OKEECHOBEE — Daytona Beach Mainland proved their #1 ranking in the state was warranted as they scored 49 points in the first half in route to a 56-7 victory over Okeechobee in the Class 6A regional quarterfinal Friday.
Mainland took the opening kickoff and drove 55 yards in eight plays to take the lead on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Denzel Houston to Nathaniel Dell. The Buccaneers would score on the team’s first six possessions. The second drive covered 62 yards in eight plays and was capped by a 10-yard pass to D’Marcus Adams, who caught three touchdowns in the first half.
Okeechobee struggled in the first half as they were held to just three first downs and 57 total yards.
Adams 42-yard touchdown reception made it 20-0 and Houston then finished off a five-play, 54-yard drive with a 6-yard score to make it 28-0 at the end of the first quarter.
A fumble by Okeechobee gave the Bucs a first down at the Brahman 38-yard line early in the second quarter and Houston quickly drove the Bucs for another score when he hit Jason Colubiale with a 14-yard touchdown and a 35-0 lead.
The Bucs also scored on a 6-yard touchdown run by Deandre McMillan and a 42-yard pass from Houston to Adams before halftime.
The Bucs had 352 yards of offense and 16 first downs in the first half.
The Brahmans scored their only touchdown on a six-play, 54-yard drive late in the third quarter. Bubba Fludd hit Demetrius Clark with a 36-yard pass which set up a 5-yard run by Lamar Williams, who finished the game with 87 yards on 14 rushes.
Coach Chris Branham said he was thrilled with the season despite this loss.
“It was a humbling experience to coach this team. They were the best team in Okeechobee High school history,” he said.
Branham said his team never quit in this game and in any game this season. He noted they came from behind three times to win games his year. He was also impressed that he team never pointed fingers or blamed each there when things went sour.
“I never doubted in the ability of these kids. I told them tonight to stay together and leave it all on the field. They set the foundation for our future success,” he added.
Branham said he told these kids to meet their own goals this year and for the most part each player was able to do that,
“They raised the bar for sure. It was humbling to be a part of this. Being with these kids was very special to me,” he said.
Brahmans win tackles for loss included Tanner Thornton, Buster Mond, Joseph Benjamin, and Mateo Vasquez. Buccaneers with tackles for loss included, Kevon Mccrary, Adrian Rivers, James Mccloskey, Jhii Taylor, Maurice Headen and Anthony Graham.
Mainland (10-0) advanced to the regional semifinal scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18, against Sebastian River.
The game was played at Larry Kelly Field at Daytona Municipal Field the home of the Bethune Cookman Wildcats. Adams had 94 yards in receptions and C.J. Wilson ran for 68 yards in the first half for Mainland. Houston threw for 223 yards all on the first half. He completed (15-19) passes.
Houston ran for 39 yards on four carries and Jordan Bailey ran for 50 yards in the second half. The Bucs finished with 211 yards rushing and 265 yards passing.
Okeechobee was held to 54 yards passing and 122 yards rushing.
Mainland has made playoffs for 23 straight years. It was Okeechobee’s first trip to the playoffs since 2010.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News