Down 28-7 in the early in the fourth quarter, Matanzas almost completed an improbable comeback on Oct. 21 at Clay High School.
The Pirates pulled to within five points and were driving inside Clay’s 25-yard line in the final seconds. But the Blue Devils intercepted a Jackson Lundahl pass to secure the home win 28-23.
“It was a wild night for sure. We just ran out of magic.”
— MATT FORREST, Matanzas coach
“It was a wild night for sure,” Matanzas coach Matt Forrest said. “We just ran out of magic.”
Lundahl, a sophomore forced into the lineup due to the early-season injury to starting quarterback Dakwon Evans, threw two touchdown passes and three interceptions as the Pirates fell to 3-5 with two games remaining.
“We had no timeouts left,” Forrest said of the final play. “Jackson’s getting better every day. I know he wants that pass back.”
The late rally began with Lundahl’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Braden Russell. Matanzas closed to within a touchdown on Lundahl’s pass to the end zone that bounced off Cole Hash’s hands and was gathered in by Clay Vogel for the score.
After Matanzas forced a safety and failed to convert a fourth down, Ahmad Louis-Charles recovered a Clay fumble with about 2:30 left. With the help of a pass interference penalty and a pass to Hash, the Pirates moved inside the 25 before the final interception.
Hash scored on a 72-yard run early in the second quarter to tie the score, but the Blue Devils scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the half on a touchdown pass followed by a pick-six as time ran out.
“There were nine seconds on the clock. We were trying to be greedy,” Forrest said of the pass. “That’s a mistake we wish we got back.
“That was a great high school football game to watch,” Forrest added. “I was proud of our program. The mistakes, you can live with those. Our football team believed they were going to win the game. That to me is the trademark of a team going in the right direction.”
The Pirates may be without defensive back/running back Jordan Mills and defensive tackle Amir Tariq for their Senior Night game on Friday, Oct. 28 against Menendez. Mills injured his shoulder in practice last week. Tariq was injured in the fourth quarter against Clay.
FPC 55, Celebration 0
The Bulldogs (6-0) took home a lopsided road victory on Oct. 21. Quarterback D.J. Murray threw touchdown passes to four different receivers — Rodney Hill, Ashton Bracewell, Marcus Mitchell and Ethan Roland.
Mitchell caught a 65-yard scoring pass on FPC's first play from scrimmage. Roland, a senior, caught the first touchdown pass of his varsity career in the second quarter.
“That was something we wanted to make happen. Ethan’s been working really hard for us for two years.”
— ROBERT PAXIA, FPC coach on Ethan Roland's first catch.
“That was something we wanted to make happen,” FPC coach Robert Paxia said. “Ethan’s been working really hard for us for two years. He’s our best blocker as a receiver. He’s caught a bunch of crucial catches this year including the fourth-and-two against Nease (in a district-title-clinching victory).”
Other firsts in the game included the first varsity catches for junior Trenton Ellis and freshman Andrew Bass and freshman quarterback Cole Walker’s first varsity completion.
The Bulldogs finally have a bye week before ending the regular season Nov. 4 at DeLand. They will begin the playoffs on Nov. 11.
Seabreeze 28, South Lake 7
The Sandcrabs whipped Groveland South Lake won their fourth win in a row to improve to 4-4. They will meet Mainland on Friday, Oct. 28 in a game that will decide the District 9-3S championship.
Senior Sam Gonzalez threw for 177 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 113 yards. Eli Campbell caught three passes for 101 yards — all for touchdowns. Tayshawn Galery caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.