ST. AUGUSTINE – Orange Park High tailback Alex Collier scored two touchdowns after leaving the field last week at Baker County on a stretcher, but the effort was for naught as Orange Park lost …
ST. AUGUSTINE – Orange Park High tailback Alex Collier scored two touchdowns after leaving the field last week at Baker County on a stretcher, but the effort was for naught as Orange Park lost 32-13 to Pedro Menendez High School in a key district 5-5A clash that may have spelled playoff disaster for the Raiders.
“We did not finish drives on offense,” said Orange Park football coach Tom Macpherson. “Our execution was poor in critical situations.”
Against Menendez, Orange Park could only muster sparks of offense with Collier scoring both Raider touchdowns; one a 60 yarder in the second quarter after Collier kept his balance off a spinning tackle and sprinted away 40 yards to paydirt and, the other, a seven yarder with about a minute left in the fourth quarter that ended the game. Quarterback Vince Walker hit just seven passes for 64 yards.
The score was 0-0 after the first quarter in what appeared to be a defensive battle before Menendez put their running game to work with two scores before Collier’s 60 yarder.
“Our defense played good enough to win, but we had too many missed tackles,” said Macpherson.
Menendez woul amp up their offense behind running back Tye Edwards who finished with three touchdowns off 137 yards on the ground and inside running from fullback Izez Hayward who bludgeoned his way to 108 yards.
With Ridgeview knocking off Baker County and Menendez in the past two weeks and the Raiders losing to both, Macpherson’s hopes for a playoff spot in a strong season may have to wait for another year.
“ From 1-9 to six wins and a guaranteed tie for most wins in the county is a pretty big step,” said Macpherson. “We had our playoff chances and didn’t take advantage.”
Ridgeview (5-5, 2-3) finished their season and must wait for final regular season games to determine playoff point totals. Clay (3-6, 2-3) beat Palatka (3-6, 1-4) and will probably have their first non-playoff season in nearly a decade. Clay finishes with 2A-University Christian.
Macpherson’s Raiders (6-3, 3-2) , after a season-opening loss to Oakleaf, rattled off five straight wins including a stunner over Clay (29-28) and a blowout of Ridgeview (36-7), plus a 30-18 win over Palatka to set up their playoff hopes, but the losses to Baker County and Menendez were amplified with Ridgeview’s upsets of both Menendez and Baker County.
Orange Park finishes with Fleming Island coming to Hoyt B. Cotney Stadium in a game that is not only a rivalry game, but could give the Raiders significant playoff points with a win. Fleming Island, a region finalist in 2017, brings three bonus points to the game.
“ A win vs Fleming would be a huge boost to the program, but we will not turn the corner until our players learn how to handle adversity,” said Macpherson.