Mainland kicker Jacob Gettman clinched the game with a field goal in the fourth quarter. Punter Gavin Greathouse followed with a touchback that put Lake Minneola on the 20-yard-line. And the Buccaneers finished with a 31-28 win to remain undefeated at 5-0.
“We took it to them early, like we were supposed to,” Mainland head coach Travis Roland said. “Mistakes got them back in it. Football sucks when the momentum gets rolling and you’re on the other end of it. It’s not a fun deal. Our kids are resilient and did a great job and came out on top. That’s always better than the other result.”
With a 40-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Marquis McCants and a touchdown run by Khamani Robinson, Mainland dominated the first quarter. Touchdowns by Clarence McCloud and Rodney Hill brought the score to 28-6 by mid-second quarter.
“I mean, I was supposed to be running like a climb down the field, then I (saw quarterback) D.J. Murray rolling out,” McCants said. “He (saw) me and we made eye contact. He made a good throw — got to catch it. The opening touchdown, you know that always feels good. You got to set the tone.”
I got to give it all to the big boys because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t score. It (the touchdown) felt good because I felt like we were down and we needed it, so I had to pull through for the team. Definitely boost the ego. — Khamani Robinson, Mainland running back
The Hawks made it difficult for the Bucs with two touchdowns with two-point conversions in the second and third quarters. The score was tied until Gettman kicked a field goal with 8:26 left in the game.
McCants attributes energy and focus to Mainland’s ability to overcome in the end.
“This team right here never gave up,” Mainland assistant coach and athletic director Terry Anthony said. “They are going to fight to the end. But we are champions. We are going to have to win games like that.”
After recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus over the summer, running back Robinson proved he was back and healthy with a 72-yard touchdown run early in the game. He finished with 23 carries and rushed for 157 yards. As the season progresses, Robinson said he is going to work harder, pick his knees up and put up more touchdowns.
“I got to give it all to the big boys because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t score,” he said. “It (the touchdown) felt good because I felt like we were down and we needed it, so I had to pull through for the team. Definitely boost the ego.”
Roland said his receivers and quarterback Murray got into rhythm. Murray was the MaxPreps player of the game with 149 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Mainland will play Pine Ridge on Friday, Sept. 29, then has a bye week followed by a game against Deltona on Oct. 12. Pine Ridge fell to 3-1 with a 21-20 loss to Lake Howell on Sept. 22.
“Could be for a district championship with Pine Ridge, which you don’t say every day,” Roland said. “Coach Eric Poyner has done a great job. Those kids are going to come battle. We are excited.”