- March 1, 2022
The one constant about Class 1A flag football is this: If you keep winning, eventually you will run into Tampa Robinson. And that’s when your playoff run will probably end.
Robinson won its seventh consecutive state championship on May 13 with a 32-13 victory against Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee.
On May 12, Robinson defeated Mainland 32-7 in a state semifinal. It was the farthest the Bucs have ever advanced.
“When you think about flag football in Florida, you think about about Robinson and (Tampa) Alonso,” Mainland coach Ethan Simpson said. “We told the girls to ‘give it your best fight. We deserve to be here,’ and we came out and fought. I’m very proud of the girls. They never gave up.”
The Bucs finished the season with a 14-6 record. They won three straight playoff games to get to Robinson, which finished its season at 21-2. One of the Knights’ two losses was to Alonso, which won the Class 2A title.
Robinson has won eight of the past nine 1A championships. The Knights’ only blemish over that span was in 2015 when they lost in the title game.
Coming into the season, the Bucs probably didn’t expect to advance to the final four for the first time in program history. They had lost several starters from last year’s 12-5 team, including quarterback Alexa Wilson, who is now a college starter at Thomas University.
Former receiver Ava Colubiale moved behind center and finished the season ranked sixth in the state in both passing yards with 3,609 and total yards with 4,278.
Kassie Stoner, meanwhile, finished ninth in receiving with 1,156 yards. Colubiale is also ranked 19th in the state with 13 interceptions.
“We had a very talented team last year, and a lot of new starters this season,” Simpson said. “But we had good leadership with our senior captains. They taught the younger players how we play flag football at Mainland, and it really showed when we got to the playoffs.
“I don’t think a lot of people thought we’d get to the state semifinals, but these girls worked their butts off.”
The Bucs’ flag football team became the fourth Mainland team to advance to the final four in 2022-23. The football team and the boys basketball team were state runners-up, and the girls basketball team won its first state championship.