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November 2, 2012

Palm Coast, Deland battle for district

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The Skinny: Pretty simple equation for the both, win and you're in; lose and it's probably time to dust off the golf clubs. If DeLand wins, they are the 8A-1 Champions. A loss means it is prayer time for a Fletcher defeat at Mandarin to force a three-way tie for second place with Sandalwood & Fletcher. If FPC does its job they're the runners-up, but that same Fletcher loss in conjunction with a victory gives them the district championship. DHS is coming off a thrilling 32-30 win on Monday night versus Mandarin while FPC's last game was a 17-16 defeat of Sandalwood back on October 25th.

Prediction: DELAND

DELAND: RB Jojo Kemp, QB Coleton Robinson, LB Lincoln Stewart, WR Dantwuan O'Neal, LB Tyler Havenner, OLB Tybius Taylor.

FLAGLER PALM COAST: RB Jimmie Robinson, RB Devonti Emanuel, WR Willie Gardner, QB Colton Boyd, QB Dalton Thomas, DB Marcel Williams.

THE OUTLOOK: Deland coach Al Manning said it best for all folks involved with DeLand past and present when he said, "nothing's ever easy at DeLand."

There's plenty easiness out there for the taking if they simply go and handle their business at Spec Martin Stadium, but the statement "easier said than done" is the ruler of the night when they face a legitimate obstacle in the form of Flagler Palm Coast.

If you were to put both of FPC's top running backs (Robinson and Emanuel) rushing yardage and touchdowns (1,100 & 13) you would still end up short of DeLand's lone RB Jojo Kemp (1,301 & 18), so obviously the 'Dawgs ability to execute the ground and pound strategy that the FPC defense is expecting is paramount, but that also puts added pressure on key plays in the passing game for both squads when play-action is there for the taking.

That means players like Willie Gardner for FPC and Dantwuan O'Neal for DHS will need to make the best of the throws that come their way.

This also means it's all hands on deck for assignment football from both squads DB's and "lunch pail and hardhat" time for the big fellas in the trenches and at the linebacker spots.

You see it often in situations like this, it's the kicking game and special teams that may decide things when field position becomes the prime objective, and a slight nod goes to DHS' Tristen Patel who is 8-of-10 on the season versus John Osorio who is only 4-of-7. Even that's close to call.

Prediction: Deland 22 Flagler Palm Coast 20

* * Discuss your thoughts of the games on our Football Central message forum.


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