It hasn't been an easy year for Matanzas football.
But the lasting memory the Pirates will take into the offseason will be a 48-10 victory over Winter Springs in the final game of the year.
"With everything that went on, it seems like the world was against them the last half of the season," Matanzas coach Matt Forrest said. "It felt good watching them get a win on the road, getting a big win heading into the 2023 offseason."
"Cole Hash does whatever it takes to see our program succeed. He's a special player and really a special young man."
— MATT FORREST, Matanzas coach
Junior Cole Hash scored three touchdowns in three different ways for the Pirates, who finished the season 5-5, which included a forfeit from Flagler Palm Coast. Hash ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass from Jackson Lundahl and returned an interception 68 yards for another score.
Lundahl also threw a touchdown pass to Jayden Sao, Clay Vogel scored a rushing touchdown and Eddy Luna returned a punt for a score. Herby Tima closed the Pirates' scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run.
The Pirates suffered a series of injuries to key players starting with the loss of quarterback Dakwon Evans to a fractured collar bone in the third game of the season. Just about the only constant on an offense that struggled to adjust to Evans' loss was Hash, who primarily is a defensive player.
"Cole Hash does whatever it takes to see our program succeed," Forrest said. "He's a special player and really a special young man. He played running back, quarterback, wide receiver, fullback blocking for Jordan Mills. We've had to move him all over the place. For him to still give us what he does on defense, he refuses to take himself out of the game. He never questioned anything. He's a true program first guy."
BUCS WILL HOST PLAYOFF GAME
Seabreeze and Mainland both lost their final game of the season, but the Bucs will play again on Friday, Nov. 11 in the first round of the playoffs.
Mainland (7-3) received the fourth seed in Region 3-3A. The Bucs will host No. 5 seed Eau Gallie (7-3). The winner will meet the winner of the game between top seed Rockledge and No. 8 Satellite on Nov. 18.
The Bucs lost on the road to Lake Mary on Nov. 4 with Ajai Harrell running for a touchdown and Clarence McCloud catching a touchdown pass from Damarcus Creecy.
Seabreeze also lost on the road, 55-34 to North Marion. It was the second game in a row the Sandcrabs gave up more than 50 points. They fell to Mainland, 51-22 on Oct. 28.
Eli Campbell put Seabreeze (4-6) up by 10 with a punt block for a touchdown. It was Campbell's fifth blocked punt of the season. But North Marion closed out the game with 27 unanswered points.