- September 20, 2022
Mainland flag football coach Ethan Simpson didn’t expect to be buying doughnuts this late in the season.
But a shutout is a shutout, and a doughnut looks like the number zero, and that’s how many points Boynton Beach Somerset Canyons scored against the Buccaneers in the Region 1-1A championship game Monday, May 8, at the Bucs’ field.
With the 7-0 win, Mainland (14-5) advanced to the state final four for the first time in program history.
“This is a very special moment,” Simpson said. “We had a rough patch at first. But we improved each week. I kept telling the girls how special they are, and now they believe it.”
They will meet Tampa Robinson (19-2) in a Class 1A semifinal at 7:15 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville. The winner will play the winner of the Miami Edison-Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee game for the championship on May 13.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Simpson said of the shutout. “But we tell the girls, ‘Defense wins championships.’”
But Simpson said he had to keep telling himself to keep calm, “don’t freak out,” as Somerset was driving for a potential game-tying touchdown in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
In the blink of an eye, Bucs senior Kassie Stoner turned anxiety into celebration as she stepped in front of Delanie Doty to pick off a pass and allow the Bucs to run out the clock.
“That’s how we knew we are going to states,” quarterback Ava Colubiale said of Stoner’s interception. “The feeling is indescribable.”
Stoner said she knew the pass was going to Doty, who came into the game with 130 catches on the season.
She had that little pause there. I thought she wasn’t going to get it. I had a little heart attack. We were all yelling, ‘go, go, go.’ Then she punched it in.” — AVA COLUBIALE on Cadence Haley's touchdown catch.
“I was looking for the deep ball, but I saw her turn, so I went for it,” Stoner said. “This was definitely a nailbiter. This is the furthest Mainland’s ever gone. It’s very exciting.”
The Bucs scored the game’s only touchdown on Cadence Haley’s fourth-down, 17-yard catch in the final seconds of the first half. Colubiale said she was ready to check down to a short pass before she saw Haley was open on a post pattern.
Colubiale hit Haley with the pass and Haley … stopped. She thought a Somerset player had pulled her flag, but the player had missed.
“She had that little pause there,” Colubiale said. “I thought she wasn’t going to get it. I had a little heart attack. We were all yelling, ‘go, go, go.’ Then she punched it in.”
Haley extended the ball over the goal line just before her flag was pulled.
“I was right there,” Stoner said. “I saw her extend it.”
Simpson recalled yelling, “run, run,” when Haley caught it.
“It felt like a long time,” he said. “I thought she wasn’t going to get in. We tell them all the time, ‘Run until you hear the whistle.’”
Stoner caught the extra-point pass from Colubiale to give the Bucs the slim 7-0 lead at halftime. The defense did the rest, recording its third shutout of the season. Mainland intercepted four passes including two by Colubiale and one each by Kamryn Williamson and Stoner.
A shutout means the coach buys doughnuts for everybody.
“The girls were saying, ‘We’re going to states, and we’re getting doughnuts,’” Simpson said. “The first two times I went to Dunkin’, but tonight I’m going to see if the hot light is on at Krispy Kreme.”