It wasn’t the outcome they had hoped for, but it was a season they can cherish.
Everglades High was outmatched against Seminole Ridge Saturday morning during the state flag football semifinals inside Gene Cox Stadium, as they were defeated 24-0 to bring their storybook season to an end.
The Hawks jumped out to a 24-0 lead heading into the half, but the Gators responded on defense, keeping Seminole Ridge out of the end zone during the second half of the game.
They fought hard until the final whistle.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
And while disappointment may be the initial feeling on the nine-hour chartered bus ride home, the Gators have a lot to be proud of.
This marked the first time in school history that Everglades High reached the flag football semifinals.
"It’s a tremendous accomplishment to make it to the semifinals of the state tournament," Everglades head coach Steve Bounoutas said.
"I’m really happy for the girls, and they should walk off this field with their heads held high, because they lost to an amazing team in Seminoles Ridge. It’s difficult for them (to realize their accomplishment) because there’s nothing but tears right now, but they’ll get to that point once we get on the bus and get out of here."
Stopping Seminole Ridge’s air attack is no easy task. The Hawks threw for 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Gators. They had four different players finish with 20-plus yards and a touchdown. Not to mention their defense providing a nice cushion with four interceptions, three sacks and three tackles for loss.
But Everglades’ defense was able to come up with some big plays down the stretch too.
Senior Bricelis Jimenez led the way with five tackles. Kaela Livingston added four tackles of her own, while Ally Montero finished with two tackles for a loss and two sacks. Amari Stewart and Jaden Dacres each corralled an interception, disrupting Seminole Ridge’s rhythm.
This kind of experience can work wonders for a program that is only reaching this level of competition for the first time, and the Gators look forward to the future.
"To lose my four-year captain, first-team all-Broward, Bricelis Jimenez, to know that that was her final game – it’s hard to say goodbye to her," Bounoutas said.
"But we have a lot of returning girls coming back, so it’s a bright future next year. We have a lot of these same girls coming back, and I told them, ‘remember this feeling – the goods and the bads – and let’s hope we can get back out here and put on a better performance than we did today.’"
"I’m just really proud of this group and what they accomplished this year."