On Wednesday, May 3, the Seminole Ridge High School girls flag football team hosted Jupiter High School in the District 9-2A championship game and rallied in the second half to win 7-6 and repeat as district champions.
The game was a rematch of last year’s district finals between the two teams, but this season’s match-up was a much tighter contest.
The Warriors demonstrated early that they could move the ball, but a tough Seminole Ridge defense denied any score on Jupiter’s initial drive. On the Hawks’ first possession, they turned over the ball with an interception, giving Jupiter good field position.
Three plays later, the Warriors drove it in for the game’s first score, taking a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. Trailing in a game is not something that is familiar to the Hawk flag football community, but Seminole Ridge did not surrender another score.
The Hawk offense continued to struggle through the first half in moving the ball, but the defense kept up the pace to keep the game close. Just before the end of the first quarter, a Hawk halfback pass to receiver Ashley Hollandsworth netted 60 yards, which would have put the Hawks in a possible scoring position, but it was nullified by a penalty.
In the second quarter, Jupiter drove to the Seminole Ridge 19-yard line, but Emma Wagenman recorded her second sack, setting back the Jupiter offense for a 4-yard loss. On the next play, Maddie Herzig intercepted a Jupiter pass at the Hawks’ 12-yard line, giving Seminole Ridge back the ball.
The Hawks were unable to convert that possession into points before the half, and still trailed 6-0, but Wagenman’s five first-half sacks made the difference in Jupiter not being able to add to the score. Wagenman collected seven sacks on the night for the Hawks.
“It’s fantastic. It’s my first time as a district champion,” she said. “I think I set the mood for the defense, and I’m proud of everybody.”
Facing adversity is something the Hawks handle well. The Hawks opened up the second half on their first possession with a pivotal response. They capped a seven-play drive when quarterback Emily Higgins connected with Channing O’Brien in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The Hawks also converted on the crucial extra point to lift them to a 7-6 lead over Jupiter.
The Warriors threatened, driving down to the Hawk 36-yard line, but Hollandsworth leaped up and intercepted a Warrior pass. Seminole Ridge would periodically advance the ball but could not get into the end zone to extend the lead.
With only minutes left, Jupiter attempted to put together a drive, again nullified by the Hawk defense. Hollandsworth grabbed her second interception, nearly returning it for a score.
“It’s a stressful game, but it felt good to end the game on a high note,” Hollandsworth said.
With 24 seconds remaining to play, the Hawks had possession inside the Jupiter 20 and ran out the clock to win 7-6 and claim district bragging rights.
“We’ve had some close games this year, for sure, but I think it definitely helped us tonight,” Seminole Ridge head coach Scott O’Hara said. “It was a good gut check to see what we’re made of.”
Seminole Ridge faced off against Park Vista High School in the regional playoffs this week, but results were not available by press time.
ABOVE: The Seminole Ridge High School girls flag football team celebrates the district title win.