After fighting a cold all week, the last thing Sid Wheatley wanted or needed was to be showered in ice-cold water.
But considering the celebratory bath came in the closing seconds of Northview High's first-ever state championship, Wheatley was more than happy to have the freezing water dripping down his back.
"Best ice bath I've ever had, I can tell you that," Wheatley said after his Chiefs rolled to a 42-21 win over the Trenton Tigers to capture the Class 1A state title on Friday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
What started as a dream three years ago is now a reality. After coming close the last two years -- losing in the state semifinals to end both seasons -- the Chiefs finished the job Friday night.
And because of that, the football team brought home the school's first-ever state championship trophy in any sport.
"This is one of the best feelings of my life," senior offensive tackle LaDerious Franklin said. "For all that hard work we've done to finally pay off in the end. All the 100s, all the sleds and up-downs, all the sweat and tears, we finally reached our goal."
The Chiefs (11-3) reached that goal emphatically, dominating the state's No. 1-ranked team all game.
From the very first play, when Stetson Nash met tailback Cedric Stokes two yards deep in the backfield and drove him to the turf, the Tigers (13-1) knew they were in for a battle.
"We heard the talk all week from them, on message boards, about how we were about to face the best offense we've ever seen," Northview linebacker Chad Smith said. "They said we weren't going to be physical enough to play with them.
"We kind of took that to heart, because we pride ourselves on being a really physical team."
By the time it was all said and done, the Chiefs forced four Trenton turnovers and also blocked a punt, which Smith returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Three of the four turnovers were interceptions, as the Northview defense forced Trenton to put the ball in the air, abandoning its dive-option attack.
"We thought if we could slow the run game down and force them to do some things they didn't want to do, maybe like throw the ball down the field, we could make things happen," Wheatley said. "We're pretty good on the back end of our defense with both the (Neiko and Neino) Robinsons and Brannon Freeman and LaMikal Banks.
"They are good ball-skill players, so when you put it up, they think it's their ball."
The Chiefs led 21-0 at the halftime and Trenton never got the deficit lower than 14 points the rest of the way.
The 42 points were the most scored against the Tigers this season. Northview piled up 218 yards rushing, led by 113 yards and a 58-yard sprint for the game's first TD from LaMikal Kyles.
On special teams, Neino Robinson returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score in the third quarter. That, combined with the blocked punt, were 14 crucial points that made a major difference on the scoreboard.
"That's the awesome thing about it," Wheatley said. "We've been close, we had the heart-breaking loss last year to Chipley (in the state semifinals), and then we get here and play so well and the guys go out and take it out and score 42 points.
"We did what we had to do to win. And I thought it was decisive, too."
Northview will now savor the victory before turning its focus to a potential repeat in 2013.
The Chiefs lose a large group of starters, but will bring back several playmakers -- including Robinson, LaDarius Thomas and Brannon Freeman.
"Obviously, later on we'll get into our offseason work, but right now we have to savor this victory," Wheatley said. "What a win, what a 3-4 year span these guys have had, and I couldn't have wished it for a better group of kids.
"It's an awesome feeling and I will continue to replay it and replay it. Last year, after we played Chipley (a bitter 25-21 loss), I had to replay that over and over, but now I can look forward to replaying this game for a while."