ORLANDO — Saturday wasn’t just about repeating as Class 6A state champs for Da’Vante Phillips.
The 2015 Florida receiver commit wanted to avenge Miami Central’s 40-31 loss to Seffner Armwood in the 2010 final, when he committed a costly turnover as a freshman.
In a rematch with the Hawks, Phillips helped the Rockets run away with a 52-7 victory. The 6-foot-1, 189-pounder caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown and set up with another score with a 41-yard punt return.
“It felt very good to redeem myself from the loss in 2010. I fumbled against them and it really hurt us in that game. So this was personal for me,” Phillips said.
The combination of Phillips and Dalvin Cook was too much for Armwood to handle. The two are close friends off the field, and Phillips would like to follow Cook wherever he goes to school.
“It’s a deadly combination with us,” Phillips said. “We’re going to make a major impact in college. We’re with each other 24/7. We talk all the time and do everything together. I want to play to with him for three more years and win some more championships.”
Where they will play is to be determined. Cook is currently committed to UF but will make a final decision at the Under Armour All-American Game, with Florida State and Miami being his other finalists.
At this time, Phillips thinks his teammate will stick with the Gators.
“Florida, that’s all I know is Florida,” he said when asked for his prediction on Cook. “He hasn’t said anything to me about changing his mind. But it’s going to be very hard. He’s getting pulled in all three directions.”
Phillips, meanwhile, remains pledged to UF.
“I’m still committed,” he said. “I can’t base my decision on what they did this season. It really sucked. But I still have another year before I get there. I have to base my decision on 2014 when Dalvin and his class goes there. I want to see a big change.”
Phillips believes he can be a difference maker in Florida’s offense, which has ranked lower than 100th nationally the past three years.
“I can go there right now and play,” he said. “I feel like I can make an impact. What’s going on with the team now, that’s them. I don’t know none of them or talk to none of them. But when it’s my time, things aren’t going to be like that.”