SEFFNER — For the second straight season, Armwood knocked Sickles out of the Class 4A playoffs in the first round, only this time it was not as close.
The host Hawks (11-0) beat the Gryphons 35-3 on Friday and will host Hillsborough, a 41-14 winner over Largo, next week. Armwood beat Sickles 22-9 in last year's postseason meeting.
"Last year we felt like they hung with us a little bit," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "We wanted to make sure when they go home that there would be no would've, should've … no ifs."
The Hawks used a stifling defense and the quick feet of quarterback Josh Grady to remain unbeaten. Armwood limited Sickles (6-5) to 131 total yards while Grady ran for a game-high 190 yards and four touchdowns.
"He really wanted to pass the ball," Callahan said of Grady, who completed one pass for 11 yards. "He does a great job of keeping the play alive."
Grady, who scored on runs of 25, 30, 27 and 75 yards, was not the only 100-yard rusher for the Hawks. Matt Jones gained 112.
Another notable back did not fare as well. Sickles' Cary White, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, was held to 42 yards on 12 carries. Quarterback John Hendrick led the Gryphons in rushing with 53 yards.