BELLEVIEW | Tye Edwards rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries — his third straight 200-yard rushing game — and Menendez defeated Belleview 38-24 for its first playoff victory in school history in a Region 2-5A quarterfinal Friday night.
“It’s (running the football) just what we hang our hat on around here,” said Falcons coach Patrick Turner, whose team ran for 347 yards in the game.
Menendez (8-3) will travel to district rival Baker County next week for a regional semifinal.
Coming into the game, Menendez averaged 280 yards on the ground per game, and Belleview coach Mike Kelly knew that that the Rattlers would need to contain the running game if they were to have a chance to win.
“All week we practiced defending the run because we know that’s how they play up there,” Kelly said. “But it wears away at you defensively, but we had to stop it and we couldn’t tonight.”
Two early scores by Edwards from 38 yards and 13 yards gave Menendez a 14-0 lead.
Belleview quarterback Corey Wilsher hit Jalen Patterson with a 10-yard touchdown strike just before the end of the first quarter.
Menendez’s Estin Thiele drilled a 32-yard field goal early in the second quarter to put the Falcons up 17-7.
Belleview’s Coryon Gillum rushed for a 12-yard score, but on the ensuing drive, Edwards scored his third touchdown of the half from 36 yards.
Belleview’s Mitchell Edwards hit a 43-yard field goal to pull the Rattlers within seven.
After three incomplete passes from its own 12-yard line, Belleview punted to Darian Oxendine, who received the ball at the 47-yard line and ran it all the way back for a score.
Menendez led 30-17 at the break, and never looked back.
“We knew it was going to have to be that type of game,” Turner said. “We knew that they had size, athleticism and explosiveness, and we had to keep scoring.”
Oxendine tacked on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Noah Gillan in the fourth quarter.
Wilsher ended the night 12-of-40 for 160 yards and two touchdown passes. The Rattlers had 186 yards rushing and 160 yards through the air for 346 yards of total offense.
PONTE VEDRA 18
One year after advancing to the Class 5A title game, Ponte Vedra’s season came to an end Friday with a 28-18 loss at Tallahassee Godby.
Down 28-3 in the fourth quarter, Jarrett Stepp caught two touchdown passes, but by then it was too late for the Sharks, who finished at 8-3.
Stepp caught TD passes of 17 and 56 yards from Jacobi Myers.
Godby (10-1) led 14-3 at the half with Riley Robbins booting a 25-yard field goal for Ponte Vedra. Jaylen Key’s 35-yard interception return made it 21-7 in the third quarter.
Jerry Ray scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to put Godby up 28-3.