Orange Park, FL

Oakleaf upsets Fleming Island Golden Eagles, 26-20

Tony Salazar

The Oakleaf Knights traveled to Fleming Island Friday night and upset the Golden Eagles, 26-20.

Oakleaf was 2-1, and Fleming Island was 3-0 heading into their matchup. Oakleaf put this game out of reach because they forced three interceptions and a forced fumble.

Before the game, Fleming Island took time to honor Big Ben Johnson, a Fleming Island football player who passed away five years ago this week. Fleming Island’s student section, the Soaring Eagles, wore blue to honor Johnson. The PA announcer said, “fly high number 78. We love you.”

Oakleaf possessed the ball first in the game. They immediately moved the ball down the field. Quarterback Drew Ammon found his receiver for a huge gain that put them in Fleming Island territory. They were able to convert on a fourth down and found the endzone with running back Devin Outlaw.

Fleming Island also made a big play on their first drive. Quarterback Cibastian Broughton scrambled for a huge gain to Oakleaf’s 25-yard line on their first play of the night. However, they failed to convert a fourth down, turning the ball over on downs deep in Oakleaf’s territory.

Oakleaf was not able to score points after forcing the turnover on downs. However, their defense gave them a short field after Oakleaf linebacker Jaiden Hicks recovered Sam Singleton's fumble deep in Fleming Island territory. Oakleaf was able to score off the turnover with Ammon scrambling to his right to find Carlos Witherup for a touchdown. Oakleaf missed the extra point, leaving the score at 13-0 after the first quarter.

On Fleming Island’s next offensive possession, they started to drive down the field with multiple big runs. Fleming’s offense stalled once they got into the red zone. Fleming intended to kick a field goal at the 10-yard line but an offsides penalty from Oakleaf gave Fleming Island a fourth and short. Fleming sent their offense back out on the field. They gave the ball to Singleton, but he was stuffed by safety Drake Stubbs on a tackle for loss, giving the ball back to the Oakleaf offense.

Fleming was finally able to get points on offense with three minutes left in the second quarter with a Broughton touchdown pass to tight end Dakota Rowe.

Oakleaf scored almost immediately with a 70-plus yard touchdown pass to Witherup who was wide open in the middle of the field. The half ended with a score of 20-7.
Photo taken by Anthony Salazar

Fleming Island started the second half and immediately turned the ball over. Broughton threw a pick-six to defensive back Taylor Bradshaw. Oakleaf attempted to go for two but was unsuccessful.

On the kickoff after the turnover, the Fleming Island return man bobbled the kickoff out of bounds by the Fleming Island seven-yard line. Fleming was able to recover from the special teams’ mistake, driving down the field via the air and ground game where Broughton was able to scramble for a seven-yard touchdown run.

Oakleaf got the ball back and tried to establish the run. They had a huge run that was called back for a holding call which forced them to pass the ball. Fleming Island linebacker Abram Wright was able to intercept the ball at midfield. Oakleaf’s defense stepped up once again as safety Jordan Nesby intercepted Broughton right as the third quarter came to a close. Score 26-14.

Fleming threw another interception to Bradshaw deep in Fleming Island territory. Fleming held Oakleaf’s offense to a punt and replaced Broughton with quarterback Carson Stewart in the final minutes of the game. He was able to score on his first and only drive on offense, finding Darion Domineck in the back of the endzone. They missed the extra point, 26-20.

Fleming Island attempted an onside kick that was unsuccessful. Oakleaf was able to bleed the clock and end the game with a final score of 26-20
Photo taken by Anthony Salazar
Photo taken by Anthony Salazar

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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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