The tradition continues this Friday, as Matanzas and Flagler Palm Coast high schools face off in the fifth Flagler Bowl, and FPC coach Caesar Campana predicts “big crowds and lots of atmosphere.”
“It’s a great game for Flagler County,” he said.
Some players downplay the significance of the Flagler Bowl. “People really overhype that game,” Matanzas senior tailback/cornerback Stefan Tucker said at a media day earlier this month in Jacksonville. “Neither of us have done anything recently, it’s really just another game on the schedule.”
At practice Aug. 26, Flagler Palm Coast starting right tackle Jake Dempsey had a different view.
“There are only two schools in our county,” he said. “If we lose, we will hear about it for the rest of the year. I don’t want to hear it.”
FPC’s left guard, Ricshay Nelson, echoed Dempsey.
“It’s a tradition,” he said. “It’s a small county, and it gives us a chance to see who is the best. We all know each other from PAL and middle school. We want the bragging rights.”
So far, FPC has had the bragging rights. After scoring in the first two minutes of the game and cruising to a 42-3 win at Matanzas for their fourth straight win in the series last year, FPC has outscored its rival 154-36.
New Matanzas head coach Jeff Nettles will get his first taste of the rivalry this Friday and looks forward to putting his own mark on the game.
“I didn’t come to Matanzas to lose,” Nettles said, “The Palm Coast game is a huge deal, and our goals are to win the county, earn the program’s first winning season and win the district.”
Matanzas lost its preseason game last week against Ponte Vedra; FPC tied DeLand. The two local teams meet for the fifth time at 7 p.m. Aug. 30, at FPC’s Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium.
For more photos, see the print edition of the Palm Coast Observer on Saturday.
Also, for in-game tweets, follow Sports Editor Andrew O'Brien at @aobrien7 on Twitter.