(NBC Miami) – “Man, this is big,” said Miami Central Senior High running back Devonta Freeman. He could have been talking about the growing fog enveloping the field at the Citrus Bowl, or the pressure on the Florida State-bound star to produce.
But those things were no problem: Freeman rushed for a whopping 308 yards, leading Central to the Class 6A state football championship over Orlando Dr. Phillips, 42-27.
“We made history,” he said, referring to the fact that no Central team had ever even played in a championship game. “We’re the first team that did it in history. Now we take it back to the school. First, we did it for the community.”
They very nearly did not. Telly Lockette’s Rockets had trailed 0-17 heading into the seconds quarter.
But quarterback Rakeem Cato threw three touchdown passes — one to Freeman, who added two more rushing — and Central (14-1), outgained Dr. Phillips (14-1) 513 yards to 238. They also committed 18 penalties for 148 yards, gave up a 61-yard first-quarter interception for a touchdown by Ryan Luckett, and suffered one brutal hit.
A 21-point second quarter helped, and the Rockets took their first and final lead with 4:06 in the third quarter when Cato found Thomas Shuler in the end zone.
This is also the first state title for volunteer position coach and 2 Live Crew impresario Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, prompting one observer to note, “In Miami, even our rappers win football championships.”
Source/Words: NBC Miami