Devin Craig, Correspondent (@DevinCraigFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – In the opening round of the Florida high school football 2A playoffs, John Paul II took a short bus ride to play the favored North Florida Christian Eagles. NFC won 43-10 in a dominant performance offensively as well as defensively.
NFC running back Von Hayes totaled 115 yards and two touchdowns and Macho Arza added two touchdowns on the ground.
John Paul quarterback Brain Woodend gained 232 yards of total offense against the stout Eagles defense. Star running back Nehemiah Mitchell added 122 total yards as well as the Panthers lone touchdown on a 73-yard touchdown reception.
The first half was anyone’s ball game. The Panthers scored first with a 15-yard field goal on their opening drive.
Defensive line pressure led by Jalen Norwood forced Woodend into a grounding penalty that resulted in a safety to set the score to 3-2.
In the second quarter, Arza scored on a quarterback option from 25 yards out that gave the Eagles the lead. After a successful two-point conversion, the score was 10-3.
The Panthers answered quickly with what would be their first and last touchdown of the night on a 73-yard pass from Woodend to Mitchell.
NFC went on to score 33 points unanswered.
A 33-yard pass touchdown from Trey Fisher to receiver Deondre McCray kicked off NFC’s scoring tirade.
On the Eagles opening drive of the second half, they marched 50 yards down the field to scored on a one-yard run by running back Quan Myrick.
Later in the third, the Eagles would score again on an 18-yard pass from Fisher to Hayes. One series later, Hayes scored on a 15-yard scamper for the final score of the game.
“We feel like we have weapons,” NFC head coach Steve Price said. “Fisher’s been playing well and we have some great runners.”
John Paul’s historic season did not end as planned but the Panthers posted the schools all-time best record, 9-1.
“I’m very proud of my guys, they played great, they really stuck their necks out there. We had a terrific season,” -JPII head coach Kez McCorvey said.
Next week NFC will travel to Jacksonville and play University Christian.