Nobody said it would be easy for No. 5 American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.). The Patriots sure made it look that way on Friday, though.
After a three-overtime thriller two weeks ago and another close call last week, the Patriots were back in a familiar spot Friday afternoon as they played in the Class 5A state championship game in Orlando.
The title game wasn’t quite so nip and tuck as the contests leading up, however, as American Heritage ran away with a 44-15 win over Baker County (Glen St. Mary, Fla.). Heritage led at the half, 37-0, and the celebration was on after that.
For the second straight year and the fourth time in five years, American Heritage can call itself a state champion. In the process, the Patriots kept the program’s 27-game win streak alive while finishing the 2017 campaign at 13-0. Head coach and former NFL All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain also extended his own personal win streak to 27 since taking the program over from Mike Rumph, who now is a cornerbacks coach at the University of Miami.
As the Sun-Sentinel tells it, the Patriots scored 27 points in the second quarter to put the game – and the championship – away. The big quarter included a 57-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Miami-bound four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera.
Smith accounted for four scores to clinch the title. He finished the night 7-for-11 for 144 yards and two touchdown, including one throw to Joshua Alexander for a 39-yard score. He also ran in a pair of TDs as he raced for 65 yards total.
Four titles in five years, a 27-game winning streak still intact. What a day, what a season, what a run for these Patriots.