MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High scored first off a Sam Hardison interception and a pass catch from quarterback Brooke Swenson to Jewel Taylor, but the FAMU High flag football team’s overall size and speed was a bit too much for the Lady Broncos who fell 31-12 in their second region playoff game of a season that saw Middleburg finish at 12-1 on Monday.
“These girls just kept competing at the end,” said Middleburg coach John Stilianou. “That team showed up and played hard and fast. They had some fast girls. They just ran vertical and that quarterback was throwing good passes. We played every defense we had.”
FAMU roared right back in the second quarter with a methodical passing game that found openings in the Bronco defense.
“Every time we changed the defense, they hit someone else,” said Stilianou.
A quick slant into the end zone with 9:07 left in the half tied the game at 6-6.
As the half loomed both teams got interception with Middleburg’s Cheyenne Jenkins snagging one deep in FAMU territory, but FAMU held.
In the third, FAMU jumped a pass attempt from Swenson to Megan Bonsor that went for a score after scoring first off a slant just three plays earlier.
Down 18-6 into the fourth quarter, Middleburg had a near breakaway from Laura Palagyi on an out route to the sideline and a missed flag grab, but Palagyi stepped out of bounds avoided the flag tag. The drive ended with a dropped fourth down pass.
FAMU went right to the air with a 40 yard scoring bomb to go up 24-6 wiht 8:13 on the clock.
Not ready to concede, Bonsor found a seam and Swenson hit the pass for a 60 yard scoring play that jolted the Bronco bench with score at 24-13 with 6:38 to go.
FAMU got one more score; a 30 yard bomb to end the game.
Results from round one playoff games:
No. 19 Navarre 12, No. 17 Orange Park Fleming Island 7
The Raiders, in their first-ever playoff contest in Flag Football, pulled the upset on the host Golden Eagles who have been an annual playoff contender for the last few years. The Raiders scored with not much time left to take the lead and never looked back to win the game and head to next week’s Regional Finals. Raiders move to 13-3 on the season while Fleming Island finishes the season at 10-2.
Fleming Island scored first in their region playoff game against Navarre after Riley Cooper converted a fourth down to a first down at the Navarre 10 yard line. After wide receiver Elizabeth Edwards dove short of the goal line on an outside pass play, Fleming Island went to senior athlete Amelia Sailing for a two yard plunge behind a full house lineup on the line of scrimmage, but Sailing was flagged from behind to force a third down.
From the one, Sailing caught a swing pass from quarterback Mykayla Maddox for six points at 3:51 in the first quarter. Sailing also caught the point after conversion to put Fleming Island up 7-0.
The score stayed at 7-0 with Navarre intercepting a pass to Mackenzie Kirk with 4:41 left in the half at the Fleming Island 20 thwarting a possible scoring drive for the Eagles.
In the third, Navarre scored on a sideline pass, but missed the extra point to keep Fleming Island up 7-6.
Navarre continued to move the ball using quick out passes but Sailing intercepted a pass at the Fleming Island five yard line with 10 minutes left in the game.
Navarre’s gamewinner came with 43 seconds still on the clock and Fleming Island holding precariously to a 7-6 score, but Navarre got an end zone pass to go up 12-7. Navarre attempted a two-point conversion pass to keep Fleming Island from winning on just a score, but the pass went way overhead of it’s target.
With some hope of a last minute winning finish, Fleming Island coach Clint Lyons had two time outs. A dropped pass at midfield saw the balloon burst for the Eagles as Navarre’s defense held for the win.
Tallahassee FAMU DRS 19, No. 12 Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee 13 (OT)
The Baby Rattlers stunned the Indians at home after coming back late in the fourth quarter to tie the game and intercepting a pass in overtime to end the game with the victory. FAMU DRS moves to 10-2 on the season while Choctawhatchee sees their season end at 13-4.
No. 16 Middleburg 26, Jacksonville Andrew Jackson 6
The Broncos dominated the Tigers from start to finish in a battle of first-time playoff teams in Middleburg with dominating performances from Brooke Swenson, Sam Hardison, and Meghan Bonser. Up 19-0 at the half, Bonser added one more with a 45 yard punt return while Jackson scored off a long breakaway to avoid the shutout. Sam Hardison scored twice for the Broncos in the first half. Middleburg remains undefeated, moving to 12-0 while Andrew Jackson ends their season at 9-3.