Coach Shelton Crews sat around school Tuesday afternoon still talking about Tallahassee Godby's latest win. Think shock victim rambling after some sort of traumatic accident.
The Cougars, sluggish most of Friday's game at St. Augustine, were suddenly very much alive after recovering a fumble. They huddled 67 yards from the end zone with one minute, 22 seconds left. A charged offense zipped to St. Augustine's 5-yard line, and with 1.5 seconds left sophomore Billy Mueller booted a 23-yard field goal for a 10-9 victory.
Crews has led his most complete Godby (11-2) team to a state semifinal for the first time in 21 years. In 10 seasons, he has guided the Cougars to eight playoff berths including six straight. Three teams advanced to state semifinals and all three won state titles (1976, '86, '87). Crews was an assistant on the '86 and '87 teams.
"It was like being on top of the world," Crews said of winning the title. "It was an exciting time. … There's a lot of pride, and it's kind of the same way now."
Godby's win over St. Augustine was vengeance for last year's region final defeat. Many prognosticators suggested St. Augustine was the favorite to win the 3A title. But don't expect the emotion of a big win or the extensive travel to wear on Godby when it faces Pasco (12-1) on Friday.
Crews said Godby routinely travels hours to play games throughout the Panhandle, from Pensacola to Jacksonville and down to Gainesville.
This year, Crews has 12 seniors and six Division I prospects. It's hard to ignore receiver Willie Downs (58 receptions, 989 yards, 13 TDs), who has orally committed to Florida State. He, along with 6-foot-2, 275-pound lineman Corey Gaines, were named U.S. Army All-Americans.
Quarterback A.J. Graham has thrown for 3,523 yards and 37 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He also spreads the ball to receivers Kessey Graham (966 yards, eight TDs) and Chris St. Hilaire (836 yards, 10 TDs).
The passing game struggled against St. Augustine, but Crews was confident he could correct the mistakes this week.
"My quarterback misfired 11 times," he said. "I had nine drops by my receivers. You've got to believe the 11 misfires were a hangover effect from the nine drops."
Opponents have been held to 183.23 yards per game. Godby also has posted five shutouts, led by linebackers Justin Jones (155 tackles, nine sacks) and Brandon Hover (116 tackles).
"Last year, we got beat by St. Augustine and we made it a goal to get back there and we did," Crews said. "We got past that mark. Each week you reset your goals. Our only goal each week is to advance."