JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Raines High's unforgettable back-to-back football titles cemented the Vikings' place in Northeast Florida history as the first Duval County public school to repeat as state champions.
The two-time Class 4A victors sported new hardware -- championship medals and rings -- as they discussed their recipe for success with News4Jax.
"Coming together as one -- focus, dedication and hard work. Our coach, every day after practice, would give us a talk. Let us know to be consistent, come out every day and practice,” senior wide receiver Matthew Drayton said.
The season started rough with a one-point loss to Lee High, but the Vikings went on a tear, winning out for the rest of the season and topping it with a 27-13 victory over Cocoa in a rematch of last year's title game.
"These guys are very very resilient. I had no worries about where they wanted to go. They were very determined to get back to state and win it,” coach Deran Wiley said.
The players said it was team unity and support from their fans that propelled the Vikings to another state title victory.
"They've been showing love. They always show love throughout the whole season, even when there's a rainy game. They come and show their support,” senior running back Brandon Marshall said.
With the season over, more than a third of the Raines football team turns its focus to graduation -- with many of those planning for careers in college football and beyond.
Raines High isn't the only Jacksonville public school making history. For the first time, Mandarin High clinched a state title with 37-35 victory over Columbus in the Class 8A game.