A breath of fresh air: Mainland poised for postseason success with quarterback Richard Kamara leading the offense
Kamara made his third start of the season in Mainland's game against Matanzas on Oct. 13, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for a score in the Buccaneers' 24-3 win.
| 2:00 p.m. October 20, 2017
Ormond Beach Observer
When Mainland quarterback Richard Kamara took the field against Matanzas on the night of Friday, Oct. 13, the Buccaneers’ season was on the operating table, desperately clinging to life.
It was only Kamara’s third start under center, and a week prior, the Buccaneers endured a 21-7 beat down by the Cocoa Tigers on the road.
One more loss could prove fatal to Mainland’s chances in the postseason.
But none of that crossed Kamara’s mind when he dropped back to pass during the first drive of the game at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium.
With deadly precision, the 6-foot, 168-pound signal caller dropped a lob perfectly into the lap of receiver D’Marcus Adams for what would have been an 82-yard touchdown — if not for a sideline interference penalty.
The long toss was the first of many positive plays for Kamara, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for a score — all in the first half — in Mainland’s district-seizing 24-3 win over the Pirates.
Kamara still felt like his team could have done better, though.
“We beat a good team, but I feel like we left some points on the board, and that’s my fault,” the senior said. “I can’t do that to my teammates because when they get the ball in their hands, you see what they can do every Friday night. I’ve just got to complete passes and let them do what they’ve got to do.”
With the postseason on the horizon, one thing has been clear this season: This Mainland team, despite boasting a bevy of Division I talent, did not start the season in top form. The Buccaneers lost three games and hit a low point in a 20-0 defeat at the hands of Dr. Phillips on Sept. 22. It was the first time Mainland was shutout since the 2013 season.
But with the harrowing loss to Dr. Phillips, the Buccaneers experienced rebirth, at least at the quarterback position.
Senior quarterback Jake Novello was sent to the bench, and Kamara — who moved to the Daytona Beach area after he and his family moved 1,500 miles from their home in Mankato, Minnesota, following his junior year — got the starting nod.
His first game leading a struggling Buccaneers offense? Mainlands' highest scoring game of the season: a 37-0 rout of Deltona.
Kamara gave the offense life with his arm and his legs, torching the Wolves' defense to the tune of 141 passing yards, two touchdowns and 51 yards on the ground. In addition, he completed 14 passes to seven different receivers, including an 11-yard touchdown to Jhii Taylor in the second quarter and a 55-yarder to D’Marcus Adams on the ensuing drive.
Mainland coach Scott Wilson said it took time for Kamara to learn the Buccaneers’ offensive system, but the energy he brings to the team has proven vital.
“Just being a part of any new program can be difficult,” Wilson said. “But he does a good job bringing a positive vibe to the team no matter what he does or what he goes through.”
As the starting quarterback and one of the team's leaders, Kamara has become a focal point for Mainland. The Buccaneers' success on offense begins and ends with Kamara, Wilson added.
“Out of all positions, the quarterback has to sound mentally. They have to be strong there,” Wilson said. “They have to be rock-steady and know the game very well, obviously. And so far, he’s done a pretty good job with that, and that’s very important, especially with the postseason coming up.”
For Kamara, he feels the win against Matanzas put the team back on track. With the keys to the offense and with the postseason looming, how far the Buccaneers can go rests on his shoulders.
“We’ve got to get the train going,” Kamara said. “I’ve just got to stay focused, do my job and be a leader.”