Flagler Palm Coast cites tough practices, resilience, sticking together for win over Spruce Creek
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
An opportunistic defense and timely running game helped Flagler Palm Coast (FPC) takedown Spruce Creek 41-20 at Pop Johnson Field on the campus of Spruce Creek High in Port Orange on Sept. 13.
It was the district 8A-2 opener for both teams. Now the Bulldogs currently control their own destiny in the quest for the district title and automatic playoff berth while the Spruce Creek Hawks would need some help to do the same.
The Bulldogs found a way to win a game where much didn’t go their way, especially early.
“This is a resilient group. We give it to them in practice. We practice hard. We had a tough week of practice and were able to finish tonight. We’re not frontrunners,’’ said Travis Roland, Flagler Palm Coast’s head coach.
“We knew they would come after us. We know what type of team we have. We left points on the board and made a lot of mistakes.’’
‘We stuck together’
Marc Genis ran for 121 yards with three touchdowns all in the second half for FPC.
“We’re like a family. We stuck together. We fight through adversity every day. My success was credited to the offensive line,” responded Genis.
Roland added, “We have four running backs that can start. We are going to use them all. Anyone of them can carry the load.”
Altarik Lumpkins also had two fumble return scores for the Bulldogs.
FPC (3-0, 1-0) dominated the second half, outscoring the Hawks 27-0 and bottled up star running back, Marvin Scott.
Fumbles for Hawks
Spruce Creek (1-1, 0-1) were the victims of their own mistakes.
The Hawks turned the ball over five times, two of those were fumbles that resulted in scores for the other team after the ball was snapped over the quarterback’s head.
Another fumble occurred at the one-yard line, which thwarted another scoring drive.
They also missed a field goal and had an extra point blocked.
“We had five turnovers and on two of them we snapped the ball over the quarterbacks head. We also did a poor job of blocking in the second half. You can’t win like that,” said Andy Price, Spruce Creek’s head coach.
Genis’ 10-yard score with 22.8 seconds left in the third quarter gave Flagler Palm Coast its first lead at 21-20.
Spruce Creek led 14-0 after Scott’s one-yard score with 9:50 left in the second quarter.
Price noted, “We started out well. We just made too many mistakes. No excuses.”
Lumpkin scooped up a fumble after the snap went over the quarterback’s head to tie the game at 14 with 4:41 left in the second period.
Cyncere Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown to put the Hawks back on top 20-14 with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter. The lead stood at halftime.
Scott finished with 172 yards rushing and a score for the Hawks. He had more than 100 in the first half.
Kevin Minckler also caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Nick Christiano for Spruce Creek.
FPC’s Preston Roberts filled in at quarterback for Donovon Montoya, who left the game with an injury in the second quarter.
Roberts threw for 122 yards with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyrique Graham.
Defensively, Camari Nelson stood out for Spruce Creek. He also blocked a punt.
Malakai Grant had a standout game for FPC on the defensive end. He also recorded a sack and an interception.
FPC hosts Neptune Beach Fletcher while Spruce Creek will host New Smyrna Beach on Friday, Sept. 20.
This week’s top games
New Smyrna Beach (2 -1) at Spruce Creek (1-1): Both teams have talent but some depth issues in some areas. Expect another big game atmosphere. The Cudas have played some tough small schools, now playing a tough big one. The Hawks have held their own against big programs.
Mainland (1-1) at Sanford Seminole (3-0): Bucs face the talented and tough Seminoles on the road; nonetheless, the game should be competitive.
Deltona (0-3) at DeLand (1-1): This west side of Volusia County rivalry should motivate the Wolves. The talented and deep Bulldogs look to get back in the win column.
Winter Springs (1-2) at Seabreeze (2-2): The Sandcrabs played two games last week going 1-1. They have more wins than last season and a shot at going over .500. The game should be competitive.
Atlantic (3-0) at Matanzas (1-2): The Sharks are rolling but can’t overlook the Pirates on the road. This could be another competitive matchup.
Prep Sports Seven Preseason Rankings
1. Flagler Palm Coast (3-0), 2. DeLand (1-1), 3. Mainland (1-1), 4. Spruce Creek (1-1), 5. Atlantic (3-0), 6. University (3-0), 7. New Smyrna Beach (2-1). Others: Father Lopez (2-1).