Eagles end Springs era with 52-point win

By Mike Zima Correspondent
Posted 11/9/22

FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island’s Cibastian Broughton threw four touchdown passes as the Golden Eagles pulled away in the second half for a 52-12 romp over visiting Orange Park in the season finale …

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Eagles end Springs era with 52-point win

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island’s Cibastian Broughton threw four touchdown passes as the Golden Eagles pulled away in the second half for a 52-12 romp over visiting Orange Park in the season finale for both teams on November 4.

Broughton completed 12 of 16 passes for 216 yards with no interceptions and ran for 72 yards on seven carries.

“I am very excited for his future,” said Fleming Island head coach Damenyum Springs. “As a sophomore, he already does things that a senior or a college player would do.”

Broughton’s performance was overshadowed by the biggest news of the night: After 18 years as a coach at Fleming Island, seven and a half of them as the head coach, Springs is stepping down. During his tenure, the Golden Eagles went 56-24, had a winning record in each of his full seasons and made it to the regional playoffs four times, with two regional final appearances.

“I have given all I’ve got,” said Springs, who made it clear that it was his choice to leave. “I feel like I am complete.”

Springs had informed his players of his decision the day before the game. After the win, which left Fleming Island with a 5-4 record, the team presented Springs with a game ball that they had signed. At least three players told Springs they loved him during his post-game interview, one with tears in his eyes.

Springs described coaching as a calling.

“My high school coach was like a father to me, and I wanted to be that for others,” he said. “I never cared about the wins and losses.”

Springs is not planning to take another coaching job in the near future, but did not rule out a return to coaching someday. He will remain at Fleming Island as a teacher and will continue to lead the program through spring practice if the school’s administration wants him to do so.

The game was competitive for the first half, but the Golden Eagles outscored Orange Park 33-0 over the final two quarters to turn it into a route.

Two touchdown passes from Broughton to Trace Burney turned the tide for good. First, Broughton connected with his freshman teammate on a deep slant from the Raiders 25 yard line. Burney caught the ball in stride, just behind a lunging Dacarris Jacobs, who had roamed over from his safety position. With Jacobs out of the play, Burney coasted across the goal line to give Fleming Island a 19-12 lead heading into the intermission.

Broughton and Burney teamed up again on the first possession of the third quarter. Broughton surveyed the field, and, not seeing an open receiver over the middle, looked to his left, where Burney had drifted up the sideline from the flat. Burney gathered in Broughton’s throw and sped to the near pylon before the Raiders safeties could cut him off.

The 30 yard score gave the Golden Eagles a commanding 26-12 lead after Ben Hollinger nailed the extra point.

From that point, things only got worse for Orange Park. The Raiders, who had 138 yards of total offense and eight first downs in the first half, mustered only 20 total yards, including minus 23 rushing, over the final two quarters.

Fleming Island’s Tay’Shaun Smith scored on a three yard run on Fleming Island’s first possession after Burney’s score. On the next series, linebacker Jhoel Robinson priedthe ball loose from Orange Park running back Jojo Restall and carried the fumble 14 yards to the end zone to give the hosts’ a 39-12 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Golden Eagles scored twice more in the fourth quarter, both on fourth downs. On a fourth and goal from the 25, Broughton surveyed the field, drifted to his right, and connected with Brenden Cook at the two yard line. Cook shook the grasp of Raiders defensive back Orlando Jackson and high stepped into the end zone. With 4:08 remaining, Fleming’s Musthafa Marshall burst up the middle and outran the safeties 30 yards to the end zone on a fourth and eight yards to go.

Fleming Island was four for four on fourth downs.

“We called the right plays at the right time,” said Springs. “We saw that they did not have two high safeties.”

Orange Park head coach Marcus Wimberly cited mental breakdowns and a lack of depth for the second half collapse.

“They [Fleming Island] are a little more athletic than us anyway, and we were without nine or 10 guys,” he said. “If we were at full strength, it would have been a different game.”

Nolan Chambers scored both Raiders touchdowns in the first half, during which he ran seven times for 56 yards. The senior took a direct snap, faked out Fleming Island cornerback David Smith and cut inside to reach the end zone from three yards out to cap a 60 yard drive in the first quarter, and pulled Orange Park to within 13-12 on a five yard run in the second quarter.

“Chambers brings toughness and speed,” said Wimberly. “He wants it. He is one of the guys that bought into our program, especially midway through the year.”

Fleming Island spent much of the game trying to get its seniors on the stat sheet. After Sam Singleton, an FSU commitment, ran for 65 yards on six carries in the first quarter, fellow seniors Smith and Marshall took over at running back. Senior Ben Hollinger kicked four extra points, and senior wideouts Darion Domineck, Kaan Jumani and Brody Glickman had receptions. Glickman’s was the most improbable.

With a first and goal from the 10 yard line, Broughton had to tip a high shotgun snap to himself, throwing off the timing of what was a designed running play. Broughton took a step forward, then flipped the ball to Brody Glickman, who appeared to be looking for someone to clock in the secondary but was all alone at the two yard line. Glickman cradled the throw and walked across the goal line, opening the scoring with 5:44 left in the first quarter.

“I am very happy to see Brody get a touchdown,” said Springs. “All those guys work hard on the scout team, and to see them get some glory is great.”

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