It is painful, the sudden demise of a season that just a couple of hours ago was full of championship dreams.
But nothing can be more painful than what Deerfield Beach senior wide receiver and University of Alabama recruit Jerry Jeudy has been tormented with this week.
One week ago, Jeudy found out that his beloved 7-year-old sister Aaliyah had passed away.
Jeudy’s high school career — save for all-star games — ended on Friday night, when the visiting Miami Southridge Spartans defeated the Bucks 26-7 in a Class 8A state semifinal.
“I wanted it bad,” Jeudy said of the state title game that awaited the Bucks had they won. “This is my last year, final round before state. I wanted it, but we came up short.”
Jeudy did his best, catching nine passes for 91 yards, but he couldn’t get behind the Southridge defense.
No one could.
Not on this night and not for most of this season.
This was the ninth time this season that Southridge (12-2) did not give up any points while its defense was on the field. The only points for Deerfield Beach (11-3) came on a five-yard fumble return by outside linebacker Ge’mon Eaford.
Deerfield Beach’s offense failed to take advantage of numerous Southridge mistakes, including nine penalties, five lost fumbles, two botched extra points and one interception.
“We should have won this game,” Jeudy said. “With all these turnovers, we couldn’t get in the end zone. The blocking wasn’t there. Our quarterback (Nick Holm) didn’t have time to throw the ball.”
Jeudy, understandably, kept his responses limited to football, but he said it all on Twitter earlier this week when he wrote:
“I love you sis. I swear I’m going to make it for you and mommy. #RIPAaliyah.”
Jeudy said that — despite the loss — the Bucks had a “great season”, and he is justified in saying that because this was Deerfield Beach’s first state semifinal since 2007, when the team lost to another Miami school, Northwestern, 19-14.
Current Bucks head coach Jevon Glenn was an assistant on that staff, losing to the same counterpart — Billy Rolle — who beat him on Friday night.
Glenn knows the Deerfield Beach football story well — never a state champion and 1-6 in semifinal games.
Last season, the Bucks ran into eventual state champion Flanagan in the second round of the playoffs, losing 17-0.
This season, the Bucks avenged that loss with a 10-7 regional semifinal win over Flanagan. Jeudy had an interception return for a touchdown in that game.
Besides Southridge, only one other Florida school beat Deerfield Beach this season, and that was Cardinal Gibbons 23-21 on Nov. 4. The Bucks regrouped after that, making their run to the state semifinals.
Looking ahead to next season, Glenn predicted that Class of 2018 linebacker Rosendo Louis- who recovered two fumbles on Friday — will be Deerfield Beach’s next Under Armour All-American.
The 6-1, 225-pound linebacker already has college scholarship offers from LSU, Miami, Wisconsin, North Carolina State and Georgia. He is ranked No. 11 in the nation among inside linebackers, according to 24/7 Sports.
Glenn will have to find replacements for Jeudy, Holm, Eaford and most of the rest of his best players, including linebacker Brion Byrd, right tackle Jose Jeanty, defensive tackle Jemari Rouse and safety Kobe Green.
The Bucks, though, will be back, Glenn said.
“Buck Pride runs rampant,” Glenn said. “Deerfield has always been a football hotbed.”