Seminole High wide receiver Andre Debose (right) pulls in the game-winning touchdown over Miami Northwestern defensive back Tevin McCaskill during the Class 6A high school state championship game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Saturday, December 20, 2008. (Stephen M. Dowell, Orlando Sentinel / December 20, 2008)
Visions of a spectacular touchdown play, a comeback for the ages, and a post-game celebration that lasted long into a December night will dance in their heads for two weeks before they head back to school.
Seminole High School's football team and the students, teachers and fans who embraced its run to the Class 6A state championship Saturday night have but one regret: that the historic victory came the day after school closed for the holiday break.
"I had teachers and students after the game ask me if we could come back and go to school [this morning]," Principal Mike Gaudreau said Sunday. "When do you hear that? That pretty much sums it up.
"This is something so special, you just don't want it to end."
Gaudreau does not believe all the emotion and excitement from the 28-21 last-minute victory over favored Miami Northwestern will dissipate any time soon certainly not before students return to campus Jan. 5.
"It will be crazy once we get back to school," said senior defensive end Dyron Dye, who slept past noon Sunday after staying up late following the dramatic comeback victory at the Citrus Bowl. "I'm just going to be hanging out with family during the holidays, but this is a great Christmas present.
"It means a lot to me because it feels like we helped the community."
A sense of renewed pride, like fingers of rainwater on sand, washed over Sanford last summer as word spread that the high school earned an "A" on the state's FCAT grading system.
But that was not a galvanizing singular event, not like a state final that had some 5,000 Seminoles fans roaring when Andre Debose caught a 40-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Aravious "Ray Ray" Armstrong with 33 seconds to go Saturday night.
"In becoming an A school and beating Northwestern we did two things that everybody in the state thought was impossible," Gaudreau said. "But it's a little different when something like this happens in football because everybody gets to witness it.
"I think people look for something to celebrate and something to belong to. The community just eats this up.
"This never goes away."
Buddy Collings can be reached at email@example.com.
Images of the Game
Stats of the Game