The Fleming Island Golden Eagles entered into Friday night’s game with an extra week to prepare for the Bartram Bears (5-0) and fell short in their second District game 17-0. Following the loss, the Eagles have dropped to 3-2, along with a 0-2 District record. This team is built to win but has come up short in its last two District games. The unfortunate part is this team will lose a large majority of its playmakers at the end of the season, having a roster loaded with Seniors.
Friday’s game started like a heavyweight boxing match between two heavy hitters. The teams exchanged jabs early on, but Bartram dealt the first blow. With the Eagles threatening during one of their more productive offensive drives, the Bears defense would come up with an interception at their 5-yard line. The Bears would then capitalize on a big play with a 63-yard pass down to the Eagle’s 15-yard line. With:47 left in the half the Bears would put 3 on the board with a 29-yard field goal. The Eagles would have an opportunity to tie the game with :01 left in the first half but could not connect on a 37-yard field goal.
In the second half, the Bears would find the endzone first: late in the third quarter, on a 15-yard pass play making it a two-score lead with a 10-0 score. The Eagles were successful at times, moving the ball on the Bear’s defense but could not capitalize with points and failed to convert a few big third and longs to sustain the drives. When the Eagles defense stepped up again and held the Bears to a 46-yard field goal (that was good) it was wiped clean from the scoreboard following a personal foul by the Eagles, giving the Bears new life. Three plays later, the Bears would take advantage of the mistake and score their second touchdown of the game. 17-0
The disappointing part of the game came with over five minutes remaining. It almost seemed like the Eagles were content to chalk this game up as a loss. There was no hustle to get plays called in; there was no intensity from the sidelines. This is the second straight game that we have seen this: Oakleaf was the first. When the clock is not working in your favor there must be a sense of urgency at some point and for these two games, there has been none.
Again, the defense played well enough for the Eagles to come away with a victory. The running game was obviously not as dominating as it has been this season. But when teams are preparing for the three-headed monster that the Eagles bring to the table, others need to step up and make plays. The Bears are a very solid group on both sides of the ball. Tonight, they were able to hold the Eagles in check enough, stay within their defensive assignments, and did not give up any big plays that the Eagles are accustomed to making.
The Eagle’s defense has come up with a big play every week except tonight. But you shouldn’t have to depend on the defense week in and week out to come up with the play to seal a victory or spark the team to a victory.
The Eagles need more production from their wide receiver group moving forward. There have been sightings of playmaking ability early this season, but at some point, there needs to be more consistency.
The schedule does not get any easier for this team. Over the next three games, the Eagles will face Mandarin, Creekside, and Buchholz. You never want to say the season is on the ropes, but if a few things don’t change or improve, the Eagles could go down for the count. And no one wants that to happen to this extremely talented group of players/kids.
LET’S GO EAGLES!!!!