LAKE MINNEOLA - Fleming Island High football, still feeling last week’s punch in the mouth from Clay High, traveled amidst a torrential downpour and some key injuries to high-powered 6A runnerup …
LAKE MINNEOLA - Fleming Island High football, still feeling last week’s punch in the mouth from Clay High, traveled amidst a torrential downpour and some key injuries to high-powered 6A runnerup Lake Minneola (11-2 last year), but head coach Damenyum Springs was thinking the rain would help.
“We were still a little seething from the Clay game and I didn’t want to start a season at 0-2,” said Springs. “That was the theme of this week’s practices. The kids responded.”
Responded with a gut-wrenching, but inspired display of courage and will to upset the defending Class 6A runnerups, a team ranked fourth in Class 6A and a team set to run the point spread of 20-28 points on Fleming Island.
Except, Fleming Island won 6-0.
“Passing was out of the question, running was going to be the deciding factor,” said Springs. “And, defense. Our run defense was strong and the rain was going to help us.”
With running back Sam Singleton scoring the lone touchdown of the night, it was defense that held the day.
“With the guys we lost to injury; Joseph Stephens (Knee), Hunter Williams (Knee) and Rick Joseph (Ankle), we lost our senior leadership on defense,” said Fleming Island defensive coordinator Sean Coultis, who was baptized against Clay in his first foray into southern football hospital after leaving Indiana to join Springs’ staff. “We retooled the defense to have just two calls. Let the kids just play.”
Coultis utilized a little college tweaking to put Lake Minneola in a quandry of play selection by filling the inner line of scrimmage with beef and chasing the quarterback as many times as he thought he wanted to pass.
“Then pray it worked,” said Coultis. “They were very talented, but the young guys out there; a couple freshmen and sophomores filling in, stepped up.”
The guy who anchored the attack was outside rush linebacker/defensive end Abram Wright.
“Abram was going to be the focal point,” said
Springs. “With the rest of the defense all young kids, he needed to have a big game. He did.”
Nine tackles, 2.5 sacks of the quarterback, three tackles for loss was Wright’s resume for the night, but his energy permeated throughout the defense to keep Lake Minneola at bay.
“Lake Minneola still made some big plays because they are a great team, but we had enough will to keep them out of the end zone, even on a fourth and two inside the 10 late in the game,” said Springs. “From here, I can only think it is not going to rain like that every week so we need to figure something out.”