The Raiders defeated Seabreeze 26-6 to advance to the Final Four.
Prior to the Sandcrabs’ 20-14 win over Orlando Jones in the first round of the 1A girls flag football playoffs on Thursday, May 3, Seabreeze senior Christen Helem hadn’t been part of a playoff win since her freshman year.
The district championship over crosstown rival Mainland, the come-from-behind victory over Orlando Jones, advancing to the Elite Eight: That’s how Helem will choose to remember this season — not the 26-6 loss the Sandcrabs suffered at the hands of Glade Central on the night of Monday, May 7, at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
“I wish we could have won, but I’ll be OK,” said Helem, who selected to play in the flag football East-West All-Star game. “I still feel great about this season.”
The Raiders went on a 20-0 run to open the first half. Seabreeze got on the board with a seven-yard catch-and-run by receiver Taylor Nirschl with 1:53 to play in the second quarter.
The Sandcrabs tried to mount a comeback in the second half, but the offense couldn’t find its groove. Sophomore quarterback Bailey McQuarrie, who was the hero in a three-touchdown effort against Orlando Jones, threw her first interception at the 1:08-mark in the third quarter and again in the final minute of regulation.
For several Sandcrabs — including Helem, Nirschl, Grace Remey, Haley Tarlini, Alana Neely, Mandy Brock, Sofia Serrano-Kirk and Kaylee Haas —it was their final game in high school.
“You feel bad for our seniors because we all felt like this was going to be our year,” Sandcrabs coach Mike Fries said. “But we’ve got a bright future. We have a bright junior varsity team, and we have girls with incredible work ethics.”
Fries said the Sandcrabs' success surpassed everyone’s expectations this season — everyone's, except for his.
“My expectation is a state championship,” the two-time state wrestling champ said. “But we’ll regroup. We’re going to work in the off-season.”