In just three years, the Oxbridge Academy football program has gone from Florida High School Athletic Association newcomer to state finalist.
The ThunderWolves earned their inaugural berth in a state football championship game Friday night, overwhelming Tallahassee-Florida State University School 41-0 in a Class 3A state semifinal.
Gio Richardson threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns, and Oxbridge’s defense notched its fifth shutout of the season in the win.
The ThunderWolves (10-1) advance to play Hollywood-Chaminade Madonna Dec. 9 in the Class 3A state championship game at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
The Seminoles ended their season at 7-6.
“This is a big accomplishment for our team and our school,” Oxbridge coach Brendan Kent said. “We’ve gotten great support.”
The game opened with a pair of fourth-down stops, starting with the ThunderWolves.
FSUS drove to midfield on its opening drive, but got no further. The Seminoles were stopped short on a fourth-and-2 running play, and Oxbridge took over with good field position.
The ThunderWolves drove inside the FSUS 5, but were turned away on fourth down.
That wouldn’t happen again in a big first half for Richardson and Oxbridge.
The ThunderWolves started their second drive at the Seminoles’ 37, and needed just three plays to find the end zone. Richardson hit V’Lique Carter for a 29-yard score and a 6-0 lead with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“We started the game fast,” Kent said. “That’s exactly how I wanted to start.”
Good field position continued to benefit Oxbridge throughout the first half.
The ThunderWolves started three of their next four drives in FSUS territory, and one more on their own 37. All four resulted in second-quarter scores.
Joshua Pierre-Louis made it 12-0 Oxbridge on a 5-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Richardson followed with a 42-yard scoring strike to Jordan Cash; Luis Gonzalez made it 28-0 on a 35-yard scamper down the right side; and Richardson hit a wide-open De’John King for a 46-yard score and a 35-0 ThunderWolves’ lead.
Oxbridge had one more chance to score before halftime following a Keidron Smith interception, but the ThunderWolves were stopped at the FSUS goal line as time expired.
Richardson, a junior, finished the first half 10-for-10 through the air. He gave way to junior Dalton Munroe to open the second half, which was played with a running clock.
Oxbridge closed the scoring on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Munroe to Herman McCray as time expired.