The Mainland Buccaneers (12-0) had to come back from 21 points to defeat the Edgewater Fightin’ Eagles Friday, Nov. 21, at Municipal Stadium.
Everything that could have gone wrong for the Buccaneers did in the first half. Denzel Houston, the area’s top passer, threw three interceptions. Adrian Killins fumbled. Wilfred Taylor fumbled a kick return, and Mainland’s secondary gave up three touchdown passes.
The Bucs’ offense finished the first half with 50 yards, by far their lowest yard total of any half this season. Mainland went into the locker room down 21-0, which was also its biggest deficit of the season.
Then, the second half began.
On the opening drive of the second half, Killins picked up three first downs before Houston faked a handoff and ran 31 yards for the Bucs first score. Killins had 44 yards on the ground on that drive alone. After forcing a three-and-out, Houston threw a dart to Kaylo Hannah, who has been out with a knee injury, for 34 yards on the first play of the drive to cut the lead to 21-14.
As the momentum continued to shift in Mainland’s favor, Kyle Oliver and Marcus Brunson (remember the name) sacked Edgewater’s quarterback on consecutive plays to force another punt. When the Bucs got the ball back, Houston began to find his rhythm through the air and Killins continued to find open holes for big gains down the field.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Houston found the end zone a second time with his feet for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game 21-21. When Edgewater attempted to throw in Mainland’s territory, Cyrus Fagan intercepted the pass to give it back to his offense.
Houston, then, connected with Taylor to put the Bucs up 28-21 for the first time in the game with 5:07, but the Fightin’ Eagles weren’t done either.
Edgewater tied the game at 28-28 on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 3:45 left in the game. On a fourth-and-6, Houston’s pass was picked off inside Edgewater’s 5-yard line.
Attempting to make a play deep in his own territory, Edgewater’s quarterback was sacked by Brunson, which turned into a safety to put Mainland up 30-28 for the win. Mainland outscored the Eagles 30-7 in the second half.
“They (Edgewater) hit us hard, and they had all the momentum at first,” AJ Westbrook said. “We had to respond.”
After the game ended, Westbrook added that he “began to think about all the things we did together during workouts this summer.”
The Bucs will play the South Fort Myers Wolfpack (10-2) in the third round of the playoffs Nov. 28, in Fort Myers.