Patriots win back-to-back state championships

American Heritage triumphed over Tallahassee Godby High School 38-0 in the FHSAA Class 5A state championship game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to win back-to-back titles. Heritage joins St. Thomas Aquinas as the only Broward County teams to repeat as state champions.

Heritage also joins Chaminade-Madonna (2003) and St. Thomas Aquinas (2014) as the only Broward County teams to shut out an opponent in the state championship.

The Patriots had two goals going into the game: score more than 66 points (the amount they scored last year vs. Clay) and allow no points. The Patriots dominated throughout the game, establishing long drives on offense, and forcing turnovers on defense. While the Patriots didn’t score 66 points, the blowout victory, was enough to make the players and fans jubilated.

Senior defensive back Deonta Fair forced a fumble on a big hit which knocked one of Godby’s quarterback Darius Bradwell’s teeth out.

Senior quarterback Torrance Gibson accounted for three touchdowns on the day, and sophomore running back Kyshaun Bryan ran for two scores.

“This feels better than the first one,” Gibson said of winning this year’s state championship. “This feels awesome and feels so good to win back-to-back championships. I couldn’t feel prouder of these boys,” head coach Mike Rumph said.

Playing one of the toughest schedules in the country, ranked No. 4 toughest in the nation by MaxPreps, the Patriots finished the regular season 7-3. The adversity in the losses turned into lessons for the Patriots, and in the playoffs they dominated. Heritage outscored its opponents 208-38 in five playoff games. The only close game of the playoffs was in last week’s last second 20-17 victory over Bishop Moore, in which junior Oren Milstein kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.

“We’re respected now,” American Heritage coach Mike Rumph said. “My goal coming in as the coach two years ago was to put this program on the same level as a St. Thomas Aquinas or a Miramar. This is exactly where we wanted to be.”

Bryan had 16 carries for 156 yards on the ground, and finished the playoffs with 562 yards rushing.

“We had to prove something and we wanted the back-to-back badly,” Bryan said. “We have a great team and we have an opportunity to win two more in a row. That’s going to be our goal.”

Gibson left the game to a standing ovation with five minutes left, and sophomore quarterback Jason Brown replaced him.

Brown and Bryan now each have two rings and have made it their goal to “4-peat.”

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