FLEMING ISLAND - Cibastian Broughton’s 38 yard touchdown pass to Darion Domineck with 20 seconds remaining lifted Fleming Island to one of the most improbable comeback victories in school history, …
FLEMING ISLAND - Cibastian Broughton’s 38 yard touchdown pass to Darion Domineck with 20 seconds remaining lifted Fleming Island to one of the most improbable comeback victories in school history, a 35-28 decision over visiting Jacksonville Mandarin on October 14.
“This one is up at the top,” Fleming Island head coach Damenyum Springs said, when asked where the game ranked, as far as excitement, in his coaching career. “Just to see the guys’ energy on the sideline and after the game was something.”
Trailing 28-27 against Mandarin, the Golden Eagles began their final possession 99 yards away from the end zone with 1:04 remaining and two time outs left. Broughton connected with Domineck for nine yards on the first play, but after downing the ball on second down and running out of bounds for a two yard loss on third down, Fleming Island faced fourth and three from the eight yard line with 40 seconds left. Broughton dropped back and threw a long spiral intended for wideout Trace Burney up the right sideline. Burney, running stride for stride with Mandarin cornerback Antoine Belgrave-Shorter, timed his jump perfectly and caught the ball above Belgrave-Shorter for a 56 yard gain. On the next play, Domineck ran down the same sideline, Broughton lofted a second prayer, and the 6’4” senior jumped and wrestled the ball away from the Mustangs’ Jonathon Mitchell in the end zone to put Fleming Island ahead 33-28 as the home crowd exploded.
“Burney and Domineck both high-pointed the ball and outfought them,” said Springs. “Those were two of the best balls Cibastian has thrown in a while. He dropped them down like a teardrop.”
After the touchdown Fleming Island attempted a two-point conversion, but was forced to do so from the 18 yard line due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Broughton again turned to Domineck, dropping a fade route into his arms, again against tight coverage by Mitchell, providing the seven-point cushion.
The five play, 99 yard drive, which was only possible because Fleming Island stopped the Mustangs on fourth and goal from inside the two yard line to hold their deficit to a single point and get the ball back, took just 44 seconds.
Springs was especially happy for Domineck, who has had to overcome a serious knee injury suffered last year.
“He has been hungry for it, but we have not been able to deliver the ball to him like we have wanted to,” he said. “He has got the height and the athletic ability, and he’s back.”
The final minute reversed the Golden Eagles’ fortunes in a game that had unraveled over the previous seven minutes. First, an extra point try by freshman kicker Parker Sirdevan, who had nailed his first three conversions, ricocheted off of the crossbar following Sam Singleton’s leap over the pile from one yard out gave Fleming Island a 27-21 lead with 7:58 remaining.
Then Mandarin marched 67 yards in five plays on the ensuing possession to take their first lead of the game. Mustangs sophomore quarterback Tramell Jones hit senior receiver Kieren Jackson for a 33 yard score to cap the drive. Jackson snared a quick slant pass, turned on his afterburners and sped past the middle of the Golden Eagles secondary. Ben Hipp’s extra point put the Mustangs ahead 28-27 with 6:13 left.
A nice return by Kaylib Singleton allowed Fleming Island to start the next drive at the Mandarin 48 yard line. But after three plays and an illegal procedure penalty against them, the Golden Eagles faced a fourth down with nine yards to go for the first down. Springs called for a fake punt, and the snap went to up man Jhace Edward, who ran right but was swarmed under by a host of Mustangs after a five yard gain, turning the ball over to Mandarin with just 3:58 remaining.
“I felt like our offense was out of sync, and I believe in Jhace,” said Springs. “It was my call and I will live with it.”
Mandarin took over and again moved down the field crisply, milking the clock in the process. Tiant Wyche swept up the left sideline for 24 yards to give the Mustangs a first down inside the Fleming Island 10. But Fleming Island’s Walker Whiddon and Abram Wright combined for a sack of Jones on third down. On fourth down from the 17 yard line, Jones threw a pass in the flat to Wyche, who gained 14 yards before being tackled at the 3. A facemasking penalty against Fleming Island on the play gave Mandarin an extra down from inside the two yard line. On the that play, Wyche ran right but was stopped inches from the goal line by Edward and safety David Smith, giving the ball back to the Golden Eagles and setting up the final minute’s heroics.
“I was going to take Jhace out [of the game] because he was limping,” said Springs. “But he said, ‘I am all right, just watch,’ so I let him stay in.”
The final 20 seconds provided further drama. Mandarin’s Tiant Wyche returned the kickoff to the Mandarin 33 yard line. From there, Jones found William Griego on an out route for 18 yards, moving the ball past midfield and giving the Mustangs a decent chance at a pass to the end zone with 0:10 remaining. Pressured by Dehmir Jackson coming up the middle, Jones rolled to his right. While Jones wound up to throw a deep ball, Edward crashed into him from behind for a thunderous sack as the clock ran out.
While Broughton, Domineck, Burney, Edward and Smith starred in the final moments, Sam Singleton was the star of the game. The Fleming Island running back shredded the Mustangs for 242 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 18 carries and added 49 receiving yards. Singleton had 176 of his rushing yards in the first half, setting the tone with a 46 yard burst up the middle on the game’s first play. The senior, who is committed to Florida State, staked Fleming Island to a 7-0 lead with a seven yard run late in the first quarter, lunging over the goal line after being hit at the line of scrimmage. Singleton’s put his sprinter’s speed on display in the second quarter, bursting through a gap in the center of the line and sprinting through the secondary before the Mandarin safeties could close on him on the way to an 84 yard touchdown run that increased Fleming Island’s lead to 14-0.
“It is great to have him because Sam can change the game at any time,” said Springs. “And on that one score he pushed the pile into the end zone.”
Broughton, who completed nine of 13 throws for 228 yards, showed his own quickness on a 70 yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that put Fleming Island ahead 21-14 after the Mustangs had tied the game on a four yard pass from Jones to Jaime French.
The Fleming Island defense did not exactly shut down the high-powered Mandarin offense, but made enough big plays to keep the Mustangs from lighting up the scoreboard in the first three quarters. Kaylib Singleton came in off the edge to block a field goal attempt on the first Mandarin possession. With the score tied at 14 in the third quarter, cornerback Devante Lewis intercepted Jones on a drive that had reached the Fleming Island 36 yard line. The turnover led to Broughton’s touchdown run.
The Golden Eagles outgained the Mustangs 576-419 as they improved to 4-2. Fleming Island hosts Creekside in a District 3-4S matchup on October 28.
Jones completed 24 of 37 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns for Mandarin, while Wyche rushed for 138 yards and a score on 22 carries. The Mustangs, now 4-3, have a bye next week before hosting Jacksonville Sandalwood October 27 in a game that will determine the District 1-4M championshi
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