ORLANDO - For the first time since 2001, the Tallahassee North Florida Christian Eagles are state football champs.
On Friday night, before 2,287 fans, the Eagles used the passing of junior quarterback Clint Trickett and an impressive defense to come away with a 17-7 win over Fort Meade, finishing the year 10-3.
Veteran coach Tim Cokely, who had led this team to 1A state titles in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, gave this football team yet another state crown to put in the trophy case.
Last year, the Eagles lost a heart-breaker at the buzzer against American Heritage-Delray, but this time around, ti was defense that came up strong and held the high powered Miners in check most of the contest.
"This is a big win for these kids," Cokely said. "I know that many of these kids felt so bad after losing the way they did last year. This is a team that never gave up all year, and it showed in this game."
The Eagles struck first when senior fullback Keith Carter took the ball in from the 1 with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter. Aaron Powell's point after made it 7-0.
The drive saw Trickett and senior running back Cody Ledford do much of the damage against the Miners.
As the second quarter began, the Miners were moving in for a score, but Rumeal Carlton's pass was intercepted by freshman Travis Blanks.
The Eagles went up 10-0 at the half on a 24-yard field goal by Aaron Powell.
The Miners finally got on the board in the third quarter when Carlton found Treon Howard from 43 yards out and a 10-7 advantage.
The Eagles put the pressure on with 8:16 left in the game when senior Cody Ledford ran it in from the two, which ended the scoring.
Fort Meade 0 0 7 0 - 7
N. Fl. Christian 7 3 0 7 -17
NFC - Keith Carter 1 run (Aaron Powell kick), :48 (1), 7-0
NFC - Aaron Powell 24 fg, :20 (2), 10-0
FM - Treon Howard 43 pass from Rumeal Carlton (Freddy Cortez kick), 7:56 (3), 10-7
NFC - Cody Ledford 2 run (Aaron Powell kick), 8:16 (4), 17-7
RUSHING: Clint Trickett (12-70)
PASSING: Clint Trickett (10-20-0-104 yards).
RECEIVERS: Cason Knight (2-42)
RUSHING: Lakevin Camp (7-81).
PASSING: Rumeal Carlton (10-18-2-151 yards)
RECEIVING: Anthony Russell (3-51)