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Also in this section:
Panamanians in Major League Baseball

Boxing Night in Juan Diaz
National Soccer team warms up against Bermuda, Guatemala
FSU-Panama wins the local American Football championship


FSU-Panama 2004 Football Champions

by Steve Houston


Saturday night, April 24, FSU played USMA for the College Football National Championship of Panama and it was a thriller that went down to the wire!

USMA is a gigantic Catholic university here in Panama many times bigger than FSU. You might say it's the "Notre Dame of Panama." Their colors are dark and light blue, all their equipment is new, and they have multiple coaches. Like Notre Dame, their players are huge and well coached. FSU, on the other hand, has heart, tradition and the legendary Coach Ernie Holland (the Bobby Bowden of Panama). And Ernie was going for his third national championship! It was a perfect night, the skies were clear, the air was cool and the stars were shining brightly. The stadium was decorated in garnet and gold and dark and light blue. FSU fans and students were dressed in all manner of school colors and many of the fans wore straw cowboy hats with garnet and gold (red and yellow) feathers sticking out of garnet hat bands. The mood was festive and the beer vendors were busy! The P.A. system alternately blasted the USMA and the FSU fight songs. FSU fans did the war chant through much of the game while doing the tomahawk chop.

The first half was a defensive battle. Both teams had numerous chances to score but were stopped short in their drives. The half ended in a tie, 6 - 6.

Both teams scored touchdowns and went for two and neither team made it.

During the half time the league handed out its awards for the season. FSU came away the big winner taking 4 of the 8 trophies. FSU's Diego Cohen (FSU Panama's Chris Weinke) won the league's best QB award and the coveted Offensive Player of the Year award! At the end of the stadium was a huge poster-like banner that read "Diego Cohen, [number] 4, The End of an ERA!" Needless to say, everyone was very impressed and Diego was very humble while receiving his accolades.

The second half started with FSU being backed up, thrown for a loss and then having the punt blocked giving USMA the ball inside the FSU 20. USMA would go on to score a TD and again go for two and again fail. As the game seesawed back and forth there were only five minutes left and USMA led 12 - 6. FSU started down the field on a long and scary drive. It was kept alive on a fourth and 20 pass completion near mid-field. USMA fans had been yelling their lungs out and now it was FSU's turn as mayhem erupted in the stands. Everyone was on their feet yelling and screaming as loud as they could. My vocal cords were strained and my voice was beginning to go! Then, what seemed like a miracle happened. Diego rolled left as fast as he could with two USMA players hot on his heels. Forty yards away we could see an FSU receiver racing to the left corner of the end zone. Diego, a right hander, while running left threw the ball with all his might. Its flight was straight and true right into the outstretched arms of the open receiver as the referee signaled touchdown! And the crowd went wild! With the score tied 12 - 12 FSU fans all went a little crazy and then held their collective breath while the the kicker lined up for the extra point. The kick sailed through the uprights and there were even more cheers and celebrating. The timekeeper indicated there was one minute left and FSU kicked off with a low kick that went right into the arms of a line backer. USMA connected with one pass in three attempts and now it was fourth and seven. FSU was playing six DBs. USMA threw to what appeared to be an open receiver in the left flat. The ball hit his shoulder pads and bounced in the air. As it came down an FSU DB caught it in stride and raced 50 yards to the end zone! What a game as it ended FSU 19, USMA 12.

At the end all the players from both teams lined up and shook hands with one another. The National Championship Trophy was presented to FSU and Coach Ernie Holland. Coach Holland held it up and passed it to the players all gathered round him. The players all crowded in to touch the trophy and to hold it and kiss it. It was a site that made all Seminoles and their fans very proud. The stands emptied and fans poured onto the field. Coach Holland gathered all the players at midfield for a short talk and led the team in a prayer.

What a great time to be a Seminole!




Also in this section:
Panamanians in Major League Baseball
Boxing Night in Juan Diaz
National Soccer team warms up against Bermuda, Guatemala
FSU-Panama wins the local American Football championship



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