Saint Augustine, FL

Clay High Blue Devils lose homecoming game to Falcons

Tony Salazar

The Clay High Blue Devils lost their homecoming game after leading for the first three quarters against the Pedro Menendez Falcons Friday night, 22-18.

The first half of the game was a defensive struggle with only three points scored in the first half. Clay High had a steady drive in the second quarter that got them up 3-0.

Menendez attempted to drive down the field to get some points before the half. However, Clay High’s Payton Dykas intercepted a pass and returned it around midfield with 1:50 left in the second quarter. Menendez was able to force a turnover of their own on the very next play. Menendez outside linebacker Liam Molloy stripped the ball from Clay High quarterback Merrick Rapoza to give Menendez’s offense another shot.

Clay’s defense would force a three-and-out and Menendez punted the ball back to Clay. However, Menendez cornerback Jayy Watson intercepted a pass at the Clay 30-yard-line. Menendez bled the clock down to one second when their kicker missed the field goal.

Coming back from the half, both teams' offenses started getting into a rhythm. Clay High received the ball first where Rapoza threw a quick pass to Dykas who took it all the way for an 80-yard touchdown.

Menendez would score their first points of the game on the very next drive with a quarterback keeper for Carson Blanco.

Clay answered right back with a 50-yard touchdown to Payton Dykas, his second of the night. Clay missed the kick, keeping the score 16-7.

Menendez scored their second touchdown of the night with a rushing score from running back Christian Coleman, ending the third quarter with Clay leading 16-14.

Clay drove down the field but came away with no points due to a missed field goal. Menendez would take a lead for the first time in the game with a 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nate Carr. Menendez would get a two-point conversion. The Clay High offense would need to score a touchdown and make the extra point to take back the lead.

Clay High’s offense got the ball in Menendez territory because of a solid kick return from Dwonya Williams.

With a little over two minutes left to play, Clay attempted to convert a fourth down just outside of field goal range. However, Menendez safety Frankie Morabito intercepted the ball in the end zone.

The Clay High defense did not allow a first down and used all their timeouts to give their offense a chance to score. To take as much time off the clock, Menendez took an intentional safety on fourth down, giving Clay 17 seconds to score with Menendez leading 22-18.

Clay High returned the kick to the Menendez 45-yard line. However, Clay was unable to score as Rapoza was sacked before he could throw a Hail Mary pass to the end zone.
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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