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Flag football powerhouse Robinson headed back to state

The Knights, who didn’t get a chance to defend their title last season due to the pandemic, appear as strong as ever.
Robinson sophomore receiver Katejion Robinson, holding football, celebrates wtih teammates and senior quarterback Sydney Stout, right, moments after Robinson hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass during a 34-0 victory over Lecanto in a Class A region final.
Robinson sophomore receiver Katejion Robinson, holding football, celebrates wtih teammates and senior quarterback Sydney Stout, right, moments after Robinson hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass during a 34-0 victory over Lecanto in a Class A region final. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published May 4
Updated May 4

TAMPA — Robinson’s flag football team again looks like an unstoppable force.

The Knights — who have won four straight Class A state titles and five of the past six — put their dominance on full display Monday night in a 34-0 victory over Lecanto in a region final, a game swayed in the Knights’ favor midway through the first quarter.

That’s when senior Bella Dolce hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sydney Stout. In the following 18 minutes, the Knights scored on touchdown passes to sophomore Katejion Robinson (22 yards), Jaylen Stasio (49 yards) and Robinson again (2 yards).

At the half, Robinson (20-0) held a 27-0 lead over Lecanto (14-2), and the Knights’ confidence was overflowing.

“We feel some nerves before every game, but we also feel confident,” said Stout, who on Monday increased her touchdown pass total this season to a state single-season record of 102. “We feel confident because we feel so prepared. We feel prepared for anything.”

Robinson junior Jaylen Stasio makes one of several long receptions Monday night.
Robinson junior Jaylen Stasio makes one of several long receptions Monday night. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

As the second half opened, the Knights promptly put the game away with a crisp drive that ended with a 2-yard pass to Robinson.

“This year it feels so good to step in and step up,” said Robinson, who played on the Knights’ junior varsity last season, which ended after only four games because of the pandemic. “This all feels so good.”

Stout said she was particularly appreciative of the opportunity to finish this season.

“We lost a lot of talented seniors (10) from last season, which was unfortunately cut short,” Stout said. “We felt like we had something taken away from us last year. A lot of people thought that after we lost all those great players from last year that we wouldn’t be able to come back as strong. And that just made us more determined. I think this team got better because of that determination.”

None of this was lost on Robinson coach Josh Saunders, who has built the Robinson flag football program from the ground up, coaching five different quarterbacks to state titles.

Stout would make six.

“I feel ready for it,” she said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Robinson will play in its seventh straight state semifinal — this year at Jacksonville Mandarin High School — on Friday against Miami Edison, which defeated Miami Monsignor Pace 12-0 on Monday. Newsome also moves on to state in Class 2A after a 20-19 win over Bloomingdale. The Wolves will face Navarre, a 19-13 winner over Spruce Creek.