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September 26, 2013GAME 1 - Homecoming for the Atlantic Coast Stingrays and the opponent is - First Coast. While some would argue this isn't the best of matchups for homecoming, the 'rays are off to their best start in school history - 4-0 - while First Coast has an offense that seems to be stuck in neutral.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH:
OUTLOOK: : Since making the state championship game in 2011, the First Coast Buccaneers offense has regressed - starting with the play of Florida State commit De'Andre Johnson. The Bucs have struggled to solidify an offensive line that can establish a running game - and need a 'breakout' receiver.
Defenses are content to stop the pass by blitzing hard against Johnson, who tends to tuck and run quicker than he should - which results in the Rivals four-star QB taking more hits than he should.
If First Coast is going to defeat an aggressive and fast defense from Atlantic Coast, Johnson has got to maintain his pocket presence and utilize WR talents Washington and Tyrone Woods.
This is a litmus test for head coach Kevin Sullivan and the young Atlantic Coast program. First Coast is perhaps the most talented team the Stingrays will face all year - and Sullivan and company will need a monster performance from Georgia Tech commit Step Durham and the defense.
Atlantic Coast has been very opportunistic, forcing three turnovers and taking advantage of good field position. In last week's win over Oakleaf (36-20), the Stingrays used a pick-six by DL Traevaris Ferrell (80 yards) to flip the game in their favor and never looked back.
First Coast had last week off to recuperate from an overtime loss to Raines and coach Marty Lee told me his team is 'still searching' for its identity.
Nothing like spoiling a homecoming to find one's identity.