GHS moving up in polls

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.

Since Sept. 10, Gainesville has been ranked No. 1 in the Class 6A football poll. The Hurricanes (14-0) have defended it well, winning 12 straight games and will play Miami Central (11-2) Saturday for the state title in the Florida Citrus Bowl.

With such success, also comes national recognition.

Gainesville climbed two spots on Monday to No. 14 nationally in ESPN's 25 Power Rankings and No. 26 in MaxPrep's national rankings. Interestingly, the ‘Canes, which crushed Navarre 62-26 in Friday's state semifinal, dropped out of MaxPrep's Xcellent 25 rankings.

The ‘Canes, however, did moved up 23 spots in MaxPrep's national poll.

GHS coach James Thomson said the national attention is a testament to the seniors on the team, who battled through the adversity of falling short the last two years (regional final in 2011 to Seffner Armwood, state semifinal in 2010 to Tallahassee Lincoln). Both Armwood and Lincoln went on to win state titles that year.

“It says a lot about the program,” said Thomson, who in his second year has the team in the state final for the first time in 32 years. “It says a lot about the seniors we have on this team and the leadership they have shown this season. Our team fears no one.”

Miami Central opened the season at No. 1 in Class 6A, but road losses at nationally-ranked Grayson (Ga.) and Bradenton Manatee dropped the Rockets to No. 5. They finished the regular season No. 4, winning 10 straight games to reach their third consecutive state final.

* The Florida Dairy Farmers, after a state-wide balloting of high school coaches and prep writers, released the names of the players of the year and coaches of the year for each classification on Monday. In Class 6A, Columbia offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil won player of the year, 25 points ahead of Gainesville quarterback Mark Cato. GHS coach James Thomson was named coach of the year.

In Class 1A, Trenton swept both awards, as running back Cedric Stokes won player of the year and his coach, Andrew Thomas, won coach of the year. Union County coach Ronny Pruitt was named runner-up.

All classification winners will be up for 2012 Mr. Football or Coach of the Year honors to be announced in a few weeks.

Editor Larry Savage and correspondent Cliff Olsen cover high school sports for The Sun. Contact Larry at 352-374-5050 or or Cliff at

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