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Jared Watson, Casey Contreras receive Minahan awards

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The finalists for the Bill Minahan Award in football and flag football were not selected solely for what they did on the field. The criteria had to do more with leadership, loyalty and compassion — among the many traits that best describe the former Jesuit football coach the award is named after. 

Berkeley Prep offensive lineman Jared Watson and Steinbrenner wide receiver/linebacker Casey Contreras, the two winners, embodied those characteristics. 

Watson, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, devoted plenty of his time helping other children while going through the grueling stages of chemotherapy. He also spent more than 500 hours with community service projects, such as Meals on Wheels and Feeding Tampa Bay. 

Contreras, now in her fourth season with the Warriors’ flag football team, has served as a particularly on the academic side. Her help is a big reason Steinbrenner is the four-time defending Class 2A academic state champions, an honor awarded to the team with the highest combined GPA.

“(The award) is more than just how I am as a player or what I do on the field,” Contreras said. “It means a lot to get an award that’s based on more than that, one that is based more on my character and how I serve others in my community. 

“It’s really important to me to make sure that the blessings I’ve received throughout my life I’m giving back to others”

Watson and Contreras each received a scholarship check for $2,500.

The other finalists, who each received a $1,500 scholarship, included:

  • Henry Griffin, Wharton: The defensive tackle/linebacker overcame the loss of his father to excel in academics and athletics. He plans to honor his father;s Navy background by serving in the United States military.
  • Deon Silas, Steinbrenner: The 2019 Minahan Award winner is an Iowa State signee who has been elected the Warriors’ team captain a school record three straight seasons. 
  • Deborah Carvajal, Leto: The student government officer also is an academic leader and is passionate about changing the culture at her school. 
  • Catalina Rodriguez-Kretz, Sumner: She is president of the Student Government Association, a member of JROTC and is on the school’s swim, soccer and flag football team. 

Minahan, who died in 2013, coached at area high schools for 38 years, including 28 at Jesuit, where he led the Tigers to the 1968 state football title — the only one in school history. Minahan’s widow, Martha, was instrumental in starting the award in 2015. More than $55,000 in scholarships have been given to winners and finalists in the past seven years.     

Flag Football

Flag football: Class 2A state final preview

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Saturday’s flag football state finals

All games are at Mandarin High in Jacksonville.  Admission is $10 in advance, $13 on the day of the event. Parking is included in the ticket price. 

Class 2A

Newsome (19-1) vs. Davie Western (17-0), 1

How they got here: Newsome d. Alonso 27-0, d. Bloomingdale 20-19, d. Navarre 33-18. Davie Western d. Miami Dr. Krop 27-0, d. Miami Ferguson 38-6, d. Seminole Ridge 19-6. 

Outlook: This is the first time Newsome has appeared in a state championship game. The Wolves advanced by jumping out to an early lead and maintaining it in a 33-18 victory over Navarre in the state semifinals. Now comes the tough part with a matchup against Davie Western in the final. Both teams are ranked among the top two in the classification and the top four nationally by MaxPreps. The Wildcats, the nation’s top-ranked team, has outscored opponents by a combined 554-42. 

Team leaders (stats entering state semifinals)

CategoryNewsomeWestern
Passing (yards/TDs)Devyn Silvestri, 3,435 yards/50 TDsSydney Ford, 3,430 yards/56 TDs
Rushing (yards/TDs)Devyn Silvestri, 422 yards/11 TDsSydney Ford, 157 yards/6 TDs
Receiving (yards/TDs)Kayla Ludwig, 1,079 yards/14 TDsVeronica McBride, 812 yards/14 TDs
TacklesKassidy Keebler, 84Lian Scott, 55
SacksCaroline Mckenna, 42Naiya Rampat, 16
InterceptionsDevyn Silvestri, 12Keylee Allen, 9

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Flag Football

Flag football: Class 1A state semifinal preview

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Friday’s flag football state semifinals

All games are at Mandarin High in Jacksonville.  Admission is $10 in advance, $13 on the day of the event. Parking is included in the ticket price. 

Class 1A

Robinson (20-0) vs. Miami Edison (10-1), 8:15

How they got here: Robinson d. Bradenton Southeast 52-0, d. Lecanto 34-0. Miami Edison d. Miami Southridge 19-14, d. Miami Monsignor Pace 12-0. 

Outlook: The Knights have won five state titles (2014 2016-19), including the last four in their classification (the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic). They have demolished the competition so far this season, outscoring foes by a combined 816-50. Robinson’s defense has posted shutouts in four of the last five games, including both playoff contests. Quarterback Sydney Stout has already shattered the state single-season record for most touchdown passes in a season with 102. Her favorite target is Bella Dolce, who has 127 catches for 1,276 yards and 25 touchdowns. After getting shut out by Western in the season opener, Edison has won 10 straight. The Raiders reached the state semifinals by surviving a pair of close, low scoring postseason games against Southridge and Monsignor Pace.   

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Flag Football

Sydney Stout reaches 100 touchdown passes — this season

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout reached an impressive milestone with her 100th touchdown pass on Monday.   

That is not a career mark.

Stout reached that total this season.

The senior already had shattered the flag football single-season state record of 79 touchdown passes and entered the Class 2A region final needing just three touchdowns to hit triple digits. 

No problem. 

Stout threw four touchdown passes — in the first half. 

She added another in the second half to give her 102, a number that will continue to grow. 

After all, the Knights beat Lecanto 34-0 in the region final. Robinson, which has won state titles in five of the past six seasons (the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic), advances to the state semifinals on Friday. Stout could end up playing in two more games if the Knights keep their state title streak intact. 

And there’s a good chance of that happening considering Robinson has outscored foes by a combined 816-50 this year.  

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