The Cape Coral Seahawks play for the Class 4A boys' state soccer title against the Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee in Tampa today.
We congratulate the players, their coach Aldo Nardiello, and wish the team well as they take the field at Pepin Stadium on the campus of the University of Tampa at 2 p.m.
The first of any team in Cape High history to advance to a state championship game - and the only Seahawks team since 2001 to make it to state final four level competition - the 24-1-3 Seahawks have had an outstanding season, earning their championship game berth by thundering past the 16-2-3 Celebration Storm 4-0 in the semifinals Thursday.
They are a balanced team in all the important areas of technical skill - a quality goalkeeper who defends the goal well, a group of defenders who play tight and unafraid of any opponent, and a number of offense-minded players who can finish opportunities.
They possess a true team chemistry that helps them overcome adversity in pressure situations.
If they bring that kind of drive to the field today, Cape will add a well-earned prize to its trophy case - the city's first state championship.
The Seahawks, in fact, are the first team from Cape Coral to play for a state championship since Mariner's boys' basketball team in 1995-96 and girls' basketball team in 1994-95 lost in their respective championship games. The most recent Cape team to reach the final four was Mariner's boys' soccer team, which lost in the semifinals in 2003.
There are those who believe sports - and art, and music - are educational "extras."
We are not among them.
We think programs like Cape High soccer are educational fundamentals, part of a total curriculum that adds breadth to a well-rounded learning experience.
We think such programs benefit well the students who take part, both in the classroom and beyond graduation.
Something to think about as our legislature readies to consider our new governor, Rick Scott's, proposal to slash school funding by 10 percent, or $703 million next year, potentially putting programs like sports on the chopping block.
- Breeze editorial