JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
A 20-year drought is over. Raines William M. Raines High School has won the 2017 Florida state high school football championship.
Raines in 1997 was the first public high school to bring a football state championship to Duval County.
Head coach Deran Wiley stated that the season started off with perfect attendance, setting the tone for a winning season. “We could feel something special was coming” he said.
Wiley, a Raines alumnus, has been coaching the football team for the past nine years.
“It is a blessing to have played as a student athlete and to now be able to coach and win a state title," he said.
William M. Raines High School has an athletic department filled with pride and tradition. From its opening days in 1965, Raines has excelled on the gridiron, court and track.Raines' athletic teams have claimed seven state titles in four sports, beginning with boy’s track and field in 1976. Since then, Viking prowess has developed in football, boys basketball and girls track.
Ivory Durham, the team’s quarterback, is a senior and committed to Valdosta State University upon graduation, had aspirations to attain the state championship title and was going to do “whatever it took to win ” this season, he said.
Raines High School is a member of the countywide Gateway Conference and statewide Florida High School Athletic Association - FHSAA in Class 4A for most sports.
The team collectively stated that the support of the players' parents, family and friends kept them focused during the season.
Raines High School's football team ended its 20-year championship drought beating Cocoa Tigers 13-10 in Orlando. It's the first state title for a Duval County public high school since 1997, which is the last time Raines won the championship.
Wiley was voted as Florida's top high school football coach for 2017. In addition to coaching football, Wiley is a math teacher and a longtime resident of Duval County, where he and his wife raise their two daughters.