Mainland wins district championship over rival Sandcrabs in tough game
| 4:23 a.m. November 1, 2014
Ormond Beach Observer
The Mainland Buccaneers (9-0, 4-0) held off the Seabreeze Sandcrabs (3-6, 3-1) 26-9 to win the district championship on Friday, Oct. 31, at Municipal Stadium.
The Sandcrabs and the Buccaneers gave up the ball on multiple turnovers in the first half. After stopping Mainland on its opening drive, the Sandcrabs fumbled the punt return in its own territory. Seabreeze stopped the Bucs a second time, and after two big penalties against the Mainland, the Sandcrabs struck first with a 23-yard Sam Hayworth field goal.
The Sandcrabs would intercept a Mainland pass but gave it up on a fumble on the same play. Unable to move the ball, the Bucs were forced to punt, and then Brian Gregory picked off a Seabreeze pass to shift the game’s momentum. At the beginning of the second quarter, Houston put Mainland on the board with a 13-yard run to take the lead.
Forced to punt on fourth down, Seabreeze kicked the ball to Mainland, who fumbled on the return. That drive led to another Hayworth field goal, from 45 yards out to close the scoring gap to 7-6.
On the ensuing drive, Seabreeze’s Cole Dunagan picked off another Houston pass. On fourth down, Hayworth was not able to catch the ball to punt it away, so he had to fall on it at Seabreeze’s own three-yard line. There, Houston found Jachai Polite in the corner of the end zone on a play action pass to go up 13-6.
On the Sandcrabs’ next play, another pass from Wilson was picked off by Kyle Oliver off a receiver’s hands, the same play that resulted in Houston’s second interception. Just before halftime, defensive tackle, Kevin McCrary, ran the ball two yards in for a third Mainland score to go up 20-6. Seabreeze fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, but Mainland wasn’t able to add any more points to its total before half.
Coming out for the second half, Raushod Floyd broke multiple tackles off a pass and took the ball into Mainland’s territory, which led to a third field goal by Hayworth to take the score to 20-9. Those three points were the first points Mainland’s defense has allowed in the second half all season.
In the fourth quarter, a botched punt by Hayworth placed the Buccaneers in Seabreeze territory. They would capitalize on the short field with another McCrary short touchdown run to seal the game and the district championship.
“On any given year, anything can happen with Mainland and Seabreeze,” coach Scott Wilson said. “The kids know each other so well, and emotions played a good part tonight.”
“I thought our defense played awesome,” coach Marc Beach said. “We turned the ball over too many times, but I can’t be more proud of how our boys played.”
On scoring his only two offensive touchdowns of his high school career, McCrary said, “I’ve been working hard at practice, and it paid off. It also felt good knowing my coaches trusted me with the ball down there to score.”
Although the Sandcrabs walked away with a loss, Floyd believed the team had a lot to gain from their effort.
“We’ll accept this as a moral victory,” he said. “We would’ve liked to have scored some touchdowns, but we can grow from this. There are some little things that we need to continue to work on.”
Mainland will play the Central Cobras Nov. 7, in Fort Pierce, and the Sandcrabs will play Nease on Nov. 7, at Municipal Stadium.