The Seminole Ridge High School girls flag football team won the district championship Wednesday, April 25, defeating Jupiter High School 6-0 at a game played at William T. Dwyer High School.
A lone touchdown with four seconds remaining on the clock was all the Hawks needed to claim the title. Receiver Riley Sullivan ran a quick goal line out pattern and dove for the pass to make a clutch catch for the score.
Seminole Ridge defeated Wellington High School 21-6 on Monday, April 23 in the semifinals, sending them into a rematch of last year’s district final against Jupiter.
The game was scoreless until the final minute. Both Jupiter and Seminole Ridge often had trouble establishing a consistent rhythm to move the ball. Credit goes to both defensive units for flustering the opposition.
Seminole Ridge rusher Emma Wagenman recorded four sacks on the night, despite the Warriors keeping two players at times in the backfield to block. “I did this last year, year, and it’s a matter of keeping calm,” Wagenman said. “My coaches were helping though, and they know it was hard for me.”
The Hawks (16-1) had the edge in possession in the first half, but it was Jupiter that pushed forward the best threat in the contest. Early in the third quarter, Jupiter stopped the Hawks, took possession and moved down the field 68 yards to the Hawks’ 4-yard line. It appeared a momentum surge by the Warriors had them poised to take the lead, but the stingy Hawk defense denied a fourth-and-goal attempt by Jupiter, which resulted in a change of possession.
The Hawks grabbed another opportunity in the fourth quarter when cornerback Ayanna Wiltshire picked off a Jupiter pass in midfield to give the Hawks’ offense the ball. Seminole Ridge was able to sustain a drive, but again came up empty.
Jupiter was forced to punt from deep in their own turf, giving the Hawks solid field position for a final drive. Time management and key plays by Ashley Hollandsworth and Channing O’Brien were instrumental for the Hawks to orchestrate the winning drive.
On third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, a double lateral to the outside resulted in the diving touchdown catch by Sullivan, who was across the goal line when she came down with the ball.
“It was the biggest play for me this season,” Sullivan said. “Our coaches believe in me, even when I doubt myself.”
The 6-0 lead was defended in the final four seconds that Jupiter had to come up with a big play. The Hawks defended the district title to retain it for another season, and advanced to the first round of the regional playoffs.
“It’s a very tough district, no question about that,” Coach Scott O’Hara said. “Every team is very competitive. It’s a one-possession game, and we knew it was probably going to come down to one score, and a matter of keeping our poise.”
O’Hara credits the team’s success to not only the commitment of the players, but also the commitment of the coaching staff: David Doge, Kristy Rhemer, Samantha Harris and Shawn Mears. “We have a tremendous coaching staff,” O’Hara said. “They do a phenomenal job and are top notch. They make it easy for me.”