Seabreeze defeated the Wildcats 2-0 on the night of Friday, Feb. 2, at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex
Seabreeze hadn’t won a district championship in three years. Each of those seasons, the Sandcrabs met the Taylor Wildcats in the district final, only to walk away with a loss. Even in the Sandcrabs' 2016-17 state championship season, the Wildcats took home the district title.
“It was the only thing we were missing,” the Sandcrabs’ Franco Perez said.
And seven minutes into Seabreeze’s fourth-consecutive district final against Taylor, Perez made his mark. His kick was a laser that the Wildcats’ goal keeper had no chance at stopping. Perez struck again at the 21-minute mark in the second half, this time delivering a penalty kick to the left side of the goal. Taylor’s goal keeper went right.
As the minutes turned to seconds, the moment started to finally hit Perez. He looked up at the crowd of Sandcrabs fans and raised his hands and roared. When the final whistle blew, his teammates joined him.
“It was a long time coming,” Perez said after Seabreeze’s 2-0 win over Taylor on the night of Friday, Feb. 2, at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. “But at the end of the day, we had a goal set that we didn’t want to go four years in a row losing in the same place. Yeah, last year’s state championship was fun, but it’s good to have a district title, too.”
Perez said the team practiced relentlessly leading up to its rematch with Taylor. Through hours and hours of meticulously analyzing game film, the Sandcrabs uncovered a way to finally beat their longtime foe.
“Secrets stay secrets, though,” Seabreeze coach Nathaniel Murphy said. “So, I can’t tell you that.”
Murphy added: “We had a game plan. We started training for it three days ago, and we executed it perfectly. I couldn’t ask for anything more than what they did tonight. Exactly what we worked on is exactly how we played.”
Next up, the Sandcrabs advance to regional play. The regional quarterfinal is on Feb. 7. However, a return to the Class 3A state title game, where Seabreeze took down Merritt Island 2-0 last spring, is not on Murphy’s mind yet.
“Our main goal is to play the next game,” he said. “That’s all we live for. We play the next game, win the next game and we’ll worry about the game after that.”