With its first district game of the season on tap this week, Flagler Palm Coast’s football team did not have time to dwell on last week’s heartbreaking loss to University.
The Bulldogs play host to Ponte Vedra on Friday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Ponte Vedra is a really good football team,” said Daniel Fish, FPC’s first-year head coach. “It’s going to be a dog fight. We're really excited about the opportunity.”
The Bulldogs fell to 2-2 with a 29-28 loss to University on Sept. 22 in Orange City. FPC led 28-13 early in the fourth quarter, but the Titans scored twice to go ahead and then blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt by FPC's Chase Magee with 20 seconds left. With the win, University remained undefeated at 5-0.
“I truly believe we should have won that football game,” Fish said. “And I truly believe if we line it up again, we win that game. I think we can line it up with anyone and compete. We had plenty of opportunities to win and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the fourth quarter.”
FPC rolled up 435 yards of offense in the game, with running back Marcus Mitchell running for 144 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Caden Gonzalez passing for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
A win against Ponte Vedra would put FPC in good position in District 4-4S, a four-team district. The Sharks (3-1) have won three in a row and are ranked 11th in the state among Class 4S teams by MaxPreps. FPC is ranked 21st in Class 4S.
“No one gave us a chance to win the district coming into the year, and I think we've been able to surprise some people, but this is just beginning,” Fish said. “I think we get better each week. We've had some tough injuries and lost some guys, but the guys who were behind them filled those roles pretty well and they're working hard to get better.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Nease on Oct. 13 and host Tocoi Creek on Oct. 27 in their other district contests. The district champ gets an automatic bid to the playoffs.
This week's game will be just the second at home for Fish as the Bulldogs’ coach.
“We had the spring game away, the kickoff classic away, and we've had three away games and one home, so it'll be nice to be at home in a big district matchup like this one,” Fish said. “I think that helps our young guys a lot when they’re feeding off the home crowd.”