TAMPA, Fla. — After an undefeated regular season and a ninth-straight district championship, the Robinson High School flag football team has been a “Knightmare” for the rest of the state.
“This year was a lot harder to be undefeated,” senior quarterback Sydney Stout told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “There’s a lot of teams that got a lot better this year. A lot of programs really made their mark this year, like Newsome, Steinbrenner, Alonso.”
The Fighting Knights of Robinson are four wins away from winning the program’s fifth straight state championship and sixth overall. But there’s also some extra pressure to win it all this year.
“This year is very intense for us because our seniors didn’t get to play in 2020 during quarantine,” senior receiver Bella Dolce said. “I think we have a lot to hold up this year because the seniors last year want us to win for them.”
“It’s nerve-racking,” Stout added. “Playing these games is not only important for me and my current teammates, but it’s also upholding the legacy of those that came before us.”
Joshua Saunders has been the program’s head coach since 2007. He operates under three seasons, preseason, regular season and postseason.
“Our expectations are to always be there at the end. Everything works towards that,” Saunders said. “Now that we’re in the postseason, every game matters, we can’t slip up, we can’t make mistakes that are going to cost us ballgames. The intensity level of practice changes a little bit.”
Robinson is also setting some pretty impressive offensive records. Wide receiver Bella Dolce has set the school record with 120 receptions. Quarterback Sydney Stout has set the school and FHSAA record for touchdown passes in a season with 90.
“If you ask Sydney to put a ball somewhere she is going to put it there,” Saunders said. “If the ball is where it’s supposed to be, Bella is making the catch.”
Stout and Dolce are hoping to have several more games to continue padding their stats.
“The biggest reason for my success and the team’s success is my teammates,” Stout said. “We have some crazy girls out here that can make crazy plays. I owe it to them. I just do my best to put the ball in their hands and they have to come down with it and make the play.”
Robinson will travel to Bradenton Southeast for Wednesday’s regional.