Seminole Ridge goes to Class 2A ti­tle game

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS - By Joshua Klein­berg Staff writer

In 2013, af­ter years of scat­ter­ing flag foot­ball’s post­sea­son games across Florida, theFHSAA­cen­tral­ized the state play­offs. Since then, only one team has made the trip to the fi­nal four ev­ery year.

And each time they’ve made the trip — once to Tampa, once to Kis­sim­mee, twice to Tal­la­has­see and now to Gainesville — the Semi­noleRidgeHawk­shave hung around for Satur­day.

On a rainy Fri­day at Gainesville’s Cit­i­zens Field, coach Scott O’Hara’s team beat Cooper City 25-12 to reach its sixth straight Class 2A cham­pi­onship and push its win­ning streak to 52 games. TheHawks will face No. 4 Tampa Plant to­day at 11:30 a.m.

Led by se­nior quar­ter­back Emily Hig­gins, whose quick feet and quicker re­lease kept Ridge’s drives from stalling, the Hawks re­ally didn’t take con­trol un­til the mid­dle of the fourth quar­ter.

Af­ter Cooper City QB Caitlin Dunn hit Kim­berly Slinkosky for a touch­down that got the Cow­boys to within 6, Seminole Ridge took over and quickly found it­self on the verge of a 3-and-out, need­ing 15 yards with 6:48 left to play.

Hig­gins calmly took the snap and hit a streak­ing Ash­ley Hol­land­worth on a post route up the mid­dle that put Ridge on the Cow­boys’ 22-yard line. Three plays later, Hig­gins eluded a rusher and tossed a rain­bow to Kris­tiKem­per in the back of the end zone to put the game out of reach.

It was a game that matchedupt­woof the area’s most news­wor­thy flag teams this sea­son: the Hawks, cur­rently South Florida’s long­est-run­ning high school dy­nasty; and the Cow­boys, a team on the bright end of a for­mi­da­ble turn­around.

In the two years prior to last year’s hir­ing of coach Al Diliello, theCow­boyswere a com­bined 1-24. This year, their only reg­u­lar-sea­son loss came against Pines Char­ter in a bat­tle of un­de­feat­eds.

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