Headed to the state playoffs for its 24th consecutive season, Mainland’s championship opportunity has gone from a window to an open door. Now that five-time defending 6A champ Miami Central is no longer waiting in the wings, the Bucs have become the title favorites.
Nevertheless, Mainland’s still not satisfied with its level of play. Upon hearing that his postseason rival had been eliminated from playoff contention two weeks ago, Buccaneers head coach Scott Wilson reached out to Miami Central with this message: “We have a bye week in Week 11. We would be willing to play you guys, as we know that playing you would make us better.”
Yep, the Bucs desperately want a title, and they are willing to play an extra game — against the defending champs — if it means they can get better for the playoffs.
In the last several years, Central thwarted Mainland’s attempts at its first state title since 2004. Because of their frequent playoff duels, the Bucs have developed matured. Even when they fall behind or struggle early in games, they remain calm and continue to play their style. They’ve seen it all against Central, and they wanted more this year.
Due to certain restrictions, the proposed game won’t happen, but Wilson’s plea exhibited the heart of the Bucs.
The Seabreeze game also demonstrates the team’s dedication, but not just because of the 70-7 score. Even though they were the heavy favorites going in, the Bucs stayed to their usual practice regimen throughout the week. Wilson didn’t give his players any time off. He understands what each week represents — not only time to prepare for the next game, but time prepare for the biggest games.
Up next for Mainland is Okeechobe in the first round of the playoffs. Senior Denzel Houston has played his best football this season, and senior Cyrus Fagan has led the defense. Mainland has scored at least 35 points in all of its games, and the defense has allowed 22 or few points in all games.
In two weeks, the Bucs will get tested more than they’ve been throughout the season, but that’s not surprising to them. That’s why they take no days off.