The crosstown rivals face each other at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
Flagler Palm Coast head coach Travis Roland expected the Bulldogs’ offense, which returned most of its starters from last season, to be outstanding in FPC’s preseason game against Atlantic Coast on the night of Friday, Aug. 16 — and it was.
But the standout offensive performance was from a player who saw little action the past few seasons.
Junior Chris Parks had only really ever seen the field as part of FPC’s special teams unit.
"Anytime you're in a rivalry game, it doesn't matter what the talent looks like, what the record looks like, you better go out and match intensity — because they're going to bring it."
Travis Roland, FPC coach
Against Atlantic Coast, he was featured heavily at running back, where he rushed for 3 touchdowns — by halftime.
Parks torched the Stingrays to the tune of 130 yards and 4 touchdowns, per WNZF sports commentator Michael Lischio Jr.
“That kid waited his turn and became a really good football player,” Roland said of Parks. “Instead of [transferring], he stuck it out.”
The Bulldogs beat Atlantic Coast 34-6 on the Stingrays own field.
The Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, Donovan Montoyo, connected on 7-11 passes for 116 yards a score.
And the defense, which is replacing 10 starters from last season’s team, was led by linebackers Tobin Hackett and Corey Vandyke, who had two sacks each.
In addition, defensive back A.J. Smith recorded an interception in the opening half.
“We took care of business,” Roland said.
Matanzas played two games that Friday, beating Cedar Creek 6-0 and losing to Wolfson 6-3. On the one touchdown the Pirates surrendered, three defenders were out of alignment.
The Pirates were also down 13 starters, mostly due to injury.
“They are showing growth in spurts,” the Pirates’ second-year head coach, Don Mathews, said. “But I’m looking for consistency.”
The Bulldogs and Pirates square off at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at FPC High School.
It will be Roland’s third Potato Bowl. His team has won each of the last two, but he remains cautious.
“We still have to go out and play and do our job,” he said. “Anytime you’re in a rivalry game, it doesn’t matter what the talent looks like, what the record looks like, you better go out and match intensity — because they’re going to bring it.”
Last season, the Bulldogs dominated in the matchup, cruising to a 49-0 victory. In order to compete this year, Mathews said his team needs to have confidence in themselves.
“We had a lot of players on our team last year who believed more in FPC than they did Matanzas,” he said. “We have to start believing in ourselves in order to compete.”