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Preview: Florida state finals

12/13/2012

The Florida Class 5A, Class 6A, Class 7A and Class 8A state champions will be decided this weekend at The Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Immokalee and Tallahassee Godby will play for the 5A title at 1 p.m. ET, and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas will go for its seventh state championship Friday night against Tallahassee Lincoln. On Saturday, Miami Central will take on Gainesville for the Class 6A title in the early game, and Weston Cypress Bay will battle Apopka for the 8A title Saturday night.

CLASS 5A: IMMOKALEE (11-3) vs. TALLAHASSEE GODBY (13-1)

It will be up to Immokalee’s defense, led by five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander and four-star defensive tackle Deadrin Senat, to stop a strong Godby offensive attack featuring running back Tim Longmire and wide receiver Jamaul Vickers. One of the more exciting matchups of the game will be Immokalee’s 2014 watch list wide receiver J.C. Jackson against Godby’s watch list defensive back Deion Singleton.

CLASS 6A: MIAMI CENTRAL (12-2) vs. GAINESVILLE (14-0)

The best way to defend Central’s backfield of watch list prospects Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook is to keep them off the field. Expect Gainesville to utilize its own running game behind three-star senior Raphael Webb and top junior prospect Tony James to bleed the close and shorten the game. Gainesville linebacker Keith Kelsey Jr. should have over 15 tackles in this one.

CLASS 7A: FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (12-2) vs. TALLAHASSEE LINCOLN (12-1)

St. Thomas Aquinas will be playing for its seventh state championship after a shocking 28-18 victory over top-ranked Bradenton Manatee. Quarterback John O’Korn will use his arms and his legs as Aquinas will try to overpower Lincoln behind a line featuring UConn commit Kyle Schafenacker. Lincoln’s 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker James Hearns should be up for the challenge, and when Lincoln has the ball it will put ESPN 300 wide receivers Taj Williams and Reggie Davis in position to make big plays.

CLASS 8A: WESTON CYPRESS BAY(12-2) vs. APOPKA (12-2)

Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo has taken three programs to the state finals and does it the old-fashioned way: running the ball and playing defense. NC State commit Matthew Dayes does the running, while linebacker Nico Marley joins defensive back Boaz Joseph and junior prospect Marquese Dudley-Gordon to handle the defense. Apopka will run from the spread, the I-formation or the single wing if necessary. Junior quarterback Zack Darlington has seem them all, as he is the son of Apopka coach Rick Darlington.