Trenton abuzz about shot at a state championship
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 10:59 p.m.
Trenton football coach Andrew Thomas said that his players acted like yesterday was just a normal Monday at school.
The Tigers' second-year coach added that is just the demeanor the players on his team have.
However, the first day back following the biggest win in school history to this point is no ordinary day.
Following the emotional high of Friday's 36-35 dramatic Class 1A state semifinal overtime win at Newberry, the Tigers, who are currently a perfect 13-0, are ready to get back to work.
Trenton, ranked No. 1, will face No. 4 Bratt Northview in Friday night's FHSAA Class 1A state championship game at The Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It's a matchup of two programs making their first trip to the big stage.
“There is something about our kids. They don't get too up or too down about anything,” Thomas said. “They are low-key type of kids.”
But the Trenton community is still basking in the glow of the victory that was clinched after Stephen Smith hit his older brother Jonathan Smith with the game-winning two-point conversion pass.
“The moment we scored that two-point conversion was probably the biggest high of my career without a doubt,” said Thomas, who has guided Trenton to a 24-1 mark at this point, including a pair of district titles and undefeated regular seasons. “We were real up Friday after the game.”
Thomas and his coaching staff have already started watching film of the Chiefs (10-3).
“It is going to be interesting with all of the hoopla going around and the fact that we are going to play in the Citrus Bowl,” Thomas said. “We're definitely going to have to get their focus back on Northview and what we have to do to win this game.”
Northview coach Sid Wheatley is in a similar situation with his club.
“You just make sure that they understand, obviously, it is a big moment, it is special time,” Wheatley said during Monday's coaches conference call. “It is a game they will probably remember for the rest of their lives.
“At the same time, we try to have the same approach we did last week and play that kind of football.”
The Chiefs, state semifinalists each of the last two seasons, went on the road Friday and hammered Bristol Liberty County 48-14. The team's leading rusher LaMikal Kyles finished with 122 yards and two touchdowns, with Brannon Freeman posting 138 yards and three touchdowns to lead Northview.
The Chiefs, who offensively run a spread attack and also operate a two-tight double wing offense, will be traveling about 460 miles from the Panhandle to Orlando.
The Tigers answer with an option-based offense fueled by Stephen Smith (1,136 rushing yards and 14 TDs; 863 yards and 15 TDs) and the area's leading rusher Cedric Stokes (1,822 rushing yards 26 TDs). However, Stephen Smith was slowed by a deep contusion in his right thigh, which limited the Tigers' option game.
“Stephen is already a lot further along right now than he was last week,” Thomas said. “I am hoping he is good enough that we can open things back up offensively again.
“We're excited to be here for the first time in school history, to have a chance to play for a state championship.”
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