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Fleming Island holds at 4.4 seconds

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 9/14/22

PONTE VEDRA - With a quarterback set to attend University of Florida on one side and a running back set to travel to Florida State University, the clash between unbeaten Fleming Island and winless …

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Fleming Island holds at 4.4 seconds


PONTE VEDRA - With a quarterback set to attend University of Florida on one side and a running back set to travel to Florida State University, the clash between unbeaten Fleming Island and winless Nease High amidst a rainstorm that left the Nease High School field looking like a swamp (pun), the fireworks of two potentially high-scoring athletes turned into a mud slugfest that was decided in the final 4.4 seconds by a quarterback hurry by sophomore linebacker Dehmir Jackson that allowed the Golden Eagles to steal away a 19-14 win Friday night. Fleming Island’s previous two wins were with scores of 49 and 51 points; wins over Clay and Tallahassee Rickards.
“They had a great game plan and we did not make the adjustments,” said Fleming Island coach Damenyum Springs, now 3-0 with Oakleaf visiting on Friday in yet another potentially high scoring clash for the Golden Eagles. “We played bad, blew a lot of assignments and we just got to play better.”

Oakleaf (2-1) at
Fleming Island (3-0)

In what could be the clash of titans in Clay County, with the two best quarterbacks in the county, the two best running backs in the county, a plethora of line of scrimmage monsters on both sides of the ball, the highlight film may have to be switched to a second roll by the second half if both teams have ironed out early blips in the schematics.
For Oakleaf, quarterback Drew Ammon is a Buffalo Bills Josh Allen like player with some creativity on the run to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers; notably running back Devin Outlaw and wide out Taylor Bradshaw. Outlaw opened with a near-300 yard effort against Orange Park to position his status as ready to go full steam.
For Fleming Island, sophomore Cibastian Broughton at quarterback has showed, especially this week with his blast spark 65 yard scoring sprint to keep the Golden Eagles unbeaten, that he can get the job done with little fanfare. Broughton has the additional firepower of an invigorated Sam Singleton in the backfield who showed some between the tackles toughness against a rugged seven man attack front from Nease. Fleming Island had limited use of running back Musthafa Marshall and wide out Brenden Cook at Nease for whatever reasons, but it those two return to the lineup, that adds to Broughton’s holster of weapons.
Defensively, Joey Couch and Walker Whiddon have been menaces for coach Sean Coultis at Fleming Island with Oakleaf relying on pass steals from Drake Stubbs and tough inside play from Prince Savea and Isaiah Shevchook. The key guys may be on the lines with Oakleaf’s Kyland Armstrong, Krishawn Sanders and Jordan Mitchell a bit bigger than the Fleming Island defensive front four with noseguard Khalil Matthews the big plugger in the middle. That could be a key area for the Knights.
Oakleaf had a snoozer last week, a 35-7 win over Hollis Foundation Academy, a Freelance school so readiness for battle may be a question mark. Fleming Island had to battle to the very end to leave Nease with the win.

For Springs, the highlights against Nease included at quarterback where sophomore Cibastian Broughton held the offense together despite the arduous field conditions and at running back with senior Sam Singleton getting a chance to show off some tough inside running against a rugged defensive front seven and eight while also giving fans a taste of his astounding breakaway capabilities.
“Cibastian came up very big,” said Springs, noting Broughton’s 65 yard scoring blast late in the game. “He sparked it for us at the end. We now expect that he will make the big play for us.”
For Singleton, known for his breakaways, the sledding got mucky and he had to power through to pick up yards before breaking for a 52 yard score and a 50 yard breakaway that an ankle trip toppled him at the Nease 15 yard line.
“He ran tough between the tackles, stepped up to match Nease’s defensive intensity,” said Springs. “They were shooting two linebackers in the gaps as well as having the front four push in and he never backed up.”
Fleming Island looked to make quick work of the quarterback skills of Marcus Stokes, a previous Penn State commit who recently recommited to be a Gator who passed for nearly 3,000 yards last year, but, after Nease kept banging off tackle with power back Sam Milton to a third and five at the Fleming Island 40, cornerback Devante Lewis gave Stokes his first turnover of the night with just three minutes off the clock with his return putting Fleming Island at the Nease 31 yard line.
Fleming Island would Broughton quick kick after a scramble sack to Broughton that gave Nease first down at their own 12.
Nease could generate offense before a punt put Fleming Island at their own 43 to start before a fumbled punt snap by Kaan Jumani put Stokes back on the field at the Fleming Island 45.
With neither team able to move the ball effectively, the first quarter ended 0-0.
Fleming Island would get their first shot in the second quarter at the Golden Eagle 38 with Singleton flexing for 10 to midfield before breaking through the line, a little stutter step in the second level then a swift sprint to paydirt with 11:07 to halftime. Kicker Ben Hollinger made the score 7-0.
“They were blitzing every down and I had to just wait for my move,” said Singleton. “We just kept powering into the line then we broke a couple.”
On the first play after the kickoff, linebacker Tyler Williams scooped up a Milton fumble at the Nease 30 for a Golden Eagle quick restart at 10:56 to halftime.
Neither team could move the ball in the muck with Nease, facing a fourth and 25, missing a 50 yard field goal for a 7-0 halftime score.
At fourth and two near midfield, Broughton wiggled inside the Nease 10 off a scramble to set up a scoring plunge from Singleton from five yards out behind Braden Cunningham and T.J Lawrence at 8:59; score 13-0. Hollinger’s PAT was no good.
Nease answered on second and six at the Fleming Island 10 with Milton barreling to the six before Stokes bounded in with 16 seconds to put the game at 13-6; 13-7 with a PAT kick.
With the fourth quarter start, both teams seemed intent on slugging it through to the end with Broughton looking deep to end Trace Burney, but missing overhead. Singleton rushed and added a facemask to the mix to put Fleming Island at the Nease 25 yard line before Nease linebacker Cade Papineau picked up a fumble on second and 10 to end the scoring threat.
Nease started their drive at at their own 30 with 10:56 to go with Stokes sprinting left for a first down to the Nease 44.
At midfield, Nease punched up a fourth down pitch that Williams and Kaylib Singleton shut down perfectly to give Fleming Island possession at midfield.
With Singleton still in and Brenden Cook, Fleming Island swift wide receiver, making his first appearance, a holding flag pushed the Golden Eagles back to the 36 yard line. A second flag pushed Fleming Island back five more yards; first and 30 at the 29 yard line.
With the massive gap for a first down, Broughton misfired downfield again to Burney.
Broughton then created the gamechanger with a blast down the center of the field to paydirt that drew multiple flags after the score for excessive celebration and gave the Golden Eagles a kickoff from their own five yard line.
“Their linebackers were coming hard and I think bit on the fake,” said Broughton. “They were closing the holes very fast, but, on that one, I got a hole and just ran. “
With the score at 19-7, Nease again answered quickly with the field flip with a first down at the Golden Eagles 43 after the penalty-shortened kickoff.
Stokes got hammered by linebacker Abram Wright on a blitz to create a fourth and 11 for Nease with Panther wideout Maddox Spencer grabbing a first down for Nease on a Stokes pass. Milton would blast left to the end zone for a score at 4:45 to score the game at 19-14.
“He was throwing the ball fast because he knew our rush was coming,” said Wright. “He didn’t have a big throwing game and we were anticipating more passing. We had to adjust to them running the ball more.”
With their kickoff hands team expecting an onsides kick, Fleming Island, Cook recovered a blooped kick to give the Golden Eagles possession.
At third and one at the 34, 3:54 to go, Singleton got hammered on the left side to make a fourth down and one still at the 34 for Fleming Island.
Broughton again, provided the spark with a bounce off a pile at the line of scrimmage that moved outside to get the critical first down.
Singleton popped through a big hole that closed quickly to make a second and nine at the 40 with 2:23 to go.
On the next play, Singleton slid left and made his break into green grass, but got tripped up at the Nease 30.
With no progress creating a fourth and five for Fleming Island, Singleton got hammered behind the line to give Nease the ball with 47 seconds to go at their own 29 yard line.
Stokes found Gmeiner on a sliding slant that had the ball pop up as an incomplete after a lengthy officials discussion.
Stokes misfired on the next long pass attempt before Nease tried the infamous Hook ‘n Ladder, pass and catch play that cornerback David Smith tripped up for a stop.
Now at fourth down, Stokes had 20 seconds left to create a miracle. Stokes hit wide out Gmeiner again this time at the Fleming Island 20 yard line with 4.4 seconds on the clock.
Knowing Stokes would need a pass play to get in the end zone, defensive coordinator Sean Coultis sent his defense after the Panther signalcaller with linebacker Dehmir Jackson breaking into the pocket to make Stokes throw earlier into the end zone; out of bounds.
“Coach gave us the green light to go get him,” said Jackson.