Eagles Travel to God’s Country and Come Away with Big Victory

by | Sep 4, 2022 | FSB Insider

The Golden Eagles found themselves on the road for a second straight week and came away with their second straight road win. Traveling across the County for a 15-minute bus ride is one thing following a day at school. Heading west for that long stretch across I-10 into Tallahassee is a much bigger ask of high school students. Fortunately, the Eagles showed up and were ready to play and left with another convincing victory, 51-20 over the Rickards Raiders.

Following the pre-season kickoff against the Westside Wolverines, I wrote that if the Eagles could get consistent play from SOPH quarterback Cibastian Broughton, Fleming Island would be a very dangerous team. Friday night’s victory was another team effort, but the evening belonged to Broughton.

Fleming’s quarterback was simply en Fuego. Broughton threw for over 300 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one score on the ground. It’s no secret that the offense is fueled by its three-headed monster running attack with SR Sam Singleton, SR Musthafa Marshall, and SR Tay’Shaun Smith. Against the Raiders defense, the three backs combined for over 160 yards and two touchdowns and averaged nearly seven yards per carry. But Friday, Broughton showed that last week versus Clay was not a mirage and shredded a much faster and more athletic Raiders secondary than Clay had to offer. Freshman wide receiver Trace Burney and Broughton hooked up on passes of 26 and 28 yards, both for scores. Senior receiver Brandon Cook hauled a touchdown from Broughton that went for 64-yards. Marshall was also a beneficiary in the receiving game when he scored on a 12-yard reception. SR wide receiver Darion Domineck had a 45-yard reception down to the 1-yard line that was questionably called short. The Eagles would finish the drive with 6 when Singleton scored easily with only: 45 seconds left in the third quarter. Not to be outdone by the running backs, Broughton had the longest run of the evening for the Eagles when he “wormed” his way through defenders and faked some would-be tacklers when it looked like he may step out of bounds but tuned it up the field and ended the 33-yard scamper in the endzone. One stat line from Friday’s passing game that may go unnoticed is, that out of Broughton’s 13 completions, only 2 were under 10-yards. His arm is now becoming as deadly as his legs.

The Eagles dominating defense simply packs their lunch pail week after week. The Raiders got off to a quick start to the game with swing passes that seemed to catch the Eagles off guard, and after a 6-play drive that took the Raiders to the Eagles 27-yard line, once again, the defense made a game-changing play to swing the momentum. JR linebacker Dehmir Jackson stuffed Raiders running back for a 2-yard loss, and following a fourth and four attempt, the ball went over to Broughton and company.

The defense was led by Jhace Edwards and Abram Wright who both seem to be around the ball at the end of nearly every play. Edwards and Wright can use their athleticism and pure instincts that have them both on their way to college, but it doesn’t hurt when you have players like Jhoel Robinson, Walker Whiddon, and Joey Crouch lined up on the same side of the ball. This front seven is a disciplined group that rarely misses a tackle or is out of position.

The game was not perfectly played by the defense. They gave up a score with 19 seconds before halftime and were later beaten deep for a 28-yard touchdown pass. On both plays, it seemed like either the safeties were out of position or just allowed the Raider receivers to get behind them and score. This is something that will need to be corrected before next weeks game versus Nease.

SR kicker Austin Allred is off to a great start to the season and if this offense continues to score like they have the first two weeks, Allred will be called on often and expected to make the PATs. Allred was 6-7 on extra points and hit a 30-yard field goal. The one extra point that was not converted was due to a block by the Raiders.

A growing concern that has seemed to carry over from last season is penalties. Last week there were a handful against Clay and again this week versus the Raiders. Personal fouls, false starts and delay of games. This is something that will need to be cleaned up or these types of fouls will eventually cost the Eagles, possibly a game.

The offensive line continues to grow as a unit and overpower opponents. The biggest sign of this unit coming together as one was late in the fourth quarter when up 45-14. RB Smith scored his second touchdown of the night when he started his run from the 8-yard line and was seemingly going to be stopped around the 5 yard-line, but the offensive line got behind Smith and forced him through defenders and into the endzone.

This Eagles team should continue to grow and get better. They will need to clean up a few items of concern but once this team hits on all cylinders, people better take notice of these boys. They are currently ranked 4th in NE Florida by Sports Channel 4 and the lead sports director for the Times Union. Fleming Island is clearly the best team in Clay County and if things keep going, they could end up one of the best in the State.

Next up: at Nease Panthers