The Falcons proved it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, as they captured the Sunshine State Athletic Conference 5A Championship with a dominating 47-7 win over Ocoee Legacy Charter in Lakeland on Nov. 12. Following a 1-5 start to the season, Saint Stephen’s ripped off five consecutive victories to win their third SSAC crown in six years.
Senior quarterback Luke Donley saved one of his best performances for last, completing eight of 10 passes for 133 yards and four touchdowns at Lakeland High’s Bryant Stadium. Fellow senior Justin Millican made three of those TD grabs and had six catches in all on the afternoon for 101 yards. The Falcons scored 40 unanswered points after Legacy tied the score early at 7-7.
Running back Evan Brown, who had been the catalyst for the Falcons’ late-season offensive surge, rushed 18 times for 111 yards and one score. The junior finished his season with more than 1,300 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging nearly 120 yards per game on the ground.
The SSES defense allowed Legacy just 137 total yards and intercepted quarterback Liam Lamprect three times, including one returned for a score by senior captain Michael Konkol.
The victory marked the Falcons’ first SSAC title since 2017. The 2016 and 2017 Saint Stephen’s teams earned back-to-back all-division championships before the league broke its football post-season play into upper and lower classifications. The Falcons have now advanced to the SSAC finals five times in the past eight seasons.