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September 13, 2013
NEPTUNE BEACH -- Backed up to his own one-yard line, clinging to a seven-point lead over an archrival wielding three timeouts and momentum, Fletcher quarterback Luke Medlock (a Florida International commit) dug in and came up big.
He led the Senators to the game clinching first down and bragging rights win over Sandalwood, 31-24.
For the fourth consecutive year, Fletcher won the battle for Beach Boulevard. The yearly grudge match between two of most talented teams in Jacksonville doubles as its fiercest rivalry. This year's contest included alternately brilliant and mind boggling play.
"Our kids play so well together," Fletcher Coach Josh Corey said after the game, "we're not flashy, we don't look the greatest all the time, but we got a group that believes in each other."
. It started in the middle of the fourth quarter of a tied ball game. With its offense rolling, Sandalwood lined up for 3rd and five. A false start penalty put the Saints back behind down and distance and they were forced to punt.
The ensuing Fletcher drive would be the opposite. Facing a tough decision on 4th and 3 on the Sandalwood 22, Corey kept his offense on the field.
The Senators, though, didn't call a play, just a hard count. It worked, Sandalwood's eager and talented defensive line jumped and the Senators capped the drive with a TD.
Sandalwood didn't have much time to answer, coughing the ball up on the kickoff with just 5:18 left in the game. Fletcher looked to be in position to seal the game, until five star linebacker and Florida State commit Kain Daub rocked backup RB Abereon Brown, forcing a fumble.
. The turnover train had one more ride left, as lauded Sandalwood QB DJ Davis fumbled on the very next play. Brown responded by immediately punching the ball in to the end zone.
The Saints wasted little time once they got the ball back, and quickly scored on a Glen Palmer run.
Armed with three timeouts, the Saints caught Fletcher off guard and kicked deep, surprising return man Brown, who fell on the ball at the one yard line.
Brown was in the game after the speedy Matt Henderson went out in early in the second half. Brown would ice the game for the Senators.
On third down, after running consecutive QB sneaks with Medlock to get some breathing room, on third and the game, Corey dialed up a toss out to Brown, who followed a beautiful block from FB Jacob Kraut (a Rutgers commit himself) to a 19 yard run to seal it.
All coach Corey was yelling during the third down run - according to Brown, "he was screaming 'Stay in bounds!'"
Sandalwood had every opportunity to win the game, but Fletcher out-executed the Saints in the closing minutes. Unforced errors, turnovers, and a stellar performance in the clutch by a backup RB will only add fuel to the fire between these schools. The Fletcher senior class goes undefeated in a rivalry game that constitutes a one game season at the beaches.