Bulldogs battle through slop, miscues in narrow win over Deltona
It was a sloppy game: thick mud, turnovers, bad snaps and penalties — don’t forget the penalties.
But Damien Irven wasn’t thinking about any of those things as the Bulldogs’ junior cornerback lined up for what would be the most significant defensive play of the game.
It was the Bulldogs’ second touchdown of the night and their first lead of the game.
“We need big players to make big plays,” said Irven, who returned his second interception of the night for a 22-yard score halfway through the fourth quarter. “We’ve got to step up and make them. No excuses.”
Despite numerous miscues on offense and an almost “unplayable” field, Flagler Palm Coast (6-0) defeated Deltona 19-6 at a muddy Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium on the night of Friday, Oct. 7. The Bulldogs' homecoming victory marked their third win in seven days.
“Our kids showed resiliency,” FPC coach Travis Roland said. “Two years ago, we would have lost this game. So it shows the growth. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about the game. We won. That’s all that matters.”
Marred by severe flooding, FPC’s field was deemed almost unplayable by the referees before the start of the game. Players and coaches alike were already painted with muck before the first snap of the night even took place. Still, FPC pushed through, overcoming numerous penalties on offense, three turnovers, two shanked punts that went a combined 20 yards and a difficulty to run in the slip-and-slide-like conditions.
“Our offense, we’re hot. We’re up-tempo. We cut,” Roland said. “This wasn’t the field for us to do that. This field had everything to do with that football game tonight, 100%.”
The Bulldogs were led by Ty Jenkins, who ran for two scores against the Wolves (2-4).
At the 3:21 mark in the third quarter, the Bulldogs were still scoreless: Enter Jenkins.
The 175-pound sophomore went 70 yards untouched up the middle for the Bulldogs’ first score of the game.
There was one thing on Roland’s mind when he saw his young running back cross the goal line.
“Finally,” Roland said. “That kid’s amazing.”
In the fourth quarter, barely 30 seconds after Irven’s pick six, Jenkins reversed the field on what was initially supposed to be a run play up the middle. Jenkins took the ball up the left side instead, and 24 yards into the end zone to give the Bulldogs a two-score lead.
“The middle was wide open, but I chose to go outside because I really like going outside,” Jenkins said. “ I saw no one over to the left, and I just took it.”
Up next, the Bulldogs take on undefeated Spruce Creek (5-0) on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium.
For Irven, who transferred from Spruce Creek this summer, the upcoming game against his former team has all the more significance, especially with an undefeated record on the line.
“I’ve never been on an undefeated team in high school,” Irven said. “I’ve won a district championship once, but that’s not enough for me. I’m hungry. I want a state championship.
“I went to that school last year, so I’ve got to go out there and turn up.”