Taylor starts football season with big win over Halifax

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The Taylor Wildcats ran past the Halifax Academy Knights by a score of 43-6 at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex in the past week. The football game was one of the official season openers in the area.

Halifax and Taylor square off during a game at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
(PHOTOS BY ADRIAN BROWN/HALIFAX ACADEMY)

The Taylor Wildcats’ attack of Vicandi Ward (77 passing yards one TD, 55 rushing yards, one TD), Akevious Williams (117 rushing yards 1 TD) and Jalen Reeves (89 rushing yards, two TDs) was too much for the Knights.

Williams’ 65-yard touchdown gave the Wildcats a 22-0 second quarter advantage.

Halifax’s Clive Vernon looks for running room against Taylor’s defense.

Taylor scored 30 points in the second quarter and led 36-0 at halftime forcing a running clock for the second half.

“I took a time out and got us settled down. We started playing smart football in that second quarter. We had to respect Halifax, which is a much improved team. We started executing and making plays,” commented Taylor Head Coach Antuarn Williams.

‘A wakeup call’
Halifax’s lone score came in the fourth quarter on a four-yard run from Clive Vernon.

Taylor’s Daniel Gemeinhardt (10) shakes off Halifax Academy’s Ronquiese Williams (5).

“We knew coming off the win last week in the Kickoff Classic that we had a false sense of how good we were. This game is a wakeup call for us,” said Halifax Head Coach Shamus Dougherty.

The Knights forced the Wildcats into three fumbles in the first quarter but couldn’t capitalize.

“That was huge in this ball game. We just have to play more aggressive, especially on the offensive line,” remarked Halifax Defensive Coordinator Matt Timmons.

Toure Mack, Khyrie Isaac and Jude Thorne all stood out for Halifax.

Game analysis
Despite the second quarter, the game was close. Halifax not capitalizing on three early Taylor turnovers was huge. The Wildcats’ depth at the skill positions showed and their defensive front gave the Knights offensive line fits.

Halifax Academy’s D.J. Kilgore escapes pressure from the Taylor defense.

Taylor could compete for the postseason. The Knights have skilled players of their own. Halifax is still figuring things out. They can still string together some wins.

Player of the game: Taylor Junior Quarterback Vicandi Ward

What to expect from Taylor the rest of 2017: Williams said, “We will show up, play hard and play disciplined football. When we play, we will show people how much fun we are having. We have depth. We are looking to win and make the playoffs.”

What to expect from Halifax the rest of 2017: Dougherty said, “I think you will see a lot of growth. In a few weeks, this will be a different team. We will be hungry. We are young but still learning. High school is different from Pop Warner. I think we’ll be OK and happy with the results by the end of the year.”

Mainland tops DeLand;
FPC beat Matanzas
Mainland’s defense shut out DeLand on Aug. 25 by a score of 24-0. Jake Novello threw for 101 yards and a score for Mainland. Brian Jenkins had eight catches for 92 yards and D’Marcus Adams three receptions for 88 yards for the Buccaneers. Lemon Campbell threw for 61 yards and Mathew Bailey had seven catches for 49 yards for DeLand.

Head Coach Travis Roland got a day early birthday present and began his era off with a bang as Palm Coast beat cross-town rival Matanzas 35-14 in front of more 5,000-plus fans last Friday. Donovan Montoyo ran for 83 yards with two touchdowns for Flagler Palm Coast (FPC0. The Bulldogs defense held the Pirates under 100 yards.

Other scores
Warner 32, Eagle’s View 16; Trinity 42, Orlando Christian Prep 0; Pine Ridge 41, Father Lopez 11; Lyman 61, Atlantic 0; Spruce Creek 42, Seabreeze 0; New Smyrna 40, Titusville Astronaut 20; Deltona 21, Mt. Dora 14; Dr. Phillips 24, University 21.

This week’s top games
St John’s Bartram Trail (0-1) at Mainland (1-0): A big early test and measuring stick for the Mainland Buccaneers who want to know how close they are to a state title. Mainland has some injuries on the offensive line. Will the Bucs’ defense remain dominant and contain the Bears QB Joey Gatewood? Can Mainland give its quarterback time to find his talented receivers?

Flagler Palm Coast (1-0) at New Smyrna Beach (1-0): Both teams won last week and both expect a fight this week. Both teams get to see how improved they are. Skilled position depth could decide this one just as much as play in the trenches. This could be one of most competitive games this week.

Deltona Trinity (1-0) at Taylor (1-0): An intriguing matchup between small schools. Both teams have skilled players. Who makes the big plays will determine the outcome.

Prep Sports Seven
1. Mainland (1-0), 2. Spruce Creek (1-0), 3. University (0-1), 4. Deltona (1-0), 5. Flagler Palm Coast (1-0), 6. Trinity (1-0) 7. Taylor (1-0).

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