Trenton falls in state title game to Northview
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 12:15 a.m.
ORLANDO — Trenton football coach Andrew Thomas described his team's performance in Friday night's FHSAA Class 1A state championship game at The Citrus Bowl as uncharacteristic.
The Tigers entered the title game against Bratt Northview undefeated and ranked No. 1 for most of the season.
However, Trenton committed four turnovers and also had a punt blocked and returned for a score as its championship dreams came to an end with a 42-21 loss to the Chiefs.
Running back Cedric Stokes was a bright spot for Trenton (13-1). The senior finished with 192 yards and two TDs on 35 carries and surpassed the 2,000-yard plateau (2,014 yards) for the season.
The Tigers, who made their first ever state title game appearance, were looking to become the area's first state champion in football since Chiefland won the Class 2A crown in 1997.
“We made too many mistakes. We didn't get to this point turning the ball over five times,” Thomas said. “We didn't get to Orlando playing that way. We're not good enough to make that many mistakes and overcome it, especially against a team that is that good.
“We don't make that many mistakes and we did tonight. That is not the type of football we play and you can't overcome it.”
After a scoreless first quarter, No. 4 Northview's LaMikal Kyles (113 yards on 12 carries) ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs (11-3) a 7-0 edge less than a minute into the second quarter.
On its next possession Trenton was forced to go three and out, but received a booming 62-yard punt from Michael Smith, which appeared to pin the Chiefs at their own one-yard line. However, the Tigers were whistled for a penalty and Michael Smith's second attempt this time from his own 32-yard line was blocked by Arkelle Elliot. Chad Smith scooped up the loose ball and raced 20 yards to the end zone for a momentum-changing touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“It turned the whole thing around right there,” Northview coach Sid Wheatley said. “Obviously we're going to start at the one-yard line and all of a sudden we're scooping and scoring back on the other end. It was a huge momentum boost.”
LaDarius Thomas then made it a 21-0 contest with a two-yard run 34 seconds before halftime.
Stokes' three-yard scoring run pulled Trenton to 21-7 at the 7:13 mark of the third quarter. However, Neino Robinson's 79-yard return of the ensuing kickoff, after Trenton's first two looping attempts went out of bounds, put the Chiefs in control at 28-7.
Breon Sims had a one-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter and Stokes' two-yard score provided the final margin with 4:05 left. Tigers quarterback Stephen Smith, who didn't look slowed by the deep contusion in his right thigh, struggled on the night. The junior finished 2-for-10 passing for just 16 yards with three interceptions.
“It is obviously not the finish that we wanted,” Thomas said. “Probably what hurts worse than anything is if you feel like you play good and you get beat that is one thing.
“When you make mistakes and you don't play your best and get beat, that is kind of hard to swallow. But we're proud of the kids, they have been an inspiration for everybody and I love them.”