BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Atlantic’s Xavier Scott and Demonte Kemp sacked Gateway’s Anthony Gonzalez as time expired to preserve a 27-22 win over Kissimmee Gateway high at Derbyshire Park in Daytona Beach this past week.
“We challenged our kids. That is where all the wind sprints and conditioning come into play. We put our defense in a hole all night. They really stepped up,” said Tim Smith, Atlantic’s head coach.
Playing at Derbyshire also was a first for Atlantic, which normally plays home games at New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex.
“We have a lot of kids that live over here. We are trying to save some money and we are looking for a home field situation. I grew up in this area, and it’s like homecoming for me. We are thinking about playing here again. I was hoping for a good atmosphere. I think it was good and fun,” commented Smith.
Alex Bell was sharp throwing for 191 yards with two scores and Chris Jones had his better game on the defensive end to lead the Sharks.
“C.J. is a warrior and he doesn’t come off the field. He is tough and one of the best players in the area. Alex has come a long way. He has a few things to improve on. We are trying to be balanced but we got out of our game plan a little,” said Smith.
Gateway jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead behind a touchdown run from Isaiah Wharton and Hunter Webber returned a DeAndre Lee kickoff return fumble 29 yards for a score.
Atlantic then settled down and responded with 27 unanswered points.
“Gateway is a good team. We challenged our kids and I think that we just wanted it at the end,” added Smith.
Bell threw across field to find Matt Marcoini who went 35 yards for a touchdown. Later, Bell threw a ball that was tipped to Jordan Yon who ended up going 65 yards for a score to tie the game at 14.
Jones’s one-yard score with 11:11 to play in the third quarter gave the Sharks a lead 20-14 lead, one that they would not relinquish. The score was set up by Lee’s 79-yard kickoff return.
Ian Stevens caught an 81-yard touchdown reception for the Panthers. The ball was tipped to him by an Atlantic defender before he raced to the end zone.
A short punt by the Sharks gave the Panthers the ball one last time at the 37 yard line for one final drive.
Adam Owens added an eight-yard touchdown run for Atlantic.
Kickoff Classic recap
Mainland’s Cameron Hadley threw touchdown passes to Stephen Bostick and Chris Anthony in a 30-13 loss to Altamonte Springs’ Lake Brantley.
Connor Blair threw for 154 yards and two touchdown passes for Seabreeze in a 21-14 loss to St Augustine. Tre Rodriguez ran for 142 yards, Raushoud Floyd had 81 yards receiving with a score and Charles Nelson had a receiving touchdown for the Sandcrabs.
Mike Colubiale had four catches for 37 yards and blocked two extra points for Spruce Creek in a 26-0 loss to Lake Mary. Craig Peludat threw for 66 yards and Collin Olsen ran for 36 yards for the Hawks.
JoJo Kemp ran for 79 yards with a touchdown and Colteen Robinson threw for 118 yards with two scores for DeLand but Sanford Seminole rallied with three straight late scores to win 37-19.
Marcus Johnson threw for 204 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead New Smyrna to a 28-0 win over Merritt Island. Diamonte Mitchell added 59 yards receiving with a rushing touchdown while Terrill Jefferson and Kye Hall each ran for a score for the Barracudas.
Scores: Flagler Palm Coast-76, Deltona-0; Warner-27, Melbourne Holy Trinity-14; Father Lopez-14, Maitland Orangewood Christian-14; Ocoee-24, University-7; Crescent City-46, Calvary-20; Cocoa Space Coast-33, Pine Ridge-0; Trinity-13, Wildwood-6.
This week’s top games
DeLand at Mainland: Two of the area’s best battle it out for early local supremacy. This could be a defensive struggle. The team that finds offensive consistency wins.
Seabreeze at Spruce Creek: Both teams have explosive offenses. Seabreeze has more weapons. This could be a shootout. The team who plays defense wins.
Atlantic at Crescent City: The tough and scrappy Sharks hit the road to face a team that won’t lie down.
Melbourne Holy Trinity at Father Lopez: Lopez is looking to turn things around. They feel like they are better than recent years. A win at home to open the season could set the tone.
Flagler Palm Coast at Matanzas: It is the Battle of Palm Coast and Flagler County. Both teams feel like they have improved from a year to ago.
Prep Sports Seven football preseason
1. Seabreeze, 2. DeLand, 3. Mainland, 4. Warner, 5. Atlantic, 6. New Smyrna, 7. Spruce Creek. Others: Flagler Palm Coast, Matanzas, Trinity.