The Sandcrabs are headed to the state championship for the first time in over 20 years.
First, they had to beat region juggernaut Sunlake to reach the State Final Four. Now, the Seabreeze Sandcrabs have taken down defending state champion Ponte Vedra 2-1 to punch their ticket to the 3A Florida High School Boys Soccer State Championship.
Down 1-0 with 20 minutes remaining in the match, first-year head coach Nathan Murphy subbed in senior Noah Collins (read his brothers’ and his story at the bottom of the page) who was able to get his foot on the end of two set plays (a free kick and a corner kick) from senior Franco Perez that pushed the Sandcrabs (22-1-2) into the state championship match for the first time since 1994.
What were they thinking?
Senior Noah Collins: “I knew all of my family was out here, including my uncle (Gdrone Kistemaker) who trained me all my life,” Collins said, “so, having them here just gave me that spark. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better scenario for my senior year.”
Senior Franco Perez: “Last season they beat us 8-0, and we used that for bulletin material. We were determined not to let them get away with that that easy. And we’re a fighting team. We fought all year; there’s a reason we only have one loss. We just wanted to keep pushing to the end and not give up.”
Coach Nathan Murphy: “This win probably goes to the top of all my soccer accomplishments. In college, I made it to the championship game, but we lost, so I never got to experience that feeling. I hope my family (Murphy calls the team his family) gets to feel what I never felt.”
The Sandcrabs hope to end their 24-year championship drought this weekend.
To see more photos from the State Final four, click here: http://www.ormondbeachobserver.com/photo-gallery/photo-gallery-seabreeze-comes-back-to-beat-ponte-vedra-to-head-to-the-state-championship
To read about the Collins brothers’ tough upbringing and how soccer saved their lives, click here: