Three things I learned in last Friday's FHSAA Class 4A regional finals:
1. Henry closes in on 4,000
It truly seems preposterous if you really consider it. After all, how many high school quarterbacks have thrown for 4,000 yards in a season?
Now, think about this: Yulee senior running back Derrick Henry rushed for 189 yards on 43 carries in last Friday's 16-13 second round victory against Havana East Gadsden to put him at 3,944 on the year.
Give the Jaguars a ton of credit, they limited Henry to fewer than 200 yards and kept him out of the end zone (save for a TD pass he threw) for the first time all season, leaving him at 50 rushing touchdowns entering this Friday night's game against visiting Jacksonville Bolles. His 4.4 yards per carry against East Gadsden also was the Alabama commitment's lowest average total of 2012.
The win avenged the Hornets' 27-16 loss to the Hornets in the same round a year ago. But can Yulee get by the defending FHSAA Class 4A state champs?
Allowing double-digit points to every opponent but one this year, the Bulldogs may not be the same powerhouse they have been in recent seasons, but they are 11-1 and know what it takes to win. This will be a stern test for both teams.
2. Washington rolls
There has been no one, in any classification, more dominant than Miami Booker T. Washington through two rounds of the 2012 playoffs.
To be fair, opponents North Broward Prep and Miami Gulliver Prep concluded their seasons with a combined record of 10-12, but two victories by a total score of 128-0 leads one to believe Washington is playing about as well as it can right now.
Next up is Cocoa, which saw its season end in this exact spot a year ago with a 20-14 overtime loss to the Tornadoes at Curtis Park.
3. As for the Tigers...
Cocoa is hot again.
Following a 49-3 loss in Week Two to 3A power University School, questions abounded as to whether the Tigers, then 0-2, could come back and compete for a state championship. After all, there is no shame in losing to the Suns, but getting blown out is a different story altogether.
Since then, Cocoa has won ten straight, and its last five opponents have combined to score 14 points. That's fewer than three points-a-game.
That jelling defense will be tested this week against Booker T. Washington. Can the Tigers slow the Tornadoes, who have scored at least 26 points in every contest this season?