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Mainland
Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 5 years ago

An open letter to the 2012 Buccaneers

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The Mainland football team ended its season with a 41-14 loss in the Class 6A Regional Finals. But they should be proud of their year.

Dear Buccaneers,

So your season ended Nov. 30, with a 41-14 loss against an undefeated Naples. I know the last thing you probably want right now is some reporter telling you to be happy about that. But hear me out.

You headed into Week 10 needing a win over rival Seabreeze to make the playoffs. After leading by eight points at the half, you pushed that lead into a 27-9 win, ending the Sandcrabs’ season.

You started the season 2-3, losing all three road games, before winning seven consecutive games, including two playoff road wins.

You outscored opponents 345-240, and your only district loss came on the road against New Smyrna Beach, in Week 5.

You wouldn’t lose again until your final game of the season, Week 14, in the Class 6A Regional Finals.

The three teams you played in the playoffs had a combined one loss before they stepped onto the field against you.

The team with the loss was Winter Haven, whose only regular season upset came against Lake Gibson, which you knocked off in the first round.

The Winter Haven game was one of the best games, at any level, I’ve seen in a long time. Although head coach Scott Wilson said he never doubted you had what it took to come back and win, I wasn’t so sure while I was standing on the sideline.

I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the Winter Haven game, but lets take a look back.

You scored first, Jontey Byrd’s one-yard touchdown run with 9:44 left in the first quarter, and last, another Byrd TD run, this time from the two-yard line with 1:13 left in the game.

Stephen Bostick made the catch of the season, setting up Byrd’s game-winning score, after Cameron Hadley, on third and 10 from your own 15-yard line, ran for 43 yards.

Byrd, Bostick and Hadley, all seniors, had big games. But it was an interception by sophomore Arthur Westbrook that gave the offense 2:24 to go 85 yards. It didn’t take that long.

So while your season may not have ended the way you wanted, it had more highlights than most.

If the Naples loss still hurts, which I’m sure it does, it’s because you expected more from yourselves, and that's never a bad thing. Considering what you did manage to accomplish, that says a lot about the 2012 Mainland Buccaneers.

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