LAST YEAR WAS ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL HIGH SCHOOL football season for the Northwest Region, which spans from Live Oak to Pensacola. Two teams, Godby in 5A and Northview in 1A, won state
championships and two other teams, Madison County in 3A and
Lincoln in 7A, were state runners-up. Liberty County in 1A and Na-
varre in 6A made runs to the state semifinals as well.
It wasn’t a banner year for everyone though as perennial pow-
ers Pensacola and Choctawhatchee missed the postseason, while
defending 2A state champion North Florida Christian was knocked
out in the first round of the playoffs.
Look for 2013 to be more of the same in the Northwest. Godby
and Lincoln return enough players to be contenders for a state title
again, and while Madison County moves up to Class 4A the Cowboys
will be favored to reach their third straight championship game.
Wakulla followed a state championship game appearance in 2011
with a 10-0 regular season in 2012, but lost at home to eventual state
champion Godby in the 5A regional semifinals. Expect another big
year from the War Eagles as they again battle Godby in 5A-District 2.
On the other hand, Navarre would do extremely well to match its
state semifinal appearance of a year ago as only three starters
return. Expect Pensacola to rebound from a disappointing 5-3
season in 2012 and Escambia hopes to return to past glory
in the Gators’ second year under coach Willie Spears.
And other schools like West Gadsden, Washington and
Tate know there’s nowhere to go but up after winning 0,
1 and 1 game respectively last season.
HAND OF GODBY
The Godby Cougars were road warriors on their
way to the 2012 5A state championship. Losing to Wakulla in the regular season sent the
Cougars on the road for the playoffs, and they
Godby knocked off West Florida, Wakulla 14-7
in a rematch, Bishop Kenny and Robinson to advance to Or-
lando. The Cougars held off Immokalee 21-20 in overtime as
the Indians couldn’t get a snap down on a tying extra point.
Expect Godby to contend again this season as quarter-
back J. T. Bradwell and Jaylin Hay ward, who can play running
back, wide receiver and defensive back, both return. On defense, FSU
commitment Jacob Pugh helps lead the way at linebacker.
It looks like Wakulla will be in the way of Godby once again if the
Cougars expect a return visit to Orlando this December.
The other Tallahassee power – the Lincoln Trojans – had its own
interesting run to the 7A state championship game last season.
Lincoln went on the road to beat Oviedo in the regional final and
Osceola in the state semifinals before running into a St. Thomas
Aquinas buzz saw at the Citrus Bowl.
The Trojans are definitely in the running for a third state championship game in four seasons, but will have to deal with youth
on offense as they return only three starters and have to replace
an entire offensive line, starting quarterback and running back.
Two transfers from Florida High – quarterback Darius Harvey and
athlete Matt Donaldson – should help.
Seven starters return on defense, so if Lincoln gets its quarter-
back play in order another trip to Orlando may be in the cards.
BRIDGES OF MADISON
For years, Madison County has proven itself against tough com-
petition and bigger schools. In 2011, the Cowboys advanced to
the 3A title game, losing to Delray American Heritage. Last
season, they suffered a tough 24-17 loss to University School.
This year Madison County moves up to the extremely tough
Class 4A. Mike Coe’s team has proven before how tough
it can be and will have to do so again to get back to Orlando as Booker T. Washington, Bolles and Cocoa will
stand in the way.
Class 1A continues to be a boon for the Northwest
Region. Northview knocked off Trenton to win the 1A title
in 2012, following up Jefferson County’s win over Chipley in
the 2011 championship game.
Liberty County made it to the state semifinals, losing to
Northview, while Freeport made a run to the regional finals,
taking Northview to the limit in a 34-28 loss.
Look for Northview to once again contend for the state title, but
Holmes County, Bozeman, Blountstown, Jefferson County and Liberty
County should all once again be in the running for a trip to Orlando.
Kendall Randolph, Lincoln
Photo by Glossy FInish Photography
QB Cody Henry
RB Jonathan Vickers
RB P. J. Simmons
WR Lawrence Lee
WR Ladarian Smiley
TE Moral Stephens
OL Lucas Lee
N. Florida Christian
West Florida Tech
OL George Rutherford Escambia
OL Tarrick Thomas
OL Storm Gardner
OL John McGhin
UT John Burt
DL Denzel Ware
DL Markel Winters
DL Rocel Mc Williams West Florida Tech
DL Sam Branton
LB Jacob Pugh
LB Delvin Purifoy
LB Kris Harris
DB Deion Singleton
DB Kendall Randolph Lincoln
DB De’Eric Culver
DB JaJuan Perkins
UT Jeff Williams
TOP 5 TEAMS
1GODBY: The Cougars have appeared in two of the last five state title games
and they return enough talent to make
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FLORIDA 2013