Cole Hash scored on a 7-yard run early in the third quarter, and that would be all the scoring Matanzas would need in a 7-0 road victory against Atlantic on Sept. 23.
“It was a grind,” said Matanzas coach Matt Forrest. “We’re fighting for ways to get yards on offense.”
The Pirates, who snapped a three-game losing streak, were playing in their second full game without quarterback Dakwon Evans, who injured his collarbone early against Deltona on Sept. 9.
Without an established quarterback, they’ve struggled to move the ball. But in the second half against the Sharks (1-4), Matanzas kept the ball in Hash’s hands, and the junior responded with 144 yards rushing on 26 carries.
“We tinkered with that wishbone-wing offense,” Forrest said. “We were moving the ball, but it just wasn't where we needed to be. So, we transitioned to more to a wildcat offense in the second half. We're going to have to continue to go week by week and try to figure out what works best for us. It's been a great job by our coaching staff and by our kids to be able to adapt to this with Dakwon being out an extended period of time.”
“It was really a hard-fought win. That's really good for our kids that when things aren't necessarily stacked in your favor, you find a way to win regardless.”
— MATT FORREST, Matanzas coach
The Pirates (2-3) rushed for 207 yards and threw just three passes with no completions.
The defense came up big with two goal-line stands in the fourth quarter on an interception by Aiden Try and a turnover on downs. Matanzas got the ball back with about 4 minutes, 40 seconds left and was able to run out the clock.
“It was really a hard-fought win,” Forrest said. “That's really good for our kids that when things aren't necessarily stacked in your favor, you find a way to win regardless.”
Atlantic running back John Killingsworth, who is one of the leading rushers in the state with 936 yards, ran for 129 yards on 19 carries against Matanzas, but he did not break any long runs.
“That's a credit to our defense, being able to bottle him up for the most part,” Forrest said. “A kid like that is going to make plays. but you've got to make sure that you limit the big play. And I think our defense was able to do that.”