There’s no way around it, Thursday’s loss stung for the Escambia Gators.
But veteran head coach Mike Bennett made it clear to his players that their tremendous season won’t be defined by a 62-27 loss in the 6A state championship game to perennial power Miami Central.
“Miami Central showed tonight how good there offensive line was and they have some great backs and their coaches do a great job,” Bennett said. “I’m so proud of our guys and how hard they fought. 14 wins, you lose one and it doesn’t define your season. We’ve got some really classy kids. I love every one of them.”
DT Gideon finished with a stunning performance, racking up 382 all-purpose yards. He caught 12 passes for 251 yards, returned four kicks for 125 yards and had two touchdowns.
“It felt good being in the open field making plays, but I wish I could’ve done more to help us win,” Gideon said. “It’s been good playing with my brothers and all these seniors my whole life. It was a great season, I just wish we could ended undefeated.”
Central had three players surpass 115 rushing yards, highlighted by a four-touchdown, 188-yard performance by Amari Daniels.
“I’m going to miss all of our seniors,” Bennett said. “They believed in everything we did. We’re going to try to get them all in college. We’re going to get back in the weightroom and get these guys ready to play in college.”
This is a developing story, check back on pnj.com/sports for updates.