Home Sports TCPalm’s best of 2022 high school football

TCPalm’s best of 2022 high school football

TCPalm’s best of 2022 high school football

High school football season is just about wrapped up across the state of Florida.

While a state titles eluded the Treasure Coast again, it was still a memorable year for many teams and players.

A total of seven teams reached the state playoffs and three of those programs earned 10-win seasons: John Carroll Catholic went 10-2 reaching the 1S Final Four, Vero Beach made a 4S regional final after an 11-2 season and Jensen Beach also made a regional final in 3S and achieved a 10-3 season.

Recapping the best moments and stories from the season, TCPalm breaks down the noteworthy plays, games and teams that made headlines over the past five months.

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John Carroll Catholic reaches 1S Final Four 

John Carroll Catholic’s Aidan Singleton (11) runs for a touch down against Port St. Lucie in a preseason kick off classic football game on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Port St. Lucie. John Carroll Catholic won 34-0.

After two straight years of running into talented opponents with a state semifinal in their sights, the Rams broke through by defeating Lakeland Christian 14-7 in the 1S region championship game to reach the program’s first Final Four since 2003.

John Carroll traveled up to Ocala and took on Trinity Catholic on Dec. 2 and took an early 7-0 lead before trailing 10-7 at halftime.

A field goal from senior Wyatt Dempsey in the third quarter tied the game but John Carroll’s offense couldn’t come up with a big play and the Celtics did enough late to win 22-10 and advance to the 1S state title game.

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Under head coach Mickey Groody, the Rams have gone 26-7 the past three seasons and will say goodbye to an outstanding senior class that led the team to becoming one of the area’s best.

Defensive lineman and Auburn commit Wilky Denaud, cornerback and Lehigh commit Aidan Singleton and offensive linemen Will Thogersen and Austin Shevak, committed to Valparaiso and Ave Maria, are all headed to the next level with more Rams likely to join them in the college ranks next fall.

Ricardo Weaver’s walk-off KO return rescues Martin County 

Every kid’s dream is to have a game-winning moment once in their life and Martin County senior Ricardo Weaver made it happen in improbable fashion on Nov. 3.

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After his team went behind 22-21 with 6.3 seconds left when Jensen Beach running back Dennis Palmer, Jr. ran in a two-point conversion to follow a 14-yard touchdown connection between Falcon quarterback Gio Cascione and wide receiver Dylan Fatovich, Weaver stood deep to return the ensuing kickoff.

Martin County High School’s wide receiver Ricardo Weaver (9) runs the ball against Wellington in a high school football game on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 at Martin County High School. Martin County High School won 42-7.

The kickoff first bounced off him and went behind with the clock running. Weaver retrieved the ball on the 5-yard line and worked his way towards his own sideline and weaved through the Jensen Beach coverage all the way into the endzone to produce a stunning 95-yard return that won the game for the Tigers 27-22.

The ending was fitting for what many expected would be an uber-competitive game featuring two teams with a combined record of 15-3. Jensen Beach only led 7-0 at halftime and led 14-7 after three quarters but Martin County took a 21-14 lead on a sparkling 37-yard touchdown run with 3:22 remaining setting up a frantic finish.

The win helped Martin County retain the Fergie Ferguson Trophy as county champions for the third year in a row as the Tigers defeated rival South Fork in the Martin Bowl earlier in the season.

Vero’s Jacobs has season to remember 

Florida State wide receiver commit Vandrevius Jacobs already was a known commodity with his penchant of making difficult catches look easy and having the ability to turn any short gain into a memorable moment for Vero Beach. 

In his senior season, Jacobs made waves as one of the most productive players in the entire state. Catching 100 passes to lead all of Florida, the Vero star had 1,511 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches.

Jacobs over 13 games had nine 100-yard games, six games with at least two touchdowns, had eight or more catches in eight games and two games with 10 or more catches. 

Vero Beach High School's Vandrevius Jacobs  escapes the grip of a South Fork defender as the Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians take on the South Fork Bulldogs on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, at Billy Livings Field at the Citrus Bow in Vero Beach. Vero Beach won 54-6.

The high-water mark came on Nov. 12 in Vero’s regional quarterfinal against Harmony where Jacobs caught 15 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown in a 24-14 victory. Jacobs also had a memorable night on Sept. 30, catching four touchdowns in a 47-7 win over Fort Pierce Central.

In addition to his first playoff performance, Jacobs caught 16 more passes in the playoffs to give him 31 for 334 yards and a touchdown catch in all three games.

Jensen Beach sets new standard

Entering the season, Jensen Beach had one playoff victory in its history, won a district title only once and had never won 10 games in a season.The 2022 Falcons staked a claim to be the best in program history, winning the District 12-3S championship, two playoff games and an overall 10-3 record behind a cast of talented athletes.

Senior quarterback Gio Cascione set school records for yards thrown in a season (2,607) and touchdowns thrown (22), junior running back Dennis Palmer, Jr. ran for 1,640 yards, totaled 2,116 scrimmage yards and scored 29 touchdowns altogether and senior wide receiver Nick Venezia had 1,003 receiving yards and 12 touchdown catches to set new single-season records.

On the other side of the ball, junior safety Dylan Fatovich had seven interceptions and junior defensive back Omarion Hall had five interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

On the defensive line, sophomores Julius Puryear and Carlos McCormack along with junior Zackarius Riggins all had excellent seasons and will return in 2023 for the Falcons.

Master’s Academy earns hardware 

In 8-man football playing in the SSAC, the Patriots had to endure sweeping changes midseason in order to achieve big things.

Starting their season with five straight wins, the program had to rebuild itself after several players were ruled ineligible which resulted in the team having to forfeit its victories.

Finding new players clfrom different sports at the school, the roster was filled out and the Patriots pressed forward. Needing to win its final three regular season games to have a shot to play in the SSAC postseason, Master’s Academy outscored its opponents 118-40 to make the bracket of the AA SSAC playoffs.

Master's Academy defeated Sarasota Christian 48-0 on Nov. 19 to earn the SSAC AA football Championship in at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland.

Defeating Oasis Christian 48-0 to begin the postseason, the Patriots then mowed through Countryside Christian 58-13. In the championship game, junior quarterback Caleb Cotton ran for four touchdowns and added another through the air and an interception on defense in the Patriots’ 48-0 win over Sarasota Christian in Lakeland.

Cotton finished his season with 17 touchdown passes and 19 touchdowns on the ground to lead the offense and junior Marcus Lasiter was the team’s leading tackler with 76. Lasiter also led the team in interceptions with five and was tied for the team lead in sacks with six.


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