By ANDREAS BUTLER
Marcus Johnson’s 31- yard touchdown pass to Dexter Dixon with 14.8 seconds remaining lifted New Smyrna Beach to a 23-21 win over Mainland in a key district 9-6A matchup at the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex this past week.
“I saw that we had one-on-one coverage. I had faith in the receiver, Dexter who made a good play,” responded Johnson.
The pass was deflected by Mainland’s Meiko Dotson but went right to Dixon.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. The defender made a good play but the ball came right to me. I knew that I had to make a play with time running out,” answered Dixon.
Mainland (2-3, 0-1) took a 21-17 lead with 1:50 left when Cameron Hadley found Chris Anthony who caught a tipped passed and ended up with a 38 yard touchdown.
“I can’t fault our kids. We fought really hard. New Smyrna deserves a lot of credit,” said Mainland Head coach, Scott Wilson.
The win wasn’t sealed until New Smyrna’s Dwayne Wood intercepted Hadley in the final seconds.
“I’m proud of the kids. They have been working hard. It’s a huge win not only for our kids but for the city of New Smyrna Beach,” responded New Smyrna Head coach, Lance Jenkins.
The game was a tale of two halves as NSB dominated the first half.
They led 17-0 behind touchdown runs from Johnson and D’Cota Dixon and field goal from Josh Smith.
“We were just clicking and executing well in the first half,” said Jenkins.
New Smyrna (5-0, 2-0) scored 10 points off three Mainland turnovers in the half.
Mainland had four turnovers in the game while New Smyrna had three.
The Buccaneers put on a fierce second half rally fueled by Hadley.
“We grew up a little bit as a team. In the first half we had too many mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot. In the second, we made some adjustments and fought back,” added Wilson.
Hadley finished with 158 total yards (95 rushing) with a rushing touchdown and two passing scores for the ‘Bucs.
Johnson finished with 232 passing yards, James Clark had five catches for 101 yards and Diamonte Mitchell had 113 total yards (66 rushing) for the ‘Cudas.
Note: Top Game of the year nominee.
Alex Bell’s touchdown run in overtime lifted Atlantic past Eustis 26-20 in overtime in a key district 7-5A contest. Bell and Chris ‘CJ’ Jones ran for two scores each for the Sharks.
Eric Hernandez had a 62 yard run and 65 yard punt return while Josh Cason ran for 104 yards with two touchdowns to lift Pine Ridge to a 26-6 win over cross town rival Deltona in a district 9-6A game. The Panthers got their first win of the season and first district win. Mark Stanford threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Evan Hinson for Deltona.
Marcus Dixon ran for 215 yards with four touchdowns to lead Warner Christian Academy to a 47-25 win over Deltona Trinity Christian Academy in a key district 3-2A match up. Marquion Lane threw for 248 yards with two scores and Julian Delgado had nine catches for 210 yards with two scores for Trinity.
Some of this week’s top games
Mainland (2-3) at Palm Bay (3-2)
The Buccaneers hit the road to face a tough Palm Bay squad. Mainland needs to get its offense going early and limit turnovers.
Seabreeze (4-2) at Palm Bay Bayside (2-3)
The Sandcrabs travel to face a tough opponent in Bayside. Can they stay explosive of offense? Play well enough defensively?
Crystal River (4-1) at Warner (5-1)
The Eagles return home against a worthy opponent. This could be a good one. This may also be the best game in town.
New Smyrna (5-0) at Titusville (2-3)
The Barracudas hit the road to face the Terriers. They should be focused enough to remain unbeaten.
St Augustine Mendez (2-3) at Atlantic (4-1)
The Sharks have a good non-district game at home. Atlantic should be able to put itself in position for a win.
Prep Sports Seven Football
1. New Smyrna (5-0), 2. Warner (5-1), 3. Atlantic (4-1), 4. Flagler Palm Coast (4-2), 5. Seabreeze (4-2), 6. University (3-2), 7. Taylor (4-2).
Previous: 1. New Smyrna, 2. Warner, 3.Atlantic, 4 Mainland, 5. University, 6. Flagler Palm Coast, tie 7. Trinity and Seabreeze.