Led by a dominant offensive line that paved the way for six rushing touchdowns - three by Joquez Smith '23 - the Jesuit High School football team routed previously unbeaten Lake Wales 53-21 on Friday (Nov. 22) in the Region Final and advanced to the State Semifinal for the 4th time in the past 5 years.
In their quest to reach the State Championship game the Tigers now will go back on the road and face a formidable foe: Miami Northwestern. The Bulls won the past two Class 6A State titles and were reclassified into 5A this year, and they are ranked No. 25 nationally by MaxPreps. Jesuit is No. 98 nationally and No. 11 in Florida among all classifications by MaxPreps.
The State Semifinal will be played at 7:30pm on Nov. 29 at Traz Powell Stadium at Miami-Dade College-North. Click here to advance purchase tickets.
Friday at Lake Wales, the Tigers won their 10th straight game in powerful fashion. The offensive line, led by seniors Cooper Lufkin, Trevor Mayberry, and Connor McLaughlin, blasted openings for Smith (8 carries, 93 yards, 3 TD), Ricky Parks '21 (14 carries, 170 yards, TD), Kiael Kelly '21 (8 carries, 52 yards), Brett Gerena '20 (7 carries, 46 yards, TD), and Myles Coates '21 (5 carries, 28 yards, TD). All totaled, the Tigers ran for 391 yards.
The defense, led by DT Raleigh Oxendine '20, LB A.J. Cottrill '22, DB Aiden Clark '21, and CB Jordan Young '21, kept the explosive Lake Wales offense in check all night.
Since winning the State Championship in 1968, this is the 6th time Jesuit has reached the State Semifinal - 1992, 2002, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. The Tigers finished as State runner-up in 1992.
View below a photo slideshow from the 53-21 Region Final win at Lake Wales: