Mainland could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2 this football season.
After falling to area rival Spruce Creek 10-9 on a late field goal Sept. 10 at Daytona Stadium, the Bucs could lament a series of “what ifs.”
What if three turnovers didn’t derail Bucs’ drives? What if they didn’t have an extra-point kick blocked early in the fourth quarter?
But the biggest “what if” was a snap that went over the head of Mainland’s punter which gave the ball to the Hawks deep in Bucs’ territory with less than 5 minutes left in the game.
Mainland coach Travis Roland said the Bucs were missing their regular long snapper, who was hurt.
“We lived in the red zone. We have to figure out how to finish drives.”
TRAVIS ROLAND, Mainland coach
Spruce Creek converted the miscue into a 23-yard field goal by Aiden Lanier with 2:04 remaining to put the visitors up 10-9.
The Hawks’ defense then finished the job, keeping the Bucs out of field goal range to clinch their first victory over Mainland in 22 years.
“We played hard. Both teams played great defense. Their special teams won the game,” Mainland coach Travis Roland said.
It was the second heartbreaking loss in two weeks for the Bucs. They were held out of the end zone in the closing minutes of a 17-13 loss at Flagler Palm Coast on Sept. 3.
Roland was pleased with the Bucs’ running game against the Hawks. Isaiah Gordon rushed for over 100 yards and scored on a 19-yard run with 11:04 left in the game put Mainland ahead 9-7. But the blocked extra-point proved to be costly.
“We had success running the ball. We had high energy going into each and every drive,” Gordon said. “But we had trouble finishing.”
“We lived in the red zone,” he said. “We have to figure out how to finish drives.”
The Bucs’ defense has been stout. They have allowed one touchdown in seven quarters since giving up 17 first-quarter points to FPC.
“We were able to stop the run (against the Hawks),” said linebacker/defensive end Jared Lloyd. “We were very good at communicating this week. We wanted them to pass the ball. We did everything we could do.”
Mainland does not have an easy game on the horizon to work out the kinks. They host district rival and 2020 state finalist Lake Minneola on Sept. 17, followed by undefeated Sanford Seminole (Sept. 24), arch-rival Seabreeze (Oct. 1) and Orlando Jones (Oct. 15), a team that has scored 40 or more points in each of its three games.
“They had a tough schedule coming in,” said Spruce Creek coach Andy Price. “They led most of the game; that's tough for anyone to recover from. But if anyone can do it, (Roland) can. He gets the most out of those kids.”