JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The MaxPreps Tour of Champions made a stop in town Tuesday to put the finishing touches on an unforgettable season at Mandarin.
Mandarin’s near-worst-to-first state championship season included a dramatic 37-35 victory over Miami Columbus in the Class 8A title game on Dec. 8 in Orlando, capping a remarkable turnaround from a 2-8 record in 2017.
Final stop: ranked No. 48th in the country by MaxPreps, and an afternoon to honor the Mustangs. All programs ranked in the top 50 by MaxPreps earn a national trophy and banner from MaxPreps.
“Really nice to have the group back together one last time,” said Mandarin's Bobby Ramsay, who was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year last month. “I’m sure that’s probably the last time we’ll be together as a group.”
The school held a pep rally for the presentation, complete with cheerleaders, band and skills competitions for the football players.
“It’s a blessing, I still can’t believe we won state, it’s just hitting me we did it,” said receiver/defensive back Demario Douglas, who had four touchdown catches in the state final. “When you walk around it’s nice, because everybody’s like 'state champs, yeah.' I’m proud to wear Mandarin across my chest.”
Mandarin had never been past the third round of the state playoffs before 2018. Now, the Mustangs have one of just four Florida High School Athletic Association state football championships won by Duval County public schools. Raines, with titles in 1997, 2017 and '18, have the other three.
The Vikings finished ranked 92nd in the nation by MaxPreps.
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