Heading into Saturday’s Sunshine State Athletic Conference football championship game, The Master’s Academy head coach Jermel Jones said it was a little too close for comfort when his Eagles last took on the Orlando Christian Prep Warriors.
It was Oct. 4 when The Master’s Academy walked away with a narrow 31-28 home-field victory vs. OCP.
On Saturday night at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland, however, the score line wasn’t even remotely close.
Terrance Gibbs, a sophomore with major-college scholarship offers, ran for 300 yards and scored four touchdowns as Master’s cruised past the Warriors 35-6 to claim its second SSAC championship and wrap up a 9-2 season.
“It makes a coach happy when your kids execute the game plan that you have set in place,” Jones said after the win. “What we talked about before the game with our guys was it was about love, and that love never fails. And that is, if you love your brother, then guess what, you’re not going to fail.”
OCP finished 8-2, with both losses to TMA. The Warriors opened the scoring on the first play of the game when Demarion Jenkins took the opening kick back for a 98-yard TD return. That was good for a 6-0 lead.
But the Eagles answered in the second quarter. Gibbs unleashed a 70-yard run for a TD and Sebastian Ortega added the extra point to give TMA a 7-6 lead with 3:32 left in the quarter.
Gibbs left the field limping after his long run due to a leg cramp. But the running back returned and broke away for three more TDs in the second half to lead Master’s to its first SSAC title since 2012.
“It was great coaching really,” said Gibbs shortly after the win. “We just had to execute today’s game plan and that helped us win the championship tonight.”
Gibbs suffered a shoulder injury on Sept. 23 against Inlet Grove and missed two games before returning to help the Eagles finish 9-2 this season. The sophomore said he has offers to play at Miami, FIU and Mississippi State.
Master’s is just the second school in the 12-year history of the conference to be a two-time champion. St. Stephen’s Episcopal of Bradenton is the other.
OCP was the 2018 champion.
The Master’s Academy 28, Orlando Christian Prep 6
At Bryant Stadium
OCP: Demarion Jenkins 98 yard kickoff return, 11:42.
TMA: Terrance Gibbs 70 yard run (Sebastian Ortega, kick), 3:32.
TMA: Gibbs 20 yard run (Ortega, kick), 8:43.
TMA: Gibbs 45 yard run (Ortega, kick), 2:06.
TMA: Gibbs 10 yard run (Ortega, kick), 6:47.
TMA: Cole Poorman 20 yard interception run (Ortega, kick), 5:41.
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