Home Sports Football: John Carroll Catholic’s state playoff dreams end in Ocala

Football: John Carroll Catholic’s state playoff dreams end in Ocala

Football: John Carroll Catholic’s state playoff dreams end in Ocala

OCALA — Trinity Catholic received the test it was looking for in its 2022 playoff run, rallying to defeat Fort Pierce John Carroll 22-10 Friday night to advance to the Class 1S state championship game.

The Celtics (9-2) will face Naples First Baptist Saturday at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee for the state final.

Before hosting John Cspanrroll (10-2), the Celtics ran through their competition, averaging 52 points per game.

The Rams led the way for most of the first half. They tied together important stops before injuries changed their game plan.

“We had some injuries go into our offensive line. We had defensive ends playing both ways all game, and to keep it that close that long I couldn’t ask anything more of them,” said John Carroll head coach Mickey Groody.

Recent:John Cspanrroll footbspanll seeks revenge spant Trinity Cspantholic

Flashback:Remembering John Cspanrroll footbspanll’s lspanst Finspanl Four spanppespanrspannce in 2003

John Carroll Catholic Rams fans celebrate the touchdown by running back Tony Colebrook (5) in the first quarter against Trinity Catholic at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, FL on Friday, December 2, 2022. The Celtics won 22-10 and advance to the state championship. [Cyndi Chambers/Ocala Star Banner] 2022

The penalty bug also reared its head once again for the home team. It broke up positive runs for the Celtics on several possessions. Through their ups and downs, Trinity Catholic came out on top.

“It’s going to catch up with us, but we keep moving forward. All we have to do is get through one more game, but we’re going to clean that up this week,” said Trinity Catholic head coach John Brantley.

While the Celtics get back to the drawing board and Trinity Catholic fans around Ocala celebrate another week of football, let’s take a closer look at the semifinal game.

John Brantley Wins No. 90

The Celtics’ celebration had a double meaning. While students stormed the field to celebrate a state championship berth, Trinity Catholic head football coach John Brantley’s team cheered for his 90th win.

Brantley’s coached at the private school for 10 seasons. He’s averaging nine wins a season for his career.

“It’s a reflection of not only what we done here, but it’s a coaching staff that I’ve been able to assemble.” Brantley said. “There’s a lot of people that need to be touching this 90th game ball.”

The win earns him his fifth trip to the state title. He’s coached in two as an assistant coach and this will be his third as a head coach.

Celtics defense closes the deal

The defense has been one of Trinity Catholic’s staples throughout the season. The Celtics haven’t given up more than one touchdown in any of their last four games.

In the first quarter, John Carroll looked like it could change that. The Rams scored the game’s first touchdown behind junior running back Tony Colebrook.

Colebrook moved the chains well until the second half. The holes he saw earlier closed.

“Once we stopped the dive, we knew 15 (Colebrook) wasn’t comfortable when the bullets were flying,” said Trinity Catholic defensive coordinator Steve Young.

Taking away John Carroll’s primary weapon allowed Trinity Catholic to pressure the pocket. It helped fuel one of the most essential momentum swings of the game.

John Carroll Catholic Rams strong safety Robert Jones (3) with the return during the first half against Trinity Catholic at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, FL on Friday, December 2, 2022. [Cyndi Chambers/Ocala Star Banner] 2022

Courtney Patterson picked up the biggest sack of the game, forcing a fumble and helping his teammate convert the recovery into a safety. Then, Jeremiah Rhem iced the game with a last-second interception.

The defense won this game for Trinity Catholic. When the defensive unit faced adversity, it was met head-on, knowing how vital every stop would be if the Celtics wanted a shot at the state title.

Key penalty on field-goal attempt

Trinity Catholic was deadlocked with John Carroll to start the fourth quarter. Twelve minutes separated the teams from destiny and a shot at the state title.

The Celtics started the quarter with the ball and a single mission: get in the end zone. There was a lot of difficulty in what would be the longest drive of the game.

The offense ran like a machine despite dealing with turnovers. Beau Beard and Preston Wright worked in tandem to chunk out 74 yards, and it still wasn’t enough to score.

John Carroll Catholic’s strong safety Robert Jones (3) gets some yards for the Rams in the second half against Trinity Catholic at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, FL on Friday, December 2, 2022. The Celtics won 22-10 and now advance to the State Championship. [Cyndi Chambers/Ocala Star Banner]  2022

Trinity Catholic would settle for a field goal. Shortly after the ball was snapped, a John Carroll football player crashed into kicker John Arroyo, prompting a roughing-the-kicker call.

The play moved the Celtics closer and put Arroyo in the perfect position to give his team the lead.

Beau Beard does it again

Beard is on one of the most unique runs in FHSAA football history. Of the 18 football teams left alive in the state title chase, only three players are on a four-game streak of 100-plus rushing yards and two touchdowns per game.

On Friday night, it looked like the trend wouldn’t continue. He had 84 yards and a touchdown through three and a half quarters.

“We really leaned on him. He’s our bell cow right now,” Brantley said.

Nursing a 3-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Beard broke through several tackles in the secondary for a 34-yard score and that elusive second touchdown.

Beard is putting the finishing touches on one of the best rushing seasons in Trinity Catholic history. He’s the fifth Celtic in the last 10 years to rush for more than 1,000 yards.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here