If Matanzas’ kickoff Classic victory was any indication, coach Matt Forrest’s air raid system might evolve into a ground attack this season.
The Pirates scored five rushing touchdowns – all by sophomores – in a 42-22 victory over Jacksonville Wolfson on Friday, Aug. 20, at Pirates Stadium.
“We’re a little bit different dynamic team,” Forrest said after the game.
“We still have the ability to throw it around, but we’ve also got some good running backs, and honestly, our offensive line with five new starters was a bright spot tonight.”
MATT FORREST, Matanzas coach
Shomarion Gaines and Dakwon Evans each ran for two touchdowns in the first half, while Jordan Mills darted 75 yards for a score in the third quarter.
“We still have the ability to throw it around, but we’ve also got some good running backs, and honestly, our offensive line with five new starters was a bright spot tonight,” Forrest said.
Mills’ electrifying touchdown run followed a Wolfson score that had pulled the Wolfpack to within a touchdown at 29-22. Landon Grover added two field goals for Matanzas.
Evans and Bryce Petlett each got snaps at quarterback, and Forrest was pleased with both of their performances.
“They have totally different skill sets,” Forrest said. “Dakwon made plays and Bryce made plays, both in their own games. It’s my job to figure out what gives us the best chance to win.”
Evans, who started at slot receiver as a freshman last year, showed off his running ability with two scores but threw a pick-six on his first passing attempt.
“I think Bryce Petlett is more of your traditional pro passer quarterback. Dakwon has the ability to sit in the pocket. He’s just not as comfortable,” Forrest said. “We’re talking about a kid who missed some practice time and we had to throw him back in. He’s learning as he goes. I think the competition is making each one of them better.”
Gaines scored from midfield on the first play of the game. He added a 1-yard run later in the first quarter to put the Pirates up 22-7.
“I got good blocking,” he said of his first score. “It was a run to the right. I got the ball, I saw somebody coming for me and No. 8, Noah Cundiff, blocked from the inside, and I took the ball outside and used my speed to go make the touchdown. That started it all.”
An interception by Mills set up Evans’ second TD run to make it 29-7. Wolfson scored in the final minute of the half.
Luke Doner’s two first-quarter sacks helped set the tone of the game.
“The defense I thought played really well,” Forrest said. “Twenty-two points and seven of those were on a pick six. We’re just so young. Our linebackers the whole second half were two freshmen.”
It could get more difficult for the young Pirates in their season opener on Aug. 27, when they travel to their rival to the north, Pedro Menendez.
The Falcons crushed Matanzas 47-7 in the spring game.