High school game of the week: DeLand holds off Mainland

DeLand
Mainland and DeLand square off for a classic prep football season opener. The Bulldogs edged the Buccaneers 21-18.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Alec Merchard intercepted Taron Keith in the end zone as time expired and DeLand survived Mainland for a dramatic 2118 win at Daytona Stadium last week. 

Mainland was in position for a 47-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining but a penalty cost the team five yards. 

“Our kicker can make that distance, but we wanted to do a quick play and add a few extra yards. We felt we had the right play but the penalty cost us,” said Mainland Head Coach Scott Wilson. 

DeLand (1-0) made big plays on both side of the ball. The Bulldogs also made the Buccaneers pay for their mistakes. 

“It’s a lot of things that took place, but we were able to preserve. We survived. I’m proud of our kids and coaches. We picked our poison with Keith. You can rush him or contain him in the pocket; he can throw or run on you. We did a good job,” stated DeLand Head Coach Steve Allen. 

DeLand
PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Mainland’s Teron Keith (4) hands the ball off to Nathan Braswell (2) during the game against DeLand.

Key turnovers 

The Buccaneers had three turnovers in the game, including two that negated possible scores. They fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter and at the two-yard line in the third. 

The Buccaneers had three turnovers in the game, including two that negated possible scores. They fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter and at the two-yard line in the third. 

Still, Mainland had a chance to rally from an 18-point deficit.

Scott noted, “I’m proud of our guys; they could have hung their heads but they didn’t quit. They continued to fight.” 

Exciting to the end 

Keyonte Alexander’s four-yard touchdown run put DeLand up 21-3 with 1:51 to play in the third period. 

Mainland (0-1) responded with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Keith to T.J. Lockley with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter. 

Keith’s eight-yard score made it 21-18 with 3:09 remaining. The two-point attempt was good. 

DeLand jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter behind a pair of touchdown passes from Jayden Nirchl to Cameron Miller.

DeLand’s Avantae Williams left the game due to injury early in the first quarter. 

This week’s top games

Matanzas (0-1) at Seabreeze (0-1): Just feeling like this game should be competitive. 

Father Lopez (1-0) at Titusville (1-0): The Green Wave go for a win on the road against a larger school. 

Tampa Bay Christian (0-0) at New Smyrna Beach (0-1): New Smyrna tries to rebound against another tough small school. 

Mainland (0-1) at Columbus, Ohio Bishop Sycamore (1-0): The Buccaneers travel a long way to play in the Freedom Bowl. Execution and blocking out distractions are key. 

Prep Sports Seven Preseason Rankings 

1. DeLand (1-0) 2. Flagler Palm Coast (1-0), 3. Spruce Creek (1-0), 4. Mainland (0-1), 5. New Smyrna (0-1) 6. Father Lopez (1-0), 7. Atlantic (1-0). 

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