TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida High football team finished State Runners up in Class 3A last season, that's motivation enough heading into the year. But the Seminoles have two more reasons to fight, and they plan on doing just that.
This is a senior class that's hungry. They made it to the Final Four as freshman and sophomores before last year's loss in the State title game, and despite losing several key pieces they've got a lot of experience coming back.
Tre Donaldson will replace Willie Taggart Junior at quarterback and target Ahmari Harvey returns. It's a team that's on a mission and one they've been working hard to make sure is accomplished.
"It's something we speak about every day, winning a championship," said Harvey.
"Everybody on this team wants to get a ring," Brandon Diman said. That's the whole point you come out here for."
They have plenty of motivation.
"They feel like there's one thing left they didn't get a chance to finish," said Jarrod Hickman.
It never hurts to have a little more.
"It's been really hard," Hickman said. "You feel like you get to a point where you feel a little better about something, and then something else happens."
Cancer took the life of Florida High stand-out Cam Brown in 2017. Then this year in June, the Seminoles dealt with the death of offensive line coach Ryan Smith.
"Me and Coach Smith, we were really close," said Diman. "He told us how much he loved us and it was tough to get that news. It was very heartbreaking."
"These kids are awfully young to deal with a lot of the stuff they've dealt with, but I'm proud of the way they handled it," Hickman said. "I'm proud of the way they've wanted to honor him."
Florida High's goal is to honor their fallen 'Noles the best way they can: On top.
"Little more fuel to the fire," said Harvey.
"They built what we want to do," Diman said. "Losing Coach Smith, and obviously losing Cam, made it tougher on us and made us want to work even harder for them."
"These guys talk all the time and they have a group message and they're really a close group," said Hick man. "They have outstanding leadership, but they feel like there's one thing left they didn't get a chance to finish. Even though we lost an incredible group of seniors, we had a lot of guys that played a lot of big games last year and played in a lot fo big moments. We feel like we're bringing back a good group that has a lot of experience."
Working hard to play hard for the memory of those gone too soon.
Florida High is not part of Leon County Public Schools, so they did start back conditioning this week.
The State of Florida doesn't have an official start date for games as of now, but Florida High does plan on playing their original schedule.