TAMPA, Florida -- Robinson's amazing dream season ends one game shy of a coveted state championship appearance. For the third time in the past four years, the Knights fall in the a state semi-final game, this time to Tallahassee Godby, 24-20.
With a 17-7 halftime lead, Robinson (12-2) was feeling confident. But in the third quarter, Godby (13-1) got their running game in gear, with Khalid Thomas delivering several big runs, including a powerful 19-yard touchdown blast that cut the Knight's lead to 17-14.
Trailing 24-20, Robinson had one last chance to put together a winning drive, starting on their own 36-yard line with 1:40 remaining and no time outs.
Using short passes and running out of bounds to stop the clock, senior quarterback Zain Gilmore moved the Knights within striking distance.
Then came the game's final and controversial play. On second down with only :12 seconds left, Gilmore hit receiver Austin Eads, who caught the ball very close the the first down marker.
Eads didn't go out of bounds, and officials also said he was short of a first down. That kept the clock ticking, and time ran out before Robinson could get to the line for one final play.
Coaches and players poured onto the field screaming and desperately pleading with the refs for an explantation of why a measurement for a first down wasn't called for. But it wouldn't change the scoreboard, which showed Godby winning 24-20.
The game also marks the final appearance of head coach Mike DePue, who is now set to retire as Robinson's all-time winningest coach.
Even after a difficult and emotional loss, DePue continued the Robinson tradition of honoring the teams seniors. Tears flowed freely for both the players and coaches. Exhausted players then put a final and fitting touch on a remarkable season by carrying coach DePue off the field.
When DePue's feet hit the ground, he summed it up perfectly when he said, "I'm done. I'm retired."