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Fleming Island, Ridgeview advance; Clay out

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 4/27/23

JACKSONVILLE - Clay High girls flag football played probably their best game of the season against one of the two best teams in the area; unbeaten Fleming Island being one and Ed White, the other, …

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Fleming Island, Ridgeview advance; Clay out


Posted

JACKSONVILLE - Clay High girls flag football played probably their best game of the season against one of the two best teams in the area; unbeaten Fleming Island being one and Ed White, the other, but fell short, 14-13, against the 17-1 Lady Commanders in their district championship game on Thursday.

“A couple of plays and a couple of penalties were costly to us today,” said Clay coach Jared Moses, who was awaiting FHSAA rankings after the game to see if his Blue Devils would end their season or continued into region playoffs; see insert. “Against a team like this, lots of speed and athleticism, we could not afford to make the mistakes we made.”

In the playoff final rankings, Clay finished outside the top eight of the region with Ridgeview advancing as the seventh seed and FSU High as the eighth seed in Class 1A and Fleming Island staying unbeaten to advance and host a playoff game on Wed., April 26 against Sandalwood. Ridgeview will travel to No. 2 seed Choctawhatchee also on Wednesday.

Ironically, Clay beat Sandalwood in March, but lost to Ridgeview two days later. Clay then beat Ridgeview in the district semifinal to get to the final against Ed White. Clay lost 26-0 to Fleming Island in regular season play in April then ran a three-game win streak with a barrage of points; 32-0 over Orange Park, 33-0 over Westside and 20-12 over Ridgeview. Ed White, also ironically, lost 32-0 to Fleming Island.

“We were getting our groove at the season’s end and I think this game proved we could play against the best teams in the area,” said Moses.

Against Ed White, Clay held a 13-7 halftime lead and had a sterling defensive effort from freshman Cora Parker to stifle two Commander drives. Parker also had a spectacular offensive pass catch in the first half that led to a Clay score.

Fleming Island, 11-0 and ranked fifth statewide and fourth in Class 1A behind Alonso (Tampa) 18-0, Western 13-2 and Lennard High (Ruskin) 15-3, advances into the region playoffs as the top seed with a 20-7 district championship win over Fletcher. The title was a fourth in the row for coach Clinton Lyons and seven titles in the past eight years. Fleming Island lost in the Class 2A Final Four to eventual champion Western 34-13 last year. Western beat Newsome 34-14 in the championship game. Alonso lost in their region 2 final to Newsome last year. Leonard lost in their region opener 29-28 last year to Hillsborough.

“I think this team has a lot more skill players on the field then we have ever had,” said Lyons. “Maddox is our first scholarship signing athlete and London Jenkins, from the basketball team, has been a big boost to both sides of the ball with her athleticism.”

Fleming Island won their semifinal over Mandarin, 32-6, off a five touchdown performance; three by run, two by air, of quarterback Mykayla Maddox who finished with 169 yards passing and 62 yards rushing. Fleming Island got two interceptions; from Gabi Musa and Langston, as the Golden Eagles had their first touchdown scored against them all season by Mandarin. Fleming Island has scored 374 points in their unbeaten season.

“Musa has been our enforcer in the middle and can usually chased down anything from sideline to sideline,” said Lyons. “She is also a big part of our offense as a pass and run weapon.”

Against Fletcher, Maddox passed for 164 yards and trwo scores. Defensive back London Jenkins scored on a 70 yard pick six TD with rusher Gabi Musa getting two sacks and two pass break ups.

Maddox had scoring passes of 39 and 31 yards to Jenkins.

The win over Fletcher was the Golden Eagles 28th of 30 for the past two years.

Ridgeview, now 8-3, will face off against Choctowhatchee, 14-2, on Wednesday with the Panthers having a strong enough schedule to offset Clay’s late run. Ridgeview beat St. Augustine 19-0 to get to the Clay semifinal.