L’s stun Seminole
Fort Lauderdale headed to state final for first time
FORT LAUDERDALE — After winning three playoff games on the road, Fort Lauderdale finally got a chance to play at home and they did not disappoint.
The Flying L’s soared to 2-0 victory over visiting Sanford Seminole on Saturday afternoon and are headed to the Class 4A boys soccer state championship for the first time in school history.
Fort Lauderdale (22-5-1) will play the winner of the Jacksonville FletcherAuburndale game for the state title at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium in DeLand.
Fort Lauderdale got goals from freshman Jorge Aguilar in the eighth minute and salted the game away with just seconds left as sophomore Mario Simoes put in a rebound on a shot off the post by sophomore Camilo Prado. Prado also assisted on the first goal.
The L’s got a huge lift right at the end of the first half with two crucial saves by junior goalkeeper Giovanni Bonilla, who saved point-blank shots by Griffin Prestipino, Coby Suski and Kobe Hepburn in the closing seconds to record his 10th shutout of the season.
“At the time we were up 1-0 and I was just trying to keep the lead,” said Bonilla, who made nine saves in the game and came off his line to interrupt several cross attempts by the Warhawks. “The two saves are what I practice, and it just comes in the game in the moment. You really don’t think about it.”
Both teams were district runners-up and had to travel in their previous three regional games. This was Fort Lauderdale’s first home game of the postseason. Fort Lauderdale reached the Class 4A state semifinals one other time in 2013 where they lost to Gulf Coast 6-1.
Fort Lauderdale coach Mourinho Snipe was emotional after the game. He choked back tears talking about his younger brother Carlon, who died in a plane crash before the season.
“This is huge for me,” Snipe said. “I lost my brother in the plane crash and I know he is smiling down on me right now. He would be very happy. I am so proud of the boys. It is so good for the school…the players worked very hard and they deserve it.”
L’s junior midfielder Steven Noguera said the team dedicated the season to Snipe’s brother. Noguera also played a big role for Fort Lauderdale who on Wednesday night, stunned the nation’s third-ranked team and previously undefeated St. Thomas Aquinas
1-0 in the Class 4A regional final.
“To be honest, this is the biggest game of my high school career, and next week we play in the state finals,” Noguera said. “We want to dedicate this game to his brother; may he rest in peace. First state championship game [appearance] in school history and to represent the school as a captain, means the world to me.”
Seminole (19-4-3) was ranked 13th in the state and
32nd in the country by MaxPreps.