GAINESVILLE – How impressive were the Lakeland Dreadnaughts this season? Maybe you want to ask the Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders.
Behind the running of sophomore Chris Rainey, who had 152 yards and scored once, and senior quarterback Chris Griffin, the Dreadnaughts and coach Bill Castle finished with a perfect 15-0 as they captured the 5A state title, 31-0.
"When we started the season, there were many who weren't sure what this team would do," said Castle. "But I think we really worked hard to win this thing."
The convincing win had many thinking that the Dreadnaughts may be the best team in the state this season, which many Seffner Armwood fans may disagree with.
The Dreadnaughts scored on the opening drive when William Chappel connected from 27 yards out on a field goal at the 7:31 mark.
After both teams came up with key defensive plays the rest of the first quarter, Lakeland went up 10-0 with 10:21 left in the first half went quarterback Chris Griffin capped off a six play drive with a 1-yard run.
The Raiders pulled to within three points with 7:18 remaining in the first have when Steven Brown took a Matt Dougherty pass and went in from 34 yards out. Joe Surgan's point after made it 10-7.
Just when it appeared that the Raiders were back in this game, Lakeland came up with a huge play when Griffin threw a pass into the endzone that was well defensed, but instead of being batted down, the ball was tipped into the air and caught by sophomore Paul Wilson, giving Lakeland a 17-7 at the half.
The second half wasn't any better for the Raiders who finished with minus 35 yards rushing and 122 yards passing.
Rainey's 49-yard run with 5:14 left in the third quarter extended the lead to 24-7. Jamar Taylor got into the act as he scored on a 3-yard run with 2:27 remaining in the game.
L – 3 14 7 7--31
ST- 0 7 0 0-- 7
L – William Chappel 27 fg, 7:31 (1)
L – Chris Griffin 1 run (William Chappel kick), 10:21 (2).
ST – Steven Brown 34 pass from Matt Dougherty (Joe Surgan kick), 7:18 (2).
L – Paul Wilson 16 pass from Chris Griffin (William Chappel kick), 1:21 (2).
L – Chris Rainey 49 run (William Chappel kick), 5:14 (4).
L – Jamar Taylor 3 run (William Chappel kick), 2:27 (4).
Working rosters for the St. Louis Cardinals short-season clubs in State College and Johnson City…