Tutu also has 635 yards rushing and seven scores, but comes into the game nursing an ankle injury. Running backs Bo Kendrick(449 rushing yards 4tds), Jacquez Stuart, and Corey Hammett will assist Atwell in the running game. Nigel Bethel Jr.(17 catches 349 yards 2tds), Kiaryn Davis(22 catches 335 yards 5tds), Quayvon Beckford(15 catches 291 yards 3tds), and Derrick Davis(6 catches 137 yards 3tds) will be the targets when Northwestern takes to the air. Junior Mark Fox and senior Terron Carey anchor a solid offensive line.
Defensively, "The West" are led by Devontae McCrae, Demetrius Mayes, and Sam Brooks. Defensive backs Divaad Wilson, Larry Robins, and Richard Wildgoose also provide a spark on defense.
The Seffner Armwood Fighting Hawks are making their ninth appearance in a FHSAA State Championship Game, their first since three straight appearances during the 2013-2015 season. The Hawks have won state titles in 2003, 2004, and 2011. They also finished as state runner ups in 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Armwood enters the 2017 6A State Final with a perfect 14-0 record, having outscored their four playoff oponents by a score of 125-24. The Hawks blanked Sebring 42-0 in round one, shutout Tampa Hillsborough 22-0 in round two, defeated Ocala Vanguard 31-17 to win the regional championship, and dominated St. Augustine 30-6 in the state semifinals last week.
Senior running back Brian Snead is the catalyst on Armwood's offense, he has rushed for 1,329 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He also has 24 receptions with 3 of those going for scores. Larry Anderson, another senior running back has 309 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Devin Black contributed 425 yards and 6 touchdowns to the Hawks running game. He also has completed 60% of his passes for 2,265 yards with 25 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Black will distribute the ball to a quintet of play making wide receivers. Senior wide receiver Jerome Ford had 38 catches for 800 yards and 8 touchdowns. Ford also had 2 rushing scores, 2 fumble returns for scores, and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns! Senior Warren Thompson, who stands 6 foot 5 caught 27 passes for 487 yards and 6 touchdowns. Juniors Wayne Dennis Jr.(10 catches 128 yards 1td) and Ezeriah Anderson(20 catches 430 yards 6tds) both stand 6 foot 4 and provide two additional big targets in the passing game. Versatile receiver Markeis Colvin has 2 receiving scores, a punt for a touchdown, and 3 interceptions including one for a touchdown.
Defensively, the Hawks are led by James Miller, a transfer from Brandon Senior High School who has 143 tackles including 10 sacks and a whopping 41 tackles for a loss! Seniors Fitzroy Gardner(90 tackles 33 tfl 16 sacks), De'shard Hughes(81 tackles 20 tfl 6 sacks 2 interceptions), Malcolm Lamar(48 tackles 19 tfl 5 sacks), and Dyllun Timmons(35 tackles 15 tfl 5 sacks). Underclassmen Ricardo Watson(75 tackles 32 tfl 8 sacks), Jalil Core(82 tackles 4 tfl 2 ints), and Emmanuel Perry(21 tackles 3 interceptions) will also contribute.