Trenton plays for class 1A state championship Friday
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 6:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 6:58 p.m.
With Trenton and Northview each displaying offenses that averaged more than 42 points per game this season, tonight's FHSAA Class 1A state championship game could come down to a key stop by either team's defense.
On the other side of the ball, the Tigers (13-0) and Chiefs (10-3) each come into the 7:07 p.m. matchup at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando with units allowing 18.3 points or less per contest.
“We're going to have to get stops and get them off the field. They are so dynamic offensively,” said Trenton coach Andrew Thomas. “I think we're going to have to be physical at the point of attack.
“If we can handle that end, I like our chances.”
The interesting aspect of the No. 4 Chiefs when they have the ball is that they effectively run two different types of offenses. Northview can line up in a two-tight double wing set or come out in a spread formation. While it is a challenge to prepare for, Thomas was quick to point out that Chiefs, for the most part, don't mix their different offensive sets. From the film he has watched, Thomas said they use their different offenses by series opposed to alternating every other play.
Senior linebacker Hunter Parrish, who has 100 tackles including an area-best 15 sacks, and senior defensive tackle Breon Sims (76 tackles, 3 sacks) lead the way for a Trenton unit that shows a 3-4 and a 4-3 look and has allowed 16.4 points per contest.
Running back LaMikal Kyles (1,269 rushing yards, 19 TDs; 18 catches, 328 yds, 3 TDs) quarterback Kevin Vaughan (1,408 passing yards, 15 TDs, 7 ints.) and wide receiver Neiko Robinson, a Penn St. commit (24 catches, 374 yards, 7 TDs) power the Chiefs, who average 42.8 points per night.
“It all starts with our defensive line, and if our defensive line can get a push, then our linebackers and safeties will be right there to back them up,” Parrish said. “If our defense shows up like we should, then our offense should be able to bring home the hardware.
“75-80 percent of our team plays both ways, so if our defense is clicking, our offense is clicking.”
The Tigers' high-octane, option-based offense, which puts up an average of 45.8 points per game, should be close to full speed with the improved health of quarterback Stephen Smith. The junior (1,136 rushing yards and 14 TDs; 863 yards and 15 TDs) was hampered with a deep contusion in his right thigh, which limited the Tigers' option game last Friday in the state semifinals win at Newberry.
With the area's leading rusher Cedric Stokes (1,822 rushing yards, 26 TDs) as a consistent versatile threat, the No. 1 Tigers should offer a big challenge to Chad Smith (102 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 Ints.) and the Northview defense.
“Defense wins championships,” Parrish said. “Hopefully our defense will win the championship for us this Friday night.”