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Norland wins thriller, Rockledge cruises

©Associated Press
December 15, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- Robert Spence hit Sean Bailey for a 61-yard touchdown with 23 seconds remaining Saturday night as Miami Norland defeated Orlando Edgewater 19-14 in the Class 6A state championship game.

Norland (13-2), trailing 14-13 after Edgewater (13-2) finished off an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a Jamel Clay 10-yard touchdown run, had 48 seconds left on the clock.

Norland took the ball on its own 35-yard line, and three plays yielded just 4 yards. Then on fourth down, Bailey split the Edgewater safeties, and Spence hit him in stride at the 20.

Edgewater led 7-0 in the first quarter when Derrick Schirm hit Mike Walker with a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Schirm gave the lead away later when he threw into double coverage and his pass was intercepted by Omar Meza, who raced 71 yards for a touchdown.

Spence finished 8 of 19 passing for 168 yards and also had a rushing touchdown.

Edgewater's Chris Walker finished with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.

In the Class 3A title game, Clint Wright kicked five field goals as Rockledge beat Okaloosa Crestview 22-0.

Wright kicked field goals of 23, 25, 27, 30 and 25 yards and added an extra point, giving him 16 points and tying the record for points in a state title game.

Rockledge (14-1) dominated Crestview (13-1) for the entire game. Crestview had 16 total yards at halftime and 85 when the final whistle blew. The Bulldogs ran 32 times for 50 yards, finished 1 of 12 passing for 35 yards with three interceptions and fumbled five times -- losing two.

Rockledge's offense fared much better. Hunter Pingston completed 13 of 24 passes for 181 yards, and the Raiders had 80 yards rushing on 39 carries.

Rockledge turned the ball over once while getting nine points off turnovers.

Maurice Young scored the lone touchdown, diving into the end zone from 3 yards following a five play, 32-yard drive that came after Rockledge blocked a punt in the first quarter.

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