Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was on hand Sunday to welcome back the state champion Miami Central High School football team.
As the champs exited the team bus Sunday fresh off of their 48-13 victory over Seffner Armwood in the Class 6A final, Carvalho greeted the young men as they were met with cheers and applause from family and friends.
"You are the very best in the state, and this is just the beginning," Carvalho said to the team. "For some of you, the next stop is the graduation stage, and I want to see every one of you there."
Saturday's victory marks Miami Central's fifth state title in six years, making them the third team in the state's history to win that many championships in such a short span.
Freshman James Cook ran for three touchdowns and Jerrod Thomas threw two touchdown passes, helping to lead the team to victory.
Cook, the brother of Florida State University running back Dalvin Cook, finished with 178 yards on 15 carries.
Thomas completed 13 of 19 passes for 156 yards and threw TD passes to Carmoni Green and Darnell Salomon for Miami Central, which gained 461 yards and recovered three Armwood fumbles.
Erin Colins ran for 141 yards and caught a 33-yard pass for Armwood (15-1)
Collins ran 90 yards to a touchdown on Armwood's first play from scrimmage after Central's 15-play, game-opening drive ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone.
But the Rockets (12-2) answered quickly when Allen Jones recovered a fumble in the air and ran it 90 yards for their first touchdown.
Michael Robinson recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, setting up the Rockets at the Armwood 11-yard line, and Thomas scored on a quarterback sneak four plays later.
Cook's 28-yard TD run made it 21-6, and Thomas threw a 46-yard TD pass to Green on the final play of the first half. Tijuane Morten's two-point conversion pass to Keir Thomas gave Miami Central a 29-6 halftime lead against a team that had held its first 15 opponents to 20 points or fewer.