Orange Park, FL

Fleming Island opens season with blowout win over rival Clay High

Tony Salazar

The Fleming Island Golden Eagles football team traveled to Green Cove Springs Friday night and dominated the Clay High Blue Devils in the opening game of the season, 49-7.
Final score, 49-7Photo taken by Anthony Salazar

After a brief 15-minute weather delay due to lightning, Clay High held its own for the first half of the first quarter. However, the speed, strength and experience of the Fleming Island roster were too much for a young Clay High team who lost many of their experienced players to graduation or transfer.

Despite the final score being one-sided, Fleming Island started the game sloppy. Fleming Island recorded numerous penalties in the opening minutes of the first quarter. On Fleming Island’s first drive on offense, they had to punt on a fourth down and had a bad snap that resulted in the Blue Devils having the ball at the goal line.

After the botched snap, Fleming Island’s defense led by Abram Wright held Clay High to a three-and-out and blocked the field goal attempt. Fleming Island’s offense rebounded quickly with an 85-yard pass by quarterback Cibastian Broughton to Brenden Cook for the first score of the game.

Fleming Island’s defense forced a three-and-out and gave the ball back to their offense, where FSU commit Sam Singleton scored a 30-yard rushing touchdown on his first carry of the regular season.

Fleming Island replicated the same result of the previous drives on offense and defense. The defense forced another three-and-out and gave the ball back to the offense where Singleton scored another rushing touchdown. This time for 42 yards. Fleming Island scored 21 points in the first quarter of the game.

The Fleming Island offense continued to gain momentum in the second quarter. Broughton scrambled for a 40-yard touchdown after getting sacked on the previous play and running back Tayshaun Smith scored a two-yard touchdown on the next drive. By the end of the half, Fleming Island led 35-0.

After the half, Fleming Island scored two more times with touchdowns from Musthafa Marshall and Tyler Beverly. Clay High struggled on offense throughout the game, scoring their only touchdown on a pass by Merrick Rapoza to Payton Dykas in the corner of the endzone.

Despite the outcome of the game already apparent by the first half, the Clay High fans stayed through the nasty weather from start to finish, sitting in the stands to cheer for their players until the final whistle. Right at kickoff, Clay High's student section, The Clay Crazies, continued the tradition of throwing baby powder up in the air at kickoff to symbolize football is back in the county.

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I am a graduate of the University of North Florida with a major in communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in sports management.

Green Cove Springs, FL

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