MIDDLEBURG – Fleming Island High football had all the motivation they could stand as they needed to bounce back after a trouncing by the Sandalwood Saints a week prior and a rules infraction by …
MIDDLEBURG – Fleming Island High football had all the motivation they could stand as they needed to bounce back after a trouncing by the Sandalwood Saints a week prior and a rules infraction by several players who remained out of uniform; most notably starting quarterback Dean Hyams.
Fleming Island’s pent up frustration was taken out on the host Middleburg High Broncos as they came out with guns blazing, namely senior running back Aaron Ramirez who had a career night, and rocked the Broncos back so hard, that even with a fire in their belly second half, it was no match for the Golden Eagles as they went on and closed the night with a 35-14 road victory Sept. 7.
Middleburg High opened at home with some pregame fanfare by honoring those in the community who went above and beyond a year ago responding to hurricane Irma and those hit especially hard in Middleburg with flooding. The energy off the pre-game ceremony alone should have been enough to kick start the Broncos.
The game began the hard way for the Broncos as their kickoff return only got out to the 20, they went three plays and had to punt. The punt was returned by Fleming Island’s Aaron “Ozzy” Ramirez who brought the ball back to the Middleburg 20. Working with a short field, the Golden Eagles used a Ramirez carry, followed with a Brody Domenico quarterback keeper to quickly go up 6-0.
“I’m the back-up and not too much of a thrower so I use my legs more. That was the game plan when I was told I was going to be the starter,” said Domenico, a standout while at Lakeside Junior High School. “It felt good for my first start at quarterback. It’s not even my primary position. I settled in, the coaches made great calls and I just took a breath and let it come to me.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Middleburg’s issues would continue as Tyler Bryant set up to catch the kick, grabbed the ball and as he tried to take off, his foot kicked up a huge clump of sod and his knee touched the ground. The Broncos would start with 98 yards to drive for a touchdown. Never laying down, the Broncos went to work on the backs of tailback Anthony Havens and quarterback Joe Justino, and the hands of wideout Trevor Todd. After two first downs, the drive was killed off when Justino was sacked on third and seven to go, forcing a Bronco punt. The Golden Eagles resumed offense from the 49 after the punt and got the ball to the 24 yard line to end the quarter.
Still driving deep in the Middleburg end of the field, the Golden Eagles only needed two plays the get Ramirez into the endzone for a 12-0 lead.
Both teams exchanged punts before Ramirez would finish off the scoring drive from 30 yards after a 36 yard scamper from Tim Thomas put Fleming Island in the red zone. A shanked punt put Fleming Island back deep in Bronco territory where Thomas took a Domenico pass to paydirt for a 25-0 halftime score.
After the second half kickoff, Fleming Island went to Brian Maddox in the backfield and Maddox answered with a 69 yard rumble to the Bronco six yard line, but Middleburg held and forced an Avery Coussens field goal, score 28-0.
Another Bronco punt set up a Ramirez for a score and a 35-0 Fleming Island lead.
“I think he could do it all,” said Springs of Ramirez, a top sprinter for the Fleming Island track team. “We were talking about it during the game, we may have to put him at O-line and I think he’d be our best lineman.”
With the Ramirez touchdown and Coussens point after, Fleming would round out their scoring with 35 points. Middleburg would never say die as they leaned on Tyler Bryant and Joe Justino to run in the first score for the Broncos with :42 seconds left in the third quarter.
With a running clock in the end of the third and all of the fourth quarter, Middleburg would only have one more possession which would yield another score as Justino connected on a reverse screen for a huge gain, and a Damon Moody huge ground pickup to set up an Anthony Havens touchdown to get the final score of 35-14. The Broncos still search for their first win as they host the Englewood Rams in a district 4-6A contest. Fleming Island travels to Gainesville Buchholz in a district 3-7A clash.