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WHEW!! Breathe! The season's second half begins

Game of Week: Fleming Island (2-1) at Titusville (4-0)

Randy Lefko
Sports Editor

Posted 12/31/69

OAKLEAF - With an epic Oakleaf vs. Fleming Island contest now decided, the trek to playoff spots starts this week.

"We lost, we did some things bad, but we can correct it," said Fleming Island …

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WHEW!! Breathe! The season's second half begins

Game of Week: Fleming Island (2-1) at Titusville (4-0)


Posted

OAKLEAF - With an epic Oakleaf vs. Fleming Island contest now decided, the trek to playoff spots starts this week.

"We lost, we did some things bad, but we can correct it," said Fleming Island coach Chad Parker. "It's a long season and a loss here and there for both of us is critical. We both have big schedules ahead of us."

The road of "Big" travels to Titusville for Fleming Island, a 4-0 record and a team that puts points on the board with wins of 21, 27, 49 and just 16 in Friday's 16-10 win over Palm Bay. Titusville has not played a massive schedule with a win over 2-1 Yulee most notable.

Stats-wise, Titusville has a strong run on offense with 223 yards rushing per game, but just 85 via air.

Senior quarterback Josiah Allen has 310 yards passing with four scores and just one interception plus a 55 percent completion rate.

The lead rusher is senior Nate Lopez with 334 yards; just 83.5 yards per game with four touchdowns.

Parker has more to worry about with Bartram Trail (2-1, loss to Mainland 28-24), Lake Minneola (1-2-1; losses to unbeaten Manatee and Vanguard) and Mandarin (4-0) up after Titusville. Mandarin rolls with scores of 43-21 over Fletcher, 42-35 over Bolles and 50-20 over Riverside with a 30-0 pounding of Atlantic Coast last week. No snoozing for the Eagles.

For Oakleaf, the rugged road is home for three of four with Bolles and Bradford sandwiching a road trip to Creekside and Buchholz after Bradford. That's a gauntlet in itself. Bolles (1-3) is still dangerous with the likes of Toblin and Hoekstra knowing the Clay County aura. Creekside is dangerous with Bradford and Buchholz both machines of football. Buchholz is throwing down scores of 41-13 over Columbia, 53-31 over Riverview Sarasota and 35-0 over Eastside with a 49-20 over Creekside last week. No, let up with the coach's retirement from Whittemore.

Middleburg, a 35-0 loss to Ponte Vedra, needs a spark and coach Ryan Wolfe says changes are coming. Ribault (3-1) at Middleburg won't be a cakewalk and Wolfe has to act fast.

Clay (3-1) is on the fast track to be the Wild Card story of 2023 with Coach Kyle Kennard getting his guys high-energy and motivated with a revenge match with Tocoi Creek (2-2) a road trip. Tocoi Creek passes but also gets intercepted with nine between the QBs. One guy, Julio Santiago is the target with 30 catches and five scores. Tocoi Creek is kind of Clay-like with tough wins and tough losses; Matanzas (20-14) and Bishop Kenny (23-20).

Beachside (3-1) invites a resurgent Ridgeview team in after a 51-point win with the Panthers rumbling on the ground; Hutchinson and Marshall, against Gateway. Coach Bryan Arnette had a week off with the guys to correct things and could have a two-game win streak at the end of the day.

Orange Park, 2-2, after a 28-13 win over Melbourne (0-4) is getting efficient with sophomore quarterback Gabe Taylor comfortable throwing; 3TDS, 9 of 21, but 3 picks, and that's a big three with the speed on his outskirts. Taylor stayed calm in the second half with the Raiders down 13-7 to put up 21 points; two bypasses, one from RB Joshua Johnson about 30 yards. Johnson is slowly (or fast if you watch him) becoming an elite-level running back with big size and breakaway speed. Keep slinging it.

Keystone Heights (1-2) got a five-turnover night on defense with three fumble recoveries and two interceptions; one a pick-six by defensive lineman Jackson Herman, to beat Bell 49-0 for coach Steve Reynolds's first win as head coach. Reynolds has one more game (0-4 Interlachen) to have his guys ready for a Bradford road trip. Keystone Heights also got a kickoff return for a score from Jackson Parmeter.