Lake Minneola overwhelmed by Miami Central in FHSAA Class 6A football state championship game

J.C. Carnahan, Orlando Sentinel

Lake Minneola was overwhelmed Friday afternoon in the FHSAA Class 6A football state championship game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

The Hawks (11-2), the first Lake County program to reach the state finals in 37 years, were no match for Miami Central (8-1) during a 46-0 setback in front of an announced crowd of 1,668.

Central claimed its second consecutive state title – and seventh since 2010 – while amassing 528 yards of offense and imposing a running clock in the second half.

“Not taking anything away from Miami Central, but I think the stage was a little too big for our guys and our young program,” said Lake Minneola coach Walter Banks. “We’re gonna get back in the shop and work on it and get better for next year.”

Lake Minneola, in just its 10th season since the school opened in 2011, struggled to get anything going on offense while being forced into three-and-outs on its first four possessions.

The Hawks fell into a 12-0 deficit in the opening quarter before piecing together an 8-play drive that featured an impressive 29-yard catch by Jojo Smiley. But the drive ultimately ended on downs with nine minutes to go in the first half when senior quarterback Robbie Sanders was sacked by Central’s Rhoody Jean Louis.

The Rockets had already built an 18-0 lead up to that point as Amari Daniels took a handoff on the first play of the second quarter and rushed for a 14-yard score.

Central promptly added to its advantage when Yulkeith Brown scored on an 8-yard reception and Ghana Oho rushed for a 3-yard TD and two-point conversion to give the Rockets a 32-0 halftime lead.

Central tallied four sacks in the first half and held the Hawks to only 87 total yards, six first downs and 2-of-12 conversions on third down.

Ethan Cole and Drake Harwell led Lake Minneola’s defense with 11 total tackles each.

Junior defensive back Kyeaure Magloire intercepted a pass at the 15 yard line on Central’s third play from scrimmage. He then blocked an extra point attempt after Central scored for the first time on a 16-yard reception by Zaylan Reese and finished with seven tackles.

Brendan Flakes tallied a sack for Lake Minneola on the final play of the first half.

Eustis is the last Lake County team to play in an FHSAA football state championship game when it claimed the 2A title in 1983.

“This meant a lot to our community and our school,” Banks of reaching the state finals. “The only reason we’re here right now is because of our [administrative] leadership giving us what we need and always standing behind us.

“We’re going to be back,” he said. “It’s burning inside right now, but it’s going to give us something in the offseason to work for.”

This article originally appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email J.C. Carnahan at jcarnahan@orlandosentinel.com.