The Nov. 2 game between Mainland and Seabreeze put the two teams on very different end-of-season paths.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
With their 27-9 win Nov. 2, the Mainland High School Buccaneers (6-3) not only put themselves in the playoffs, but also ended the Seasbreeze Sandcrabs' season.
Mainland plays Olympia Nov. 9, at home, before its matchup with Lake Gibson (9-0) in the first round of the playoffs. The Sandcrabs (5-5) have a bye in the regular season’s final week.
“Honestly, we have to get through Olympia,” Mainland head coach Scott Wilson said. “(I’m) worried about that. (We need to) get that in and continue to sure things up."
Since the start of the year, Wilson has said the same mantra: In the beginning, our young guys were young and unseasoned. But now they're ready to step up.
“We’re primed and ready to go,” Wilson said on the playoff push. “We’re excited.”
Second half struggles doom Seabreeze season
Seabreeze lost four of its five games this season after leading in the second half, and two of those losses came when the opponent scored on its final possession, late in the fourth quarter.
The Sandcrabs lost their second game of the season to Flagler Palm Coast 11-7, after the Sandcrab defense gave up its only extended drive of the game, as FPC took the lead with 53 seconds remaining.
The very next week, Seabreeze lost to DeLand on the final play of the game, a controversial play where it appeared the Bulldogs receiver dropped the pass that was ruled the deciding touchdown.
“We’re going to move on and try to get ourselves better for next season,” Beach said. “We have a good football team. It didn’t work out the way we wanted all year.”
Hadley takes over rivalry game
What was an eight-point game at halftime, Nov. 2, was put out of reach with the most electrifying play of the game.
Mainland quarterback Cameron Hadley, on fourth down, rolled to his right and instead of looking to pass, brought the ball down and jumped over a Seabreeze defender and into the endzone to put the Buccaneers up 24-9, with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“(He’s) a difference-maker,” Wilson said of his quarterback. “He won MVP of the game. He was so focused and worked so hard (in practice).”
Hadley also threw a touchdown pass to David White and had another rushing touchdown.
“He doesn’t need much (space),” Beach said of Hadley. “He’s just a special kid and he has that talent.”
For Seabreeze, injuries and turnovers were an issue all game.
Quarterback Connor Blair threw two interceptions, on back-to-back drives in the first half, leading to seven points for Mainland.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” Beach said. “We turned it over eight times against them last year, and three in the first half (this year).”
Blair, who Beach said injured his hand and wrist in the game, entered Friday night having thrown only three interceptions in 142 passes.