Knights skewer Eagles to seize control of District 3-7A

By Mike Zima
Posted 10/3/18

FLEMING ISLAND – Oakleaf High senior running back Keshawn King and wideout Sean Washington accounted for 421 total yards and six touchdowns as Oakleaf stamped itself as the District 3-7A favorite …

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Knights skewer Eagles to seize control of District 3-7A

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Oakleaf High senior running back Keshawn King and wideout Sean Washington accounted for 421 total yards and six touchdowns as Oakleaf stamped itself as the District 3-7A favorite while cruising past host Fleming Island 48-29 on Fri., Sept. 29.

King, a Virginia Tech commitment, ran for 219 yards on 19 carries. He scored three touchdowns in the first quarter to get the Knights off to a hot start, then wrapped a bow around the win with a 75 yard scoring dash with 3:20 remaining.

“Keshawn is fast, quick, has power and a jump cut,” said Oakleaf head coach Frank Garis. “He’s a special, special talent.”

King’s totals were even more remarkable given that the Golden Eagles’ plan entering the game was to bottle him up with extra defenders near the line of scrimmage, and to make Walter Simmons, III, the Knights’ sophomore quarterback, beat them through the air.

The Golden Eagles’ devotion to the line of scrimmage left Washington in single coverage, and the junior teamed up with Simmons to take advantage. No Golden Eagle could match up with Washington, who hauled in nine passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, blowing by defenders on deep routes and faking them out to turn short routes into big gains. He made his man miss on a swing pass that he turned into a 21 yard score.

“Sean runs great routes and moves the chains, getting first downs when you think there is nothing there,” said Garis.

Simmons connected on eight of his first nine passes on his way to a 295 yard night, finishing 16 of 28, as the Knights offense overwhelmed the hosts. By the end of the first quarter, Oakleaf had 279 yards of total offense and led 21-0. Washington had both of his touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Knights a 34-6 halftime lead. Had the Golden Eagles not won the turnover battle 3-1— defensive backs Courtney Williams and Darius Harris intercepted Simmons and Williams recovered a Simmons fumble in the end zone after Simmons had run 78 yards on the game’s first play— Oakleaf might have matched the 63-point blitz they smeared Bartram Trail with on September 14.

The Fleming game plan was actually effective in limiting King, who had only five net yards on his first four carries. But on his sixth carry, he burst through a hole on the left side and outran the secondary 80 yards to the end zone, putting Oakleaf up 14-0. Taking away the 80 yard jaunt and the 75 yard gallop, King was held to 64 yards on 17 rushes, less than four yards per carry. But the big plays crushed the Golden Eagles.

If Fleming Island was going to keep the game close, they needed to fire on all four offensive cylinders themselves, and on this night they committed a slew of costly mistakes. There were six dropped passes in the first half, two of which would have resulted in touchdowns. Avery Coussens missed a 32 yard field goal that would have given the Golden Eagles an early lead. A shotgun snap from the Oakleaf 32 yard line went over the head of Fleming quarterback Dean Hyams, resulting in an 18 yard loss that killed a drive. In what was likely the turning point, Golden Eagles’ defensive tackle Glenn Rodgers roughed Oakleaf punter Tyler Laberis, allowing the Knights to maintain possession of the ball with a new set of downs at the Fleming Island 42 yard line. On the next play, Washington took a quick hitch from Simmons and turned it into a 32 yard gain. Two plays later, King scored from five yards out to give the Knights an insurmountable 20-0 lead. With the way the Oakleaf offense was playing, there would be no catching them.

In the second half, a Laberis punt hit the back side of the Golden Eagles’ Landon Perry in the back and was recovered by Oakleaf’s Donovan Thomas at the Golden Eagles 32. Fleming Island was penalized eight times for 93 yards.

“I thought we had a great game plan,” said Fleming Island head coach Damenyum Springs. “We just did not execute it well at all.”

The Golden Eagles had their moments. Aaron “Azie” Ramirez ran for 117 yards and two scores, including a 45 yard touchdown run that got the Golden Eagles on the board in the second quarter. Max Michaels scored two touchdowns, one on a two yard plunge and one on a screen pass that he took 45 yards on a fourth down. Fleming Island drew within 34-21 by outscoring Oakleaf 15-0 in the third quarter, but their comeback hopes were squashed by Damaric Bonner’s 20 yard touchdown run with 10:27 remaining that pushed the Knights’ lead back to three scores.

The Knights, 4-1 overall and 2-0 in district play, have only Gainesville Buchholz and Creekside standing between them and an outright district title. But before Oakleaf can concern itself with their remaining district foes, they face mighty challenges in the next two weeks. Oakleaf hosts Trinity Christian, the defending Florida Class 5A champion, on Thursday, October 4, and travels to Jacksonville Raines, the defending Class 4A champ, on October 12.

Hyams threw for 280 yards for Fleming Island, now 3-3 overall and 0-2 in District 3-7A. The Golden Eagles have a bye week before returning to action at Bartram Trail on October 12.

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