Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Spruce Creek keeps Trucking with Tuesday Test over Sandalwood

Sandalwood- Not even a broken down bus could stop the defending District 1-8A champions from rolling to victory Tuesday night at Dennis Bartley Field, as Spruce Creek defeated Sandalwood 33-18. Spruce Creek, located near Daytona Beach Florida traveled from Central Florida by bus Tuesday, but their bus broke down four times on the way to Jacksonville. The normal trip up I-95 took double that time and saw their Head Coach Andy Price act as head mechanic filling the chartered bus with water on the side of the highway. Their delayed arrival forced the intended six o’clock start time to move closer to six thirty, yet at the start of the game it was Sandalwood that was delayed and seemingly disinterested coming out of the locker room. Spruce Creek stood lined up and ready to roll on the field, and roll they did.

After a punt on Sandalwood’s first possession, Spruce Creeks Jacquez Lord busted a big return of 53 yards to the Sandalwood 15 yard line. Three plays later, quarterback #12 Kyle Minkler took it himself 8 yards up the middle for the first score of the game. The extra point by Mia Vanwinter was good as Spruce led 7-0 early in the contest. Sandalwood would be plagued by mistakes and they would rear their ugly heads early in the game. Sandalwood’s David Vaughn reeled off a long touchdown run in the first quarter to seemingly tie the game at seven, but a penalty nullified the run and the points. The score remained 7-0 Spruce Creek. The Hawk’s opportunity to increase their lead was taken away by #23 cornerback Kiwan Harris who intercepted the Minkler pass and returned it 33 yards before fumbling the football on the way to the end zone. Fortunately for the Saints, Harris would recover his own fumble and Sandalwood would score on the drive. #1 Rz McCorker took the pitch right and executed a halfback pass to a wide open Edwin Carter #19. The extra point was good, and the score was tied 7-7. Both teams would play to a stalemate for the remainder of the first half as mistakes and turnovers plagued them. Sandalwood’s linebacker Matthew McDougal would recover a fumble in the second quarter to prevent Spruce Creek from putting points on the board. Not to be out done was Spruce Creek’s #18 Logan Monday who recovered a fumble by Sandalwood to close the first half tied 7-7.

The Saints came out in the second half ready to play and it showed in their play on the field. Defensive tackle #44 Jordan Miller forced a Spruce Creek fumble and it was recovered by DE #18 Isaiah Smith. The play is exactly what the Saints needed to spark them as on the next offensive drive running back Deron ” D-Rock” Thornes took a hand off near mid field, sliced through the middle of the Spruce Creek defense spinning to the open field and racing 30 yards for the touchdown. The electrifying play put the Saints up 13-7 early in the third quarter, but it would not go unanswered by the Hawks. Spruce Creek responded with several game changing plays of their own. The first, an interception by #34 DB Vinny Sneed who haulted a drive by Sandalwood that could’ve put the Saints up by two touchdowns going into the fourth. Instead, Spruce Creek’s wide receiver #2 Hayden Flood would take the opportunity to shine by skying for catches. His signature catch of the game, a deep 42 yarder to put Spruce deep inside Saints territory. The play set up a Jacquez Lord dive to the right where the back took it in for the game tying score. Kicker Mia Vanwinter knocked the extra point through the uprights, to give Spruce Creek the lead 14-13.

The fourth quarter saw Spruce Creek pull away for good. After getting the ball back from Sandalwood, who’s offense found it extremely hard to run or pass on the night, Kyle Minkler scored on a strong touchdown run to put them up 21-13. Minkler truly showed his versatility on the night. It was his second rushing touchdown of the game, but he later showed off his arm tossing a 62 yard touchdown to Lord who had no mercy on the defense by outracing defenders to the endzone for the game deciding score. Spruce Creek would get a Montez Black touchdown run with seconds left to officially win the game, but to the Spruce Creek coaches the game was won before they got off the bus. Said one assistant coach on Spruce Creek’s staff , ” they (Sandalwood) are undisciplined and we saw that on tape”. For Head Coach Andy Price it was a testament to his player’s effort through adversity. ” We shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers,even after preaching at halftime to not turn the ball over; but I’m proud of how players like Minkler turned it on as he usually does, Jacquez had a great game, Hayden Flood had a great game, Kyle Thiel chipped in , Jacob Tweed chipped in, so it was a great district win for us”.

Spruce Creek vs Sandalwood Photo Gallery

Sandalwood (1-3) will face Flagler Palm Coast in hopes of fixing their problems before the wheels fall off. Spruce Creek (3-0) will keep on trucking with Deltona up next.