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December 14, 2013

Central, Cook run by Armwood 52-7

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ORLANDO -- Miami Central dominated Armwood in the 6A state championship game, 52-7.

The teams met in the 6A final two years ago (Armwood won 40-31), only to both have the seasons vacated by the FHSAA. This state title will count for the Miami Central.

This is Miami Central's second consecutive state title, Central beat Gainesvile 34-17 last season. The only blemish on the Rockets' record came in week two, when they lost to class 4A champion and possible national champion Booker T. Washington, 28-17.

"I wouldn't mind, I wouldn't mind at all" Cook said when asked what he thought about a rematch with Washington. "I think we could score from any given point. We can do it all. We are a more balanced team. Our defense has been playing great and our offense is going to score point, it's what we do."

Dalvin Cook (Florida commit) raced for 223 yards and a four touchdowns on 19 rushes, including the game's opening score a 37 yard touchdown run, where Cook cut outside twice and raced through green grass for the score.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cook took the ball on a stretch play from his own 20. Then he sped 80 yards towards the pylon, crossing the goal line mid somersault.

Cook became the feature back in what had all season been a dominating two back attack. Then in the regional finals against Heritage two weeks ago, fellow four star running back Joseph Yearby (Miami Commit) fractured his fibula.

"It kinda hurt a little bit," Yearby said of being forced to watch the win from the sidelines, " but then it again to watch them win it, it kinda takes over that pain."

Da'Vante Phillips (also a Florida commit- but class of 2015) had a 41-yard highlight reel punt return to set up his 19-yard scoring catch. The talented wide out caught four balls for 92 yards on the day. He is the highest rated junior on a team loaded with 11 seniors, ranked two stars or higher.

"On the return, I was blessed. I don't really hit the hole a lot, but I hit it and saw green grass." Phillips explained, "I just knew that the kicker wasn't going to run against me head up, when I first saw him, I saw him go low, so I leaped over him."

The Rocket defense had the Hawks reeling, as well. They forced Armwood to punt on their first seven drives, including six three and outs. Miami Central pressured Noah Johnson constantly and consistently throughout the contest, racking up five sacks.

The five sacks came when Johnson wasn't throwing the ball into the arms of Miami Central defenders. Tavius Brown caught a third quarter pass in stride and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. Donnavan Thompson and Ron Dyer also intercepted passes. "When I saw the ball in the air, when it touched my hands I knew I had to make a play." Tavius Brown said, describing his momentum-shifting pick six, "I knew my brother was here and my family was here. Most of all I did it for my brother."

The domination on the field translated to the state sheet, Miami Central outgained Armwood 344 to 171. The Central defense had allowed only 9 yards until late in the second quarter.

Armwood did tie a FHSAA record, for punts in a title game with 8. They came close to owning that record themselves, but their last punt attempt of the afternoon was blocked. That wasn't the record the Hawks had in mind when they came in Saturday afternoon. They entered the game with record of 14-0, scoring at least 30 points in 12 of their 14 games.

Armwood's Kyle Gibson (Vanderbilt commit) intercepted two Miami Central passes on the day, the first deep in Rocket territory to set up Armwood's only score with a short field late in the first half. Noah Johnson found Trevor Laurent in the end zone.


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