GREEN COVE SPRINGS – With lightning quick speed; two runs from Al’Querious Ray, a 54 yard punt return by Jarvis Lee, a snappy 27 yard quick slant by Reed Waugh and a nifty look at the future with …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – With lightning quick speed; two runs from Al’Querious Ray, a 54 yard punt return by Jarvis Lee, a snappy 27 yard quick slant by Reed Waugh and a nifty look at the future with a Jayden Jenkins to D’Maurion Frazier scoring pass in a misty raining first quarter, the Clay High Blue Devils football team made quick work of a severly overmatched Atlantic High team to score a 35-0 region 1-5A semifinal win Friday night at Clay High School. Clay was up 35-0 at the half.
“We wanted to get the young guys some reps,” said Clay coach Kyle Kennard. “That is good for our depth. We spread out the scoring a couple of different ways. We always say, as long as we ours, we don’t care who gets theirs. It is the team’s credo.”
Clay, 9-1 with the win, advances to the region final to face Ocala Vanguard, 7-1, who dismantled Ridgeview High by the same 35-0 score. Clay will travel to Ocala for the Friday final.
Ocala, 9-3 last year, lost 37-14 in the region 1-5A final to Orlando Jones, the eventual state runnerup to Miami Northwestern. Vanguard lost in the 2018 and 2017 region 1-6A final to Tampa Armwood, also the state runnerup both years.
One player who has been instrumental in the turnaround from a 1-9 season last year to a region final in a week, senior linebacker Tristan Keith.
“It’s great, last year was a rough start and ending,” said Keith. “Coach Kennard came in and we saw what he wanted to do with the program. He changed the whole image of the team. He put a motive into the team that we are going to do our thing and we are going to win. Even the young guys at the end played Blue Devil football.”
In the third period, with a running clock and Clay coach Kyle Kennard installing his bench, Atlantic’s lone drive to the Clay red zone got zipped by a Brandon Kuhn interception at the four yard line that he returned to midfield.
In the final period, Clay got a fumble recovery off a hit by Hunter Huckleberry that Garrett Tyre picked up.
Against Atlantic, on their first possession, after linebacker Izaiah Butler recovered a tricky onsides kick by Atlantic, Al’Querious Ray took two snaps before rumbling 50 yards to paydirt only to have a penalty flag return the offense to the field.
A quick pass to Reed Waugh from quarterback Tre Griner set the Clay offense at second down where Ray blasted from 34 yards out for his first score, but a flag put the Blue Devils back with second down and 16 at the 29 yard line.
On second and 11, at the 23, Ray punched in for 10 for a third and four for Clay at the 15.
From there, Waugh snagged his score on a slant and run at 8:46.
After a defensive stop by the Clay defense, it took Ray one snap to go 50 yards for his second score of the night with this one seeing no penalty flags.
Up 14-0 with 6:44 still in the first quarter, the rain stopped, but not the Clay push to end the game quickly.
Clay defensive tackle Valdez Seymour got his first quarterback hurry of the night to thwart any Atlantic offense to put Atlantic at third and 10 at their own 25. A pass through the hands of Clay defender Kayden Rossow got Atlantic into Clay territory, but Seymour and Jamal Pierre swallowed a run attempt for a loss for a third down with a Butler rush getting an incomplete pass. Butler and Blake Thompson crushed a run play on fourth down to give Clay the ball on downs.
On second and 10, Griner gave Ray another shot from midfield that got a 40 yard run to the 22 yard line of Atlantic with the rain forcing a slip and fall.
Griner rolled right, spun left and spotted D’Maurion Frazier downfield for a first down at the nine yard line for a first down.
With 2:50 still in the first quarter, Ray blasted behind tight end Leo Garcia for the score for a 21-0 score.
Clay’s final salvo came on a deep punt from Atlantic that returner Jarvis Lee scooped up on the run at midfield and found open pasture on the Clay sideline and blocker Gavin Rossow to cruise 54 yards to paydirt.
Clay’s final score was a pass from Jayden Jenkins to Frazier.