Sandcrabs running back Otis Walker torched the Pirates for three touchdowns on the ground.
In his first three years with the team, Seabreeze middle linebacker Jacob Lyke never experienced a win over Matanzas. That includes last season, where the Pirates — who were outscored 83-3 in their first two games — stomped the Sandcrabs 22-7 in Week 3.
But fueled by an energetic defense and a powerful rushing attack, the Sandcrabs (1-1) captured their first win of the 2019 season with a 26-18 victory over the Pirates (0-2) on the night of Friday, Aug. 30, at Daytona Stadium.
“We finally realized we could win a game,” Lyke said. “Last year, we were just hoping to get a win. Now, we know we can win.”
The Sandcrabs marched the ball down the field on their opening drive, and Avery Randolph punched it in from 11 yards to open up the scoring.
However, the Pirates recorded three sacks and two interceptions in the opening half and were able to capitalize on offense.
Matanzas’ Tristian Williams broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown run with 3:44 to play in the first quarter, and kicker Stephen Usina drilled a 49-yard field goal to give the Pirates a 10-6 lead at halftime.
The Sandcrabs’ first-year head coach, Pat Brown, rallied his team in the locker room.
“It’s all about the mindset,” he said after the game. “They’re not losers. They just lost in the past. You’re only losing when you accept losing. We’re not accepting that here.”
The Sandcrabs’ defensive was aggressive in the second half, forcing multiple three-and-outs. Then, Seabreeze senior running back, Otis Walker, got physical.
Walker, who also had two sacks on defense, scored his first touchdown on a 4-yard run midway through the third quarter. On Seabreeze’s next drive, Walker knifed through the defense for a 46-yard touchdown run.
His third touchdown of the night — from 15 yards out — was the dagger.
“I always play physically,” Walker said. “You can’t play this game without being physical and without going out there and playing with heart.”
After the game, Brown spoke about how invaluable Walker is to the team’s success.
“I’m hard on him because I know what he can do,” he said. “He’s a ball player, and I’m going to push him to his max limit. The sky’s the limit with him.”
The Sandcrabs dominated nearly the entire second half — but gave up a touchdown and the ensuing 2-point conversion with 30 seconds left in regulation. Even after the Sandcrabs recovered Matanzas’ onside kick attempt, Brown was furious with the play.
“They know I hold them to a high standard,” he said of the defense. “So we’re going to talk about those plays. But I love what they came out with.”
The win was the Sandcrabs’ first since Sept. 28, 2019 — a 35-0 victory over Pine Ridge — and the first victory with Brown as the head coach.
“I love my win, but I love it more for my players,” Brown said. “They made the adjustments and they executed. For them it’s a big thing and for us to take that next step as a program.”