VALDOSTA - Two miraculous pass plays that became touchdowns proved fateful to the Fleming Island Dreadnaughts youth football team as the host Titletown Titans of Valdosta won the 18-6 semifinal …
VALDOSTA - Two miraculous pass plays that became touchdowns proved fateful to the Fleming Island Dreadnaughts youth football team as the host Titletown Titans of Valdosta won the 18-6 semifinal matchup between the two undefeated teams Saturday afternoon in Valdosta.
Fleming Island’s Dreadnaughts 10-Under team, coached by Mike Kenny, had come to Valdosta with an unbeaten regular season and convincing 27-0 win last week to advance to the semifinal.
“This is the game to get to the regional championship in Orlando,” said Kenny. “To be honest, every player is a key player for us. We spread the ball around. This is the deepest this team has ever been in the playoffs. Titletown has been in games like this before and we are in their backyard.”
Fleming Island got strong running on offense by Blake Mulanax and quarterback Wyatt Rapoza and even a momentum-changing blast by lineman Kade Carey who rumbled 15 yards on a second half carry that kept the only scoring drive for Fleming Island in tact.
In the first possession of the game, Titletown stopped Rapoza on a fourth down scramble to gain possession in Fleming Island territory at the Dreadnaught 35.
With Titletown utilizing a backfield of massively big running backs, the Dreadnaught defense would be tested all night in a battle of wills at the line of scrimmage.
On the defensive line, Connor McKay, Brody Richmond, Carey and Ronald Goble kept crashing the line to try and stop the Titletown offense.
On a first series reverse attempt, Ty Riban sniffed out the trick play to put Titletown at second and 20 to go.
Titletown put up a four receivers left formation on seocnd and 20, but Danker smashed in for a sack to make it third and 20.
On the run, Titletown got a lofted balloon pass that found a receiver running shoulder to shoulder with Rapoza for a 45 yard score.
McKay would blast through to crush the point after kick to leave the score at 6-0.
After exchanging possessions, Titletown would hold a first down at their own 34 yard line with eight minutes left to halftime.
Again, the Dreadnaughts defense, led by Asa Willard on this series, got a sack and a tackle for loss to push the Titans backward.
Again, Titletown went deep and found the same receiver, this time with Dreadnaught defender Tristan Stevenson in near perfect position. Despite Stevenson’s best efforts, the play was successful to score the game 12-0.
Fleming Island continued to struggle to move against the Titans defense with the Titans adding one more score to go to halftime up 18-0.
Still 18-0 after the third quarter, Fleming Island kept throwing doses of off tackle runs by Danker to try and puncture the Titans defense.
On a key drive in the fourth, Danker stood in shotgun as quarterback and threw a snap slant route to Rapoza who snared the ball and sprinted for the 15 yard gain that was aided on the next snap with an offsides five yard gain.
Kenny, urging time management on his offense, kept the pace fast on a third and one, only to have Rapoza miss on a pass attempt.
With seven minutes left, on fourth down now, a swing pass to Danker fell to the ground to stall the drive.
Titletown got the ball and attempted to run the clock down with dives off tackle as the clock ticked at 6:23 to go.
On fourth and 10, after a hard stop by Riban, Titletown went with a quick kick punt to put Fleming Island at their own Vaydin Burke caught the kick at the 43 yard line with 5:23 to go.
Calling for the “Fridge”, Carey blasted on first down for 15 yards with five added on the next first down with offsides as Fleming Island started at the Titletown 38 with another first down.
Rapoza swept right and gained another 15 for a horse collar tackle to keep the Dreadnaughts moving.
First down and at the 20, Kenny sent Stevenson off the left corner for a 17 yard gain to the three.
At 3:39, with the Titans having not given up a score all season, Fleming Island seemed determined to make a statement to end the game.
On second down, Rapoza punched in off right tackle at 2:59 for the only score for the Dreadnaughts.
Danker was short on the point after attempt.
Titletown started at first and 15 after a 12 men on the field flag as a rejuvenated Fleming Island defense crashed in with Stevenson blasting in for a sack. Stevenson was flagged for a facemask on the play to put Titletown at the Fleming Island 40.
Titletown took knees to end the game.