After the Oct. 4 hurricane makeup game with St. Augustine, Matanzas coach Matt Forrest pointed to the visiting team.
That’s the kind of program Forrest said he is striving to create in the northern portion of Palm Coast. The Yellow Jackets had just cruised to a 42-7 win against the Pirates.
“I think they are one of the gold-standard programs in the entire state. Just look at their track record. Their district championships and region championships and state championship. They can’t put it all on one banner,” Forrest said.
Playing without junior quarterback Dakwon Evans (collarbone injury) for the third straight game, the Pirates did not score until the final minute when Jordan Mills ran into the end zone from 17 yards out with 50 seconds left.
Mills was stopped short of the goal line on fourth down on the Pirates’ previous possession, but Matanzas got the ball back with 1:38 remaining on a Yellow Jackets’ fumble.
“It was good to get the offense moving a little bit,” Mills said. “We had some miscommunication on the snap on that fourth down. But we got the ball back. Our linebackers did a good job punching the ball out, and then Cole Hash got on top of the ball. And we said, ‘All right, we’ve got another opportunity to score, let’s capitalize.’ I just knew we had to get it in before the clock ran out.”
"We said, ‘All right, we’ve got another opportunity to score, let’s capitalize.’ I just knew we had to get it in before the clock ran out.”
— JORDAN MILLS
Mills, who is primarily a defensive back, got to carry the ball more against St. Augustine and will likely continue to be a major part of the offense as the Pirates try to reinvent themselves.
“We’re still trying to figure things,” Forrest said. “We’re trying to find our identity in the middle of the season. We knew who we were. Then when you lose somebody as dynamic as Dakwon at the quarterback position, you have to figure it out.”
Matanzas returned to the passing game late in the second quarter behind sophomore quarterback Jackson Lundahl after keeping the ball on the ground for most of the past four games.
“We had a wildcat package and a wildcatter package with (Hash and Mills),” Forrest said. “Obviously they are two of our more dynamic players. I think Jackson Lundahl did a great job throwing the ball. He’s a sophomore, and the more JV games he gets, the more reps he’s going to get, the more he’ll feel better about himself. He’s a six-quarter kid, and we plan on playing him two (quarters) in the JV game and letting him get his legs underneath him.”
Forrest was pleased with his team’s performance in the first quarter. The Jackets led 7-0 going into the second quarter, but added four more touchdowns to take a 35-0 halftime lead and force a running clock in the second half.
Running back Devonte Lyons scored three first half-touchdowns for St. Augustine (3-3), including a 58-yard score in the second quarter. The Jackets added three touchdown passes. They also had two touchdowns and another long run called back.
“I think we moved the ball really well in the first quarter. We were getting some first downs and were able to flip the field, making them earn their yards,” Forrest said. “Then they started popping big plays, and you can’t give up big plays to a team that talented.”
The Pirates fell to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in District 4-3S. They have a bye this week before returning to action Oct. 13 in a road game against Gainesville, another district foe.