High School Sports

Coconut Creek, Hialeah fall in flag football state semifinals

Hialeah’s Ja’Keira Betties makes a pitch during Friday’s Class 2A state flag football semifinal. Hialeah lost the game 40-12 to Seminole Ridge.
Hialeah’s Ja’Keira Betties makes a pitch during Friday’s Class 2A state flag football semifinal. Hialeah lost the game 40-12 to Seminole Ridge. For the Miami Herald

The Hialeah and Coconut Creek flag football teams drove more than four hours from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties up to Tampa on Friday afternoon only to lose in back-to-back state semifinal games.

Coconut Creek suffered the first loss, 13-6 to Harmony, a defeat that many considered an upset.

The second game was far more lopsided as perennial flag football powerhouse Seminole Ridge pretty much dominated from start to finish, finally walking away from Hialeah with a 40-12 victory.

For Hialeah, however, the defeat wasn’t devastating. After all, it was Hialeah’s first year with a flag football team, which ended up with a 13-4 record.

“It was a fantastic learning experience,” Hialeah coach Denoff Johnson said. “After the year we had, winning a district title and a regional title and getting all the way to the state semifinal, you can’t say it was disappointing.”

Johnson did say that, “It was obvious in the first few minutes who the experienced team and who the first-timer was. We were a little tight.”

For Coconut Creek, it was a strong beginning — a first-quarter touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard pass Shedly Appollon — followed by zero points.

Harmony didn’t exactly light it up on offense, totaling only 85 yards, but it did manage touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.

Hialeah played much better in its second half, but it was too little too late.

Brianna Sweeting and Diamond Celestine caught touchdown passes in the third and fourth quarters on receptions of 6 and 19 yards, but that was after Seminole Ridge had pushed ahead with a 34-0 lead.

“We calmed down in the second half and it showed,” Johnson said. “We played much better.”


Pinecrest Prep had two seniors sign with The University of Faith, an NAIA school in St. Petersburg. Offensive linemen Jose Ramirez and Robert Denmark became the first college signees in the program’s history. Pinecrest Prep is entering its third season in the fall.


The South team edged the North team at the annual Miami-Dade County All-Star match, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13 on Thursday night at SLAM Charter.

Killian’s Jason Harris led the South team, coached by his high school coach Clinton Reid, with 15 kills and Alex Brown from Palmetto had 10 kills. The North team, coached by Mourning’s Dee Rey was led by Will Zuluaga, who had 17 kills. Jonah Sanchez from St. Brendan had 12 kills as well. Columbus’ Gabriel Campo also had 15 assists for the South. Other notable players for the North were Mason Mincey from Coral Park with eight kills and Derek Bostik from Terra with 10 digs.


The Florida Association of Basketball Coaches and Source Hoops announced its All-State teams. In Class 8A, Flanagan’s Kiki Harrigan and Ferguson’s Gio Perez made first team. In Class 7A, South Broward’s Shante Walker and Fort Lauderdale’s Keyanna Warthen each made first team. In Class 6A, Jacaira Allen made first team and Northeast’s Nailah Delinois made second team. And in Class 3A, Miami Country Day’s Channise Lewis and Kelsey Marshall made first team and teammates Maria Alvarez and Dashaun Jackson each made second team.

If you go

What: State flag football finals.

When: Through Saturday.

Where: Robinson High School, 6311 S. Lois Ave., Tampa.

Admission: $8 per day; Parking: $5 for cars; $50 for fan buses.

Friday’s results – Class 1A semifinals: St. Cloud Harmony 13, Coconut Creek 6; Tampa Robinson vs. Tallahassee Godby, inc.; Class 2A semifinals: Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge 40, Hialeah 12; Stuart Martin County vs. Tampa Plant, inc.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 1A final: Harmony vs. Robinson-Godby winner, 3; Class 2A final: Seminole Ridge vs. Martin County-Plant winner, 5.