Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dream on, Clay; Blue Devils Upend Lakewood for a Shot at a State Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dream on, Clay; Blue Devils Upend Lakewood for a Shot at a State Title

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Barney

The dream season ended on Friday night in Green Cove Springs.

Just not for the Clay football team.

Next stop for the Blue Devils, Orlando and the Class 5A state championship game.

Host Clay survived St. Petersburg Lakewood 40-38 in the state semifinals, another hang-on-until-the-finish ride in a postseason filled with them.

Clay (10-4) has won its last three playoff games by a combined five points, with a little bit of everything including a record-shattering 74-73 shootout over Bishop Kenny, a walk-off 9-7 win with no time left over Pensacola Catholic, and Friday's tug-of-war against the Spartans that was decided when the Blue Devils stopped Lakewood quarterback Ryan Davis on a two-point try with 2 minutes and 17 seconds left.

"These kids work extremely hard, they've got such a great work ethic," said Clay coach Josh Hoekstra. "We pride ourselves on that. You're never going to outwork these guys."

Outside of the bend-but-never-snap defense, the Blue Devils continued to roll up video game offensive numbers. They racked up 400 rushing yards behind four ball carriers and drained the final 2:17 with six consecutive rushes that sends Clay to the title game for just the second time in program history. The Blue Devils will face Plantation American Heritage Friday at 1 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl.

Quarterback Wes Weeks had 181 yards rushing and a touchdown on 19 carries, while sophomore running back Bilal Ally scored four times and had 134 yards on 24 carries.

"It's going to sink in tomorrow or the next day, and for sure by Victory Monday," said Ally, whose 3-yard run with 4:43 left proved the winning margin. "It's amazing. This was our goal, to be district champions, regional champions and then state champions."

Back and forth the entire game, Clay tied Lakewood (10-4) at 26-all on a 5-yard run by Ally midway through the third quarter and went up for good on another Ally run with 11:15 to play, 33-26. …

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