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MANDARIN MUSTANGS STAMPEDE PAST SARASOTA RIVERVIEW TO ADVANCE TO 8A TITLE GAME



SOUTHSIDE JACKSONVILLE-


The 10-4 Mandarin Mustangs stampede past the Sarasota Riverview Rams 41-35 to advance to the 8A state title game for the 1st time in school history. Alabama commit QB Carson Beck had a huge game connecting on 16 out 25 passes for 478yds and 3 TDs. Beck also logged a 1yd rushing TD. FIU commit Kris Mitchell had a big game as well logging 197 receiving yards including a mid 2nd quarter 91yd catch and run for a TD. Rams' Ali Boyd led all rushers with 161yds on 36 rushes and 3 TD. Western Kentucky commit Terrill Jennings rushed for 104yds and 1 TD on 21 carries. Kas Absolu, and UTM commit Darian "DayDay" each had a pick and Christian Warren logged 5 TFLs to help lift Mandarin past the Rams.


After going up 6-0 in the 1st quarter on a 1yd Ali Boyd TD run, The Rams would be looking to put the Stangs away early as Chuck Brantley intercepted a tipped pass on Mandarin's opening possession. Stangs' DB Jayvon Fulton would bury a ball carrier for a 5yd loss, and Darian Oxendine would pick off a deep pass to give Mandarin the ball back. On the Stangs' ensuing possession Demario "Poppa" Douglas would take a short pass from Beck, 2 step past a defender and race 48yds for Mandarin's 1st score. The Stangs would lead it 7-6 after the FG with 2:54 to play in the 1st frame.


After forcing a quick 3 and out, Beck would hit Kas Absolu on a 54yd catch, and run then hook up with Terrill Jennings on a 13yd throw. After connecting with Mitchell on a pass to the 1yd, Beck would cap the drive with a 1yd keeper. Mandarin would lead the game 13-6 with 11:55 to play in the 2nd quarter. The Rams Zy Grable would return the kick to the 43 but the Stangs' defense led by Nick Harris, Nijel McGriff, and Christian Warren would force another 3 and out. On the Mustangs' ensuing possession Terrill Jennings would haul in a 13yd pass from Beck, then take a sweep around the right hand side for 29yds. Darian Oxendine would cap the drive with a 2yd run plowing over defenders at the goal line to give the Stangs the 19-6 lead with 7:13 to play in the 1st half.

Coach Ramsey would try and avoid the Rams' returners by kicking the ball out of bounds, but Sarasota would elect to have them kick it again, and Ali Boyd would return it across midfield. Jayvon Fulton would recover a Rams' fumble and Mitchell's 91yd TD sprint would ignite the coral as the Mustangs took a 25-7 lead with 3:58 to play in the 1st half. The Rams would trim Mandarin's lead by 3 on a 37yd FG from Dorian Hall. Mandarin would get back on the score board after Demario Douglas took a screen pass from Beck and dash 68yds untouched to give Mandarin a 31-10 lead just before halftime.



At halftime Mandarin would have some pretty impressive offensive stats. Beck would have 356yds and 3 total TDs in the 1st 2 frames, and Kris Mitchell would have 5 receptions for 129yds and 1td. Demario Douglas registered 2 catches for 112yds and 2 TDs. Mandarin logged 14 1st downs to the Rams 7.


To start the 3rd frame the Rams would convert an onside kick and cut into the Stangs' lead after QB Sean White hooked up with Malachi Wideman in the back of the endzone on a 14yd pass. The Rams would nearly convert a 2nd consecutive onside kick but they would be flagged for offside. After returning the ensuing kickoff to the 22yd line, Darian Oxendine would catch a deep strike from Beck for a gain of 56yds. Beck would nearly connect with Mitchell in the back of the endzone but the refs would rule the FIU commit out of bounds. Terrill Jennings would gash the Rams up the middle to the 2yd line and then pound it in to take a 38-17 lead with 7:32 to play in the 3rd quarter.


After several personal foul calls on Mandarin, Ali Boyd would chip back into the Stangs' lead with a 9yd TD run. The Rams would try and get the ball back quickly to Boyd by going for a 3rd consecutive onside kick but Richard Thomas would be there to gather it in. On the next play the Alabama commit would hook up with the FIU commit on a 50yd bomb. The Western Kentucky commit would plow it in from 2yds out and Mandarin would lead it 45-24 after the short 2play drive. Kas Absolu would intercept a Rams pass but his long return would be negated on an illegal block call. The Stangs' defense would stifle the Rams until late in the 4th when Ali Boyd scored on a 12yd untouched run to cut the Stang's lead to 45-31 with 3:19 to play in the game. Devon Lewis would recover the onside kick for Mandarin and the Mustangs would close out Sarasota Riverview Rams to advance to the 8A title game next Saturday in Orlando vs the 14-0 Columbus Explorers of Miami who defeated Deerfeild Beach 41-29.





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