The Sandcrabs forced three straight turnovers to spur on the victory.
Clinging to a 4-point lead with 3 minutes remaining, the Sandcrabs’ defense had its back against the wall. Winter Springs had the ball first-and-goal from Seabreeze’s 1-yard line, prepared to hand the ball off to the Bears’ bruising running back Ayron Rodriguez, who gashed the Sandcrabs throughout the first half.
Seabreeze head coach Pat Brown encouraged his team from the sideline.
“We told them to fly off the ball,” he said. “We knew we were going to get a stop. You could see it in the guys' eyes. We came too far for this.”
The ball was snapped over Bears quarterback Luke Morgan’s head, and Sandcrabs defensive end Harold McKay recovered it.
The Sandcrabs were able to run about 2 minutes off the clock before punting the ball away in the final minute. After getting backed up to third-and-25 following an intentional grounding penalty, the Bears spiked the ball on fourth-and-10 with 6 seconds left.
The Sandcrabs (3-2) defeated Winter Springs 24-20 the night of Thursday, Sept. 19, at Daytona Stadium. It was the Sandcrabs’ third win in their last four games and their second victory in a row – a feat they hadn’t achieved since Oct. 13, 2017.
Seabreeze struggled mightily in the first half, surrendering three rushing touchdowns to the Bears, who lead 20-10 at halftime. The Sandcrabs’ lone scores came off an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Thomas Davidson to receiver Trevon Phillips and a chip shot field goal in the half’s final seconds.
“We knew going into it that it was going to be a tough matchup for us,” Brown said. “We didn’t do a good job adjusting on the fly as a coaching staff, but we knew once we got into the half, that if we made adjustments, the guys would trust us.”
The Sandcrabs opened the second half by forcing consecutive turnovers. The first, an interception by Evan Williams, which led to a 53-yard touchdown reception from Davidson to receiver Matthew Bossett. The second, a fumble recovery that set up a 6-yard rushing score from Otis Walker.
“It was a team thing,” Brown said. “We stopped ourselves in so many instances. We knew we could come out with it. We just had to stick to the plan.”
The Sandcrabs have a bye week for Week 5 and won’t play until they face Halifax Academy at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Daytona Stadium.
“This win means a lot,” said Davidson, who hadn’t played since suffering a concussion in the season opener against Spruce Creek. “It makes us a lot more confident. We feel like we can beat anybody right now.”