It's hard to say which play was bigger. Alexa Wilson's touchdown pass to Molly Brunson to put Mainland ahead for good. Or Wilson's interception for a touchdown on the Bucs' next series.
They were both big, said Mainland coach Ethan Simpson. The Bucs shook off their rust and defeated rival Seabreeze 25-6 with three fourth-quarter touchdowns March 26 in a Five Star Conference flag football quarterfinal at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
The Bucs (3-0) went on to defeat tournament host FPC in the semifinals 19-0 on March 29 and will meet Spruce Creek (5-0) for the championship at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at FPC.
Wilson, who will continue her flag football career next season at Thomas University in Georgia, passed for 152 yards and three touchdowns against the Sandcrabs (2-2). She also had two interceptions on defense.
“Alexa (Wilson) led the offense and had the pick-six. She's our go-to in big moments.”
ETHAN SIMPSON, Mainland flag football coach
“Alexa led the offense and had the pick-six,” Simpson said. “She's our go-to in big moments.”
Simpson said he was nervous before the game, because the Bucs were coming off two rainouts and had not played since their opener on March 8.
“The players responded. They really showed their heart,” Simpson said.
Seabreeze tied the score at 6-6 on the first play of the fourth quarter as Kyle Watson caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Chelsea McQuarrie. But Mainland answered with a long scoring pass from Wilson to Brunson on the next drive.
Wilson called it a “make-something-happen play.”
“It was not supposed to go to Molly,” she said. “It was supposed to go to the opposite side on a go-route, but it was covered. The whole defense went where my eyes went, and Molly was left open.”
Brunson caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. The fourth-quarter score and extra-point pass put the Bucs up 13-6 and changed the game's momentum, Simpson said. But with Seabreeze back on offense, Wilson applied the dagger, intercepting the first-down pass and returning it for a score.
Wilson is the daughter of former Mainland football coach Scott Wilson, who won 103 games in 11 seasons before stepping down last year. Alexa Wilson has learned over the years about the importance of film study. She said she watched film of Mainland's game with Seabreeze last year to prepare.
“I studied tendencies, and down and distance,” she said. “I knew who the quarterback was throwing it to.”
The pick-six put Mainland ahead 19-6. After Camryn Campbell intercepted another Seabreeze pass with 2:49 left, the Bucs closed out the scoring with Wilson's touchdown pass to Kassie Stoner.
“The game kind of got away from us at the end,” said Seabreeze coach Todd Barnes. “But I feel like we can go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
“It's a rivalry game,” said Simpson. “But it's always a pleasure to play them. We'll see them again down the road.”