Lady Broncos pick off Clay a second time; Eagles win title

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 4/27/21

ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High flag football speedster Megan Bonsor put the final kaibash on a second win over Clay High with a game-sealing interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth …

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Lady Broncos pick off Clay a second time; Eagles win title

Posted

ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High flag football speedster Megan Bonsor put the final kaibash on a second win over Clay High with a game-sealing interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter as Middleburg (11-0) again beat Clay 12-0; this time for the district 4-1A title. Clay (9-2) has just two losses; both to Middleburg.

The Bronco win, under coach Jay Stilianou and assistants Zolt Takacs and Alexis Stilianou, puts Middleburg (11-0) in the region playoffs with a game against Andrew Jackson (9-2) on Wed., April 28 while also knocking Clay out of the playoffs.

Clay, with Stilianou head coach the past four years prior to the COVID shutdown, had been a perennial Final Four team with a 13-0 loss in the state semifinal in 2019 to eventual champion Tampa Robinson. Clay also lost in 2018 to Robinson 24-0 with Robinson winning the Class 1A title. Choctowhatchee beat Clay in the region finals in 2017. On the opposite side of the bracket, Choctowhatchee (13-3) will play Florida A & M High School (9-3).

With both teams teetering on the brink of breakout plays and both teams providing fireworks with sterling defensive efforts; Clay stopping Middleburg two yards from the goal line and Middleburg getting a pick six interception early in the game from defensive back Cheyenne Jenkins, the expected defensive slugfest ensued with little offensive fanfare. In the district 2-2A championship final, Fleming Island withstood a hard-fought 9-0 win over a resilient Oakleaf High team in the semifinal to cruise to a 26-6 championship win over Mandarin to advance into the region playoffs. Fleming Island lost a 13- 18-12 region final to Martin County in 2019. Fleming Island (10-1) advances to play Navarre (12-3) on Wed., April 28 in their region opener. In the opposite bracket, Timber Creek (13-2) hosts Spruce Creek (15-2).

Against Oakleaf, Fleming Island’s vaunted passing offense got stymied by three interceptions from the athletic secondary f Oakleaf High School to keep the scoring on defense. Meadow Mitchell snagged the first interception for Oakleaf on the final play of the first quarter to stop a drive inside Oakleaf territory.

In the second quarter, Oakleaf’s second interception came from Alyssa Gallarolo on a pass again inside Knights’ territory.

Fleming Island had persistent rush pressure on Oakleaf quarterbacks Isabella Jackson and Demyon Jackson from Bryanisha Maddox and Musa.

In the third quarter with the score locked at 0-0, Fleming Island got a pick six interception touchdown Amelia Sailing who also caught the point after pass to put Fleming Island up 7-0. With defense on both sides prevailing, Oakleaf stopped Fleming Island at their own one yard line in a highlight moment of the game only to be victimized by a sack in the end zone from rusher Gabi Musa with just a minute in the contest for the final 9-0 score. In semifinal action throughout the county, Clay beat Ridgeview (4-8) in a thriller 14-6. Ridgeview beat Westside 6-0 to advance. Orange Park (5-7) lost to Middleburg 27-0 in their district tournament opener. The Lady Raiders beat Englewood 20-0 to advance to the semifinal.

Keystone Heights (5-7) had to travel to Pine Ridge High in the district 5-1A semifinal only to lose 45-0.

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