Armwood ends Tate’s season, 53-19

Armwood ends Tate’s season, 53-19

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Armwood ends Tate’s season, 53-19

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SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Armwood Hawks quarterback Darrian McNeal tries to escape the diving tackle of Tate defensive end Alonte Thompson during Friday's Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Armwood Hawks quarterback Darrian McNeal tries to escape the diving tackle of Tate defensive end Alonte Thompson during Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate Aggies running back Shannon Halfacre is hauled down by Armwood safety Tyler Scott during the second half of action in Friday's Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate Aggies running back Shannon Halfacre is hauled down by Armwood safety Tyler Scott during the second half of action in Friday’s Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith ishauled down for a sack by Armwood defensive lineman Malcolm Lamar in the second half of Friday's Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith ishauled down for a sack by Armwood defensive lineman Malcolm Lamar in the second half of Friday’s Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate receiver Jake Henry hurdles over Armwood defensive back Deon Morgan for one of the Aggies' few long gains in Friday's Class 6A state semifinal game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate receiver Jake Henry hurdles over Armwood defensive back Deon Morgan for one of the Aggies’ few long gains in Friday’s Class 6A state semifinal game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

Armwood running back Brian Snead eludes Tate's Trace Penton (10) and Dallas Ditto (on ground) for a long run during the second half of action in Friday's Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance.

Armwood running back Brian Snead eludes Tate’s Trace Penton (10) and Dallas Ditto (on ground) for a long run during the second half of action in Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance.

Armwood running back Erin Collins breaks loose for a long touchdown run against Tate in Friday's Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando.

Armwood running back Erin Collins breaks loose for a long touchdown run against Tate in Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando.

Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith scrambles for yardage against during the first half of action against Armwood in Friday's Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19.

Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith scrambles for yardage against during the first half of action against Armwood in Friday’s Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19.

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate receiver Madison Lockman, right, consoles teammate Dee Thomspn after the Aggies fell 53-19 to host Seffner Armwood in Friday's Class 6A state semifinals football game. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate receiver Madison Lockman, right, consoles teammate Dee Thomspn after the Aggies fell 53-19 to host Seffner Armwood in Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals football game. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate receiver Reggie Payne reacts after the Aggies fell 53-19 to host Seffner Armwood in Friday's Class 6A state semifinals football game. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate receiver Reggie Payne reacts after the Aggies fell 53-19 to host Seffner Armwood in Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals football game. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

Armwood assistant complimenting @aggie_mac53 on his game #pnjpreps.

Armwood assistant complimenting @aggie_mac53 on his game #pnjpreps.

Aggies burn T.O. 1:34 in 2Q. Ball on 44. Hawks lead 29-7 #pnjpreps

Aggies burn T.O. 1:34 in 2Q. Ball on 44. Hawks lead 29-7 #pnjpreps

Tate wins the cointoss.

Tate wins the cointoss.

Tate High School quarterback Sawyer Smith keeps the ball Friday while playing Niceville. Tate beat Niceville 21-20 and advance to the Class 6A state semifinals.

Tate High School quarterback Sawyer Smith keeps the ball Friday while playing Niceville. Tate beat Niceville 21-20 and advance to the Class 6A state semifinals.

Friday night’s 6A state semifinal wasn’t the outcome the Tate Aggies dreamed about … in fact, they probably didn’t envision it in their worst nightmares.

The Seffner Armwood Hawks excelled in all phases of the game, producing a 53-19 win and earning their third-straight trip to the state finals.

However, the first series was not indicative of what the outcome would be.

The Aggies won the coin toss, deferred to the second half and Evan Legassey sent the kickoff out of the end zone.

Vilona: From oblivion, Tate rises to champion

Three players later, Monty Brown intercepted a Darrian McNeal pass and returned it 24 yards for a pick-six touchdown and a quick Aggies lead.

But Armwood’s stud QB wouldn’t let one bad play throw him off his game.

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Armwood Hawks linebacker C.J. Jones pulls down Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith for a sack during the second half of Friday's Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Armwood Hawks linebacker C.J. Jones pulls down Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith for a sack during the second half of Friday’s Class 6A state semifinals game at Lyle Flagg Field. The Hawks went on to defeat the Aggies 53-19 to advance to the stat title game Saturday in Orlando. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

“Coach always tells me to have a short memory,” said McNeal, who has offers to Marshall and Boston College as a junior. “So I forgot about that play (interception) and went back out on our next drive trying to make plays.”

On the next drive, Armwood marched its way down the field before Erin Collins capped it off with a 7-yard rushing score.

In the second quarter, the Hawks put up four quick touchdowns to build a 36-7 lead by the half.

“Armwood is No. 1 in the state for a reason,” Tate coach Jay Lindsey said. “They got a great football team with very good players. We made some mistakes that you just can’t make against a top-caliber team like that. It was tough to overcome. Hats off to Armwood.”

The Hawks put together two backbreaking scores with 1:42 left in the half, and even dialed up a flawlessly executed trick play.

McNeal found Warren Thompson on a screen pass, then the receiver looked downfield and found a wide-open Collins for a 65-yard score.

Smith, Henry follow in siblings’ footsteps

“It’s fun being a part of this offense (at Armwood),” McNeal said. “We’ve got so many weapons and our O-line is just so powerful. We have a chance to score on every play with our offense.”

After a quick three-and-out for Tate, Armwood’s Trevor Laurent displayed a highlight reel punt return — the same distance as Collins’ touchdown.

For Tate, all three touchdowns were scored by seniors — to cap off their high school careers.

After Brown’s pick-six, Dee Thompson found the end zone with six minutes to play in the third, and Reggie Payne hauled in a 55-yard pass for a score with 1:10 to play in regulation.

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 -- Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith barely eludes a sack by Armwood strong safety Dedarallo Blue in the second half of action in Friday's Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

SEFFNER, FL. 12/4/2015 — Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith barely eludes a sack by Armwood strong safety Dedarallo Blue in the second half of action in Friday’s Class 6A state semigfinal at Lyle Flagg Field. The Aggies fell to the Hawks 53-19. Photo by BILL WARD/PNJ

With the Aggies accumulating 19 points, they were just two points shy of producing the most scoring that any team had (Gainesville, 20) on Armwood this season.

“They (Tate) scored on our defense … twice,” McNeal said. “They did good. I had seen them on film before (Friday night). We respect each team, but we looked at Tate like we do every game: we gotta win.”

McNeal and the Hawks will face Miami Central in the 6A state finals in Orlando at 1 p.m. (Orlando time) Saturday. The Hawks have lost to the Rockets in each of the last two seasons.

Lindsey pointed out that Tate’s loss was not due to lack of effort, and it also certainly wasn’t due to lack of fan support.

The Aggies faithful stuffed the visitor section at Armwood, after doing the same at Niceville, Pine Forest and Navarre in the prior three weeks of the postseason.

What’s next?

Who: Armwood vs. Miami Central

What: Class 6A state championship game

When: 12:07 p.m. Saturday

Where: Citrus Bowl Stadium

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