ORLANDO — Sometimes championship dreams come with expiration dates.
Admiral Farragut Academy’s expired Friday.
The Blue Jackets, the underdogs who had beaten the odds on an exhilarating run through the playoffs, had their magical season go up in smoke in a 69-0 loss to North Florida Christian in the Class 2A state title game at the Citrus Bowl.
It was the worst loss in state history in a final.
“We just came out flat,” running back Todd Macon said.
After a season of perfect bounces and goose bump wins, the Blue Jackets went 12-1 to reach their first state championship game and become the first team from Pinellas County to make the finals since Dixie Hollins in 1995.
But AFA’s appearance ended like so many county teams’ before them. The Blue Jackets became the fifth county team to be shut out in a state final in eight appearances overall. It has now been 25 years since a county team has scored in a championship game. (Dunedin scored 10 and Tarpon Springs six in separate games in 1986.)
For Admiral Farragut, the ineptitude was puzzling considering it had knocked off two-time defending state champion Belle Glade Glades Day the week before.
But all the bounces suddenly went wrong and the calls went against the Blue Jackets.
North Florida Christian (13-0) used its depth and championship game experience to throttle Admiral Farragut in an utterly forgettable championship game.
“They are just in a different class than us,” Blue Jackets coach Chris Miller said of NFC.
With Friday’s win, the Eagles now have seven state titles, tying Glades Day for second most in state history.
And to think, this might have been the Eagles’ most impressive championship team.
NFC averaged 44 points a game and was trying to go undefeated for the first time in school history.
The magic was drained out of Farragut by the end of the first half. After 24 minutes of battling NFC’s bigger and faster players, the Blue Jackets found themselves down 48-0. It was the most points scored in a half in championship game history.
The Eagles scored on all seven possessions in the first half. They showed off their versatility by scoring nearly every way imaginable and doing it with seven different players.
Jonathan Vickers, Warren Hart and Matt Dobson each scored on short touchdown runs. Dobson threw one touchdown pass to Logan Seymour and two more to Branton Lee. Marcus Clark scored on a punt return.
“We just ran into a heck of a football team,” Miller said. “I’ve never seen a team that talented at this level before. We did the best we could but they physically wore us down.”
Part of the reason the Eagles were so dominant has to do with numbers. NFC had 57 players on its roster, none of whom played both ways. AFA had 35, many of whom were pulling double duty.
And the Eagles used an up-tempo attack on offense that left the outmanned Blue Jackets spent as the game wore on.
“We had to play on both sides of the ball and had to deal with playing in the heat with a 1 p.m. game,” AFA senior running back/defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins said. “It was tough. They just came out and executed. We fell behind by a lot but we knew we had go out with pride and finish the game.”
Because of the lopsided score, a running clock was used in the second half. The Eagles started quickly again as Vickers ran 26 yards for a touchdown and Caleb Hems returned a fumble for a score. In the fourth quarter, Hart scored on another run to make it 69-0.
The Blue Jackets had a chance to score on their final drive. But a pass by Kyle Craichy to Brad Hyman-Mohommad fell incomplete and the clock ran out.
“I thought we fought hard the whole time,” Miller said. “This is a team that’s been there and done that. We fought through some adversity and hard times to get to this point. Hopefully, we’ll have another chance to get back.”
Pinellas 0 for 8
County’s state final results
1975, Greensboro d. Shorecrest 28-0
1976, FAMU d. Shorecrest 38-0
1984, Escambia d. St. Petersburg 47-14
1986, Lakeland d. Dunedin 14-10
1986, Dillard d. Tarpon Springs 14-6
1987, Pine Forest d. Dunedin 24-0
1995, Fort Walton Beach d. Dixie Hollins 24-0
2011, North Florida Christian d. Farragut 69-0