Our Florida High JV and varsity Seminoles emerged on fire from the long, sticky summer in Tallahassee with a blow-out win over the Blountstown Tigers in the 2022 pre-season jamboree. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Blountstown, but weather-related field conditions forced a last-minute change of venue to our own Mike Hickman Stadium, affectionately known to Seminole fans as, “the Shack.” A large home-field crowd gathered on a humid Thursday evening with high energy and even higher expectations for the 2022 campaign.
The Tigers won the toss and elected to take the opening kickoff in hopes of taking an early advantage over the Noles. Their opening drive, which started at their own 27 yard line, saw a few successful running plays and hard fought yards but was stifled with a personal foul penalty that set up a fourth-and-forever situation. The subsequent punt was blocked AND recovered by Seminole senior defensive back Alexander Day on the Tigers’ 6 yard line.
The Noles capitalized on the mistake with an on-target pass from junior quarterback Jeremy Johnston to junior wide receiver Ashton Hampton. Sophomore kicker Cole Allbaugh’s extra point put the Noles up 7-0 in the opening minutes of the game.
The Tigers started their second possession on their own 15 yard line. In a fortunate turn of events for the Noles, the ball was fumbled on the second play of the drive on what looked like a botched reverse play. The fumble was recovered by senior linebacker Ryan Knight on the Tigers’ 15 yard line. Florida High pounded the rock for several plays before senior running back Jalon Carter took it to the house for a second Florida High touchdown. The extra point from Allbaugh made it a quick 14-0 game.
The Tigers were able to get a first down on their next drive but momentum changed abruptly with a bad hand-off that left the ball on the ground. Florida High senior defensive back Donovan Barnes scooped it up scampered 45 yards for another Seminole touchdown. Allbaugh continued what would be a perfect night of extra points and the Noles found themselves in possession of a 21-point lead.
Things did not get any easier for the Tiger offense. On their next possession, Blountstown’s quarterback threw a 50-yard pass that ended up in the hands of junior defensive back Micahi Danzy. Danzy, a decorated track star off the gridiron, returned the interception for 20 yards but an unfortunate block in the back penalty put the ball at the Noles’ own 10 yard line. That third Tiger turnover brought the first quarter to a close.
The Noles’ first drive of the second quarter included a nice balance of runs and passes, including a 45-yard gain from a Johnston-to-Hampton pass. The drive was capped by a nice in-route to junior wide receiver Keisean Inman, whose reception put the Noles up by 27.
The Florida High defense continue its residency in the Tiger back field, forcing a “three-and-out” on their next possession. Barnes put the Noles in good field position with his punt return and on the next play, Johnston connected on a 25-yard go-route to senior wide receiver Brooks Hickman for the Noles fifth touchdown of the half. Just like that, the Noles were up 35-0.
After another “three-and-out” for the Tigers, it became senior running back Rhyder Poppell’s show, as he carried the ball on three of the drive’s four plays. His 15-yard rush behind a young but dynamic and dominate offensive line would be the last score of the night for the varsity Seminoles. Florida High’s JV defense took the field on the Tigers’ last drive of the first half, and was able to preserve the first half shutout.
The second half saw a match up between the Tigers’ and Noles’ JV squads. The Noles moved the ball well under the leadership of freshman quarterback Cannon Cowhey. Again, the offense had a nice balance of runs and passes and the defense held the Tigers to another scoreless half. Florida High JV’s only score of the half came on a nice 15-yard out-route to freshman running back Jordan Haigler.
The Noles demonstrated that the hard work and commitment they put into their grueling summer training and fall camp schedules paid off in dividends. They were nearly flawless in all three components of the game, with the exception of a few penalties here and there that they will no doubt be working hard to clean up.
It should be noted that three key components of our full varsity Seminoles roster, difference-makers on both sides of the ball, did not dress for this preseason game: junior linebacker Rolando Robbins, senior wide receiver/defensive back Tay Young and senior linebacker Chris Cotton. With these three additional weapons back in our arsenal, you can be sure that Coach Jarrod Hickman and the varsity Noles will be locked, loaded and ready to make a statement next Friday night against the Celtics of Trinity Catholic.
View complete game photo gallery here.
Great recap! So excited for this Year and for another Noles run for the State Championship. This is our year!
Touchdown Club Site Admin
Let’s Go Kim!