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St. Edward's chases 2nd SSAC championship

11/19/2016, 10:00am EST
By Luis Torres , luis.torres@tcpalm.com

St. Edward’s is in a position it hasn’t been in since 2010.

The Pirates’ football team is one win away from winning the Sunshine State Athletic Conference championship.

However, St. Stephen’s Episcopal stands in the way.

The teams meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Oviedo-Master’s Academy in the SSAC championship game, Florida Bowl III.

The Pirates (7-3) won their only SSAC title in 2010. It also happened to be coach Bill Motta’s first season in charge of the Pirates. St. Edward’s throttled St. John Lutheran 47-6 to finish 11-0.

St. Edward’s is trying to become the first two-time SSAC champion.

But this St. Edward’s team is different.

“There are no similarities,” Motta said. “Every team is very different. They have their own personality and have their own strengths and weaknesses.”

The Pirates have their work cut out.

St. Stephen’s (10-1) has won 10 consecutive games since losing its season opener to Community School of Naples 35-21.

Since then, the Falcons have outscored their opponents 427-184. St. Stephen’s has two 1,000 yard rushers in running back Chase Brown (1,337 yards) and quarterback Fred Billy (1,014 yards).

“I think they have a very potent offense and they can hurt you in a lot of ways,” Motta said. “(Billy) is an extraordinary athlete.”

St. Edward’s is used to playing against high-powered offenses.

The Pirates defeated Windermere Prep, a team that lit up the scoreboard during the season, 30-18 to advance to the SSAC finals.

And St. Edward’s offense can score as well.

The Pirates have a deep running back stable led by Brian Minella and Daniel Walsh. Minella has rushed for a team-leading 825 yards. Walsh rushed for 142 yards, including a 52-yard rushing touchdown, against Windermere Prep.

The culmination of playing an entire season with only 15 players ends Saturday. This year’s team has a chance to go into the history books at St. Edward’s.

Motta just wants his players to give it their all.

“A win would mean a lot obviously,” Motta said. “The most important thing is that we go out there and we play great football and that’s how we’ve approached every game. Play great football, play as a team, play for each other.

“Whatever happens at the end of the day if we leave it all on the field, we’ll be very satisfied.”

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