Eagles steamroll Broncos

Ray DiMonda
Posted 9/14/17

FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island tailback Anfernee McCaskill blazed 93 yards to open the scoring up for the Golden Eagles who stayed unbeaten with a 27-6 non-district win over 6A-Middleburg High …

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Eagles steamroll Broncos


FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island tailback Anfernee McCaskill blazed 93 yards to open the scoring up for the Golden Eagles who stayed unbeaten with a 27-6 non-district win over 6A-Middleburg High Thursday night at Fleming Island High School. Area high schools played Thursday in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

“Anytime Anfernee gets an open space, you can go up six,” said Fleming Island coach Damenyum Springs, now 3-0 with a district 3-7A showdown with defending district champion Gainesville Buchholz this week. “I mean 4.4 speed (4.4 seconds for 40 yards), not many are going to catch him.”

Fleming Island has stormed to an unbeaten record with a season-opening win over county rival Clay High before a hard-fought, lightning delayed win over 8A-Sandalwood last week to set up the showdown with Buchholz High (1-2) with a season-opening win over Gainesville Eastside (44-14) and two consecutive losses; to Ocala Vanguard (44-33) and to Columbia (42-7). Buchholz beat Fleming Island last year 28-14 in Gainesville prior to beating Bartram Trail,the district runnerup.

After two missed field goals, with 1:02 still left in the first quarter, McCaskill took the handoff and dove off tackle to find nothing but open field ahead of him. Ninety three yards later, McCaskill was in the end zone.

“I was thinking we had to open up the team, wake up the team, so I was trying to score for the team.” said McCaskill.

Starting at their own 20, the Broncos’ offense found the Fleming Island defensive trio of Marquavian Wright, Jalyn Robinson, and Jose Concepcion too much to protect Middleburg quarterback Garrett Blanchett, who coughed up the ball to Fleming Island linebacker Jack Surgeoner and gave Fleming Island a first down at the 10 yard line. Just three clock seconds after the first score, linebacker and now utility athlete Ryan Smenda plowed through a gaping hole to score.

“I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’m thinking every time I get the ball I want to score,” said Smenda, who scored off a blocked punt against Sandalwood last week. “That’s what I want to do; I want to help my team win the game and I want to score.”

Midway through the second quarter, after several 10 plus yard runs from McCaskill, Fleming Island’s other ball carrier, Chauncey Garrison, broke three tackles for 20 yards to the Bronco three. From their, safety speedman Isaiah Walker bounced in for the score and a 20-0 lead.

“We wanted to get Chauncey’s confidence back up, so we told him we were going to feed him, feed him, feed him. As the game went on his confidence progressed” said Springs.

In the third period, quarterback Brian Brown, in for sophomore Dean Hyams, found slot back Ozzie Ramirez for a score to put the game at 27-0.

“I just have to come out, execute, and can’t miss a beat when I’m the starting quarterback,” said Brown. “I did what I needed to do to help keep the team alive. I’m just trying to get positive yards for the team.”

Springs did note that Hyams would be the starter against Buchholz.

The Broncos only two positives were the blocked point after early in the game, then a touchdown from Dylan Minton. Fleming Island was sure to return the favor by blocking Middleburg’s point after attempt when Isaiah Walker stretched out and kept the ball from going anywhere. With the loss to Fleming Island, the Broncos are still winless after week three.

Hurricane preparedness for both teams; Buchholz in Gainesville and Fleming Island, will dictate the week of practice for both teams as Friday looms as a critical game for both team’s post-season aspirations.

“It’s tricky because we don’t know if Buchholz is going to be shutting down, if they are going to practice in their gym, what they are going to do,” said Springs. “I know what we can’t do; we can’t practice and meet, so we’ll try to communicate with IHudl, email, phone calls, just do whatever we can. We’re going to work. We’re not going to take a day off, we’re going to work.”


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