Three Matanzas juniors had a big night on Sept. 2 at the Ship, but the Pirates could not overcome a 34-6 halftime deficit and fell to Tocoi Creek 47-22.
Jordan Mills broke a Matanzas school record with 12 receptions, while Dakwon Evans connected with Cole Hash on three touchdown passes.
"We take too long to find our rhythm. We had some explosive plays on offense, but it took us a while to get going," said Matanzas football coach Matt Forrest, whose squad fell to 1-1 on the young season after crushing Pine Ridge 42-0 in its opener.
"It's a lot to ask of our defense, but if our offense is having a slow night, the defense has to bow up and keep us in the game. And it works both ways," Forrest said.
Evans completed 25 of 38 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Hash had seven catches for 107 yards. His third touchdown catch was a 45-yarder from Evans with 5:42 left in the game. The pair also hooked up on the ensuing two-point conversion.
Mills caught 12 passes for 70 yards. He broke Noah Cundiff's single-game reception record, which Cundiff set as a junior in 2020.
The Toros (2-0) broke some big plays to jump out to the 28-point halftime lead. A 46-yard pass and a 65-yard run led to short touchdowns. Wendell Dean's 28-yard touchdown run put the second-year team up 34-6 with 3:47 left in the second quarter.
"We take too long to find our rhythm. It's a lot to ask of our defense, but if our offense is having a slow night, the defense has to bow up and keep us in the game. And it works both ways."
MATT FORREST, Matanzas football coach
"Any time a defense gives up big plays, 40 or 50 yards a pop, that's not good execution," Forrest said. "They execute at a high level, and they pounce on every mistake."
The Pirates host Deltona on Friday, Sept. 9. The Wolves are another team playing at a high level. Deltona won its first two games by a combined score of 114-7.
"Coach (Jeff) Smothers has done a great job with that program," Forrest said. "They have very athletic kids and big guys up front. They're going to run the football, which is not our strong point right now. We have to match their intensity. We really have to buckle down."
The Pirates will also have to play more consistently and efficiently, Forrest said
"We're either clicking on all cylinders or not at all," he said. "That's something we've got to fix. We know what we have to do to get better."