A full week of practice was just what the doctor ordered for the Matanzas football team.
The Pirates (1-1) were able to work on new wrinkles in their offense after the Week 1 loss to FPC, and it paid dividends Friday night in a 26-14 win over Florida Air Academy (0-1).
Matanzas got on the board early when running back Rahim Booker scampered into the end zone on a 14-yard run six minutes into the game. The touchdown capped off a nine-play, 63-yard drive.
The first drive was foreshadowing for what the Pirates planned to do for the entire game. Despite running back De’Undre Lumpkins being out of the game (concussion), Matanzas coach Keith Lagocki stuck to the running game.
Booker and Stefan Tucker did all the damage.
With the game tied 7-7, Tucker ripped off an 85-yard touchdown run along the right sideline as the first quarter came to a close.
“We wanted to run the ball because we knew we could run at them,” Lagocki said after the game.
In regard to the running game, Lagocki added: “We do have a lot of interchangeable parts.”
With the score remaining 20-7 through the third quarter, Florida Air scored on a Josh Denton 35-yard run. With 6:47 left in the game, Matanzas’ lead was cut to 20-14.
But after Florida Air recovered an onside kick, the Pirates defense stiffened.
Matanzas forced a punt and recovered a fumble on Florida Air’s final two possessions, preserving the first win of the season.
Tucker finished the game with 12 carries for 154 and two TDs; Booker had 11 carries for 66 yards and one TD.
“The great thing about this team is we have championship-caliber defense,” Lagocki said. “Our defense is going to keep us in games.”
D’Shawn Myles led Matanzas with 11 tackles and two sacks. Jayme Rumph had 10 tackles; Steven Moseley had nine tackles and five sacks, and freshman Jordin Castanheira had eight tackles.
Offensively, the Pirates’ passing game wasn’t as effective as the running game, though. Quarterback Al’Kwazi Spencer went 1-for-6 for six yards. He threw two interceptions. Spencer did have 10 carries for 46 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
After Spencer threw his second interception of the game, Lagocki decided to go with sophomore Jeremiah Wilson midway through the third quarter. For the remainder of the game, Lagocki rotated the quarterbacks for each offensive series.
Wilson finished the game 4-for-8 for 40 yards. Through two games, the Matanzas quarterbacks are 8-for-34 for 90 yards.
Matanzas goes on the road for the first time this season when the Pirates travel to play University Christian 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. Lagocki expects University Christian to be improved this season and “much bigger” than his Pirates.
Last season, the Pirates won their second consecutive game with a 48-18 drubbing of University Christian. The game against University Christian will be the final game before district play begins in Week 4, when the Pirates host Pedro Menendez 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.