BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Solid defense and opportunistic offense lifted Mainland past Miami Norland 21-12 in the Regional quarterfinals at Municipal on November 10.
“We just focused on opponent X. Our defensive front did a good job. Credit goes to the players and coaches. We fought hard and played together, and I am proud of them, “said Mainland Coach Scott Wilson.
Norland coach, Daryle Heidelburg stated, “We just made too many mistakes. We didn’t capitalize on our scoring opportunities, especially early in the game which came back to hurt us. The penalties also hurt.”
‘A great feeling’
Demaurez Bellamy ran for two touchdowns for the Buccaneers; he also made plays on defense.
“It’s a great feeling, but I can’t stay in the moment. We got to get back to work and ready for the next game,” said Bellamy.
Scott added, “Demaurez is a mad man. He does it on both sides of the ball and he works hard to do so.”
Mainland finally beat a Miami team in the playoffs.
The Buccaneers lost to Carol City (2016 Regional semifinals) and Central (2013 semifinals, 2014 Regional final, 2015 Regional semifinal).
Norland (6-4) led 6-0 in the first quarter on two field goals by Kevon O’Conner despite a nearly nine-minute opening drive and Mainland fumbling on its first possession.
Mainland (7-3) took the lead for good at 7-6 after a 55-yard touchdown pass from Richard Kamara to Tank Dell.
Bellamy’s touchdown runs put Mainland up 14-6 in the second quarter and 21-12 in the fourth quarter.
Alec Carr’s touchdown run cut the led to 14-12 in the third period, but the Vikings two-point attempt was intercepted by Mainland’s Andrew Plummer.
The Vikings committed 21 penalties for 176 yards.
A penalty negated a touchdown run in the third fourth quarter and long kickoff return on the Vikings final possession, which resulted in a failed fourth down attempt.
Another promising drive for Norland ended with an interception by Mainland’s John Huggins at the Bucs’ five-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter.
Some top players
Kamara threw for 145 yards with a score and DeAndre McMillan ran for 51 yards for Mainland.
The Bucs’ defense was led by Kevon McCrary, Anthony Graham, James McCloskey, Kamron Lee and company.
Carr threw for 277 yards with a score and Blake Veagis also had a big game receiving for the Vikings.
Carol City next
Mainland will host Miami Carol City in the Regional semifinals on Nov. 17.
The Bucs are the last local team standing after Spruce Creek, Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas each fell in the first round.
Winter Park-42, Spruce Creek-14; Orlando Boone-28, Flagler Palm Coast-13; Miami Northwestern-33, Matanzas-0; Bowl Game score: Satellite Beach-39, Father Lopez-24.
Miami Carol City (6-3) at Mainland (7-3): These teams met in the Regional finals last season with the Carol City Chiefs winning 34-7 and going on to win the Class 6A state title.
The Chiefs present the Bucs with a tougher challenge. Both teams beat Miami Norland as a common opponent. Mainland has a tall task but they can win if they avoid mistakes, capitalize on their opportunities and run the ball better.
Prep Sports Seven football rankings
1. *Flagler Palm Coast (9-1), 2. #Spruce Creek (8-2), 3.* Mainland (7-3), 4. #Matanzas (6-4), 5. University (5-4), 6. Taylor (7-3), 7. Father Lopez (6-4).
*-denotes district champ and automatic playoff spot #-denotes at-large/wildcard for playoffs.