Although it was not the finish to the regular season that was wanted or expected, the Ponte Vedra Sharks can take comfort that their 2019 season will still continue following a 28-7 defeat last Friday to Creekside.
A week following their dramatic victory over St. Augustine, a letdown should not have come as a big surprise to Shark followers. However, much of the credit should be given to an underrated Creekside team who perhaps played their finest game on the 2019 season.
Despite the loss to the Knights, who finished a bruising schedule at 5-5, the Sharks will begin a new season when they host the opening game of the playoffs tomorrow night at the Shark Tank against Columbia.
Just moments into their clash with the Knights, the Sharks were given a false sense of optimism following a 73-yard touchdown run by Ponte Vedra wide receiver Keaton Thomas. The sophomore’s long dash gave PV an early 7-0 lead after Neil McDonough converted the point after. Strangely enough, the TD would prove to be the last points the visitors would put on the scoreboard for the entire evening.
The Sharks’ defense held Creekside to a three-and-out on the Knights’ first offensive series of the game, but, after a short PVHS punt, Jalen Hines scored the first of his short two touchdown runs to tie up the game at 7-7. Playing before an energetic home crowd estimated at over 5,000 fans on Senior Night, Hines scored his second TD from two yards out early in the second quarter to give Creekside a lead they would never relinquish.
Another short PV punt that traveled a mere 12 yards again set up another short field for Creekside. Knights quarterback Quinn Sieger connected with his favorite receiver Jake Goodrich on a 40-yard aerial to push the lead to 21-7 for the hosts.
Keaton Thomas, who rushed for over 100 yards for PVHS, broke free on a 32- yard scamper to give the Sharks excellent field position to possibly narrow the gap before halftime. On third-down-and-goal from just inside the 10-yard line, PV quarterback RJ Glod was hit just a fraction before he threw a pass to a wide-open Alex Madsen in the end zone. On what would prove to be a frustrating night for the visitors, McDonough’s short field goal try sailed just inches wide.
The only scoring in the second half came on a 48-yard quarterback scramble from Creekside’s Sieger.
The loss pushed PV’s RPI down a notch to the No. 3 seed in their region in 6A setting up a first-ever meeting with perennial power Lake City-Columbia. The Tigers started off strong in the 2019 season by winning their first six games that resulted in a No. 1 ranking in North Florida. The game could very well be an aerial show featuring a pair of quarterbacks who have each thrown for more than 2,000 yards on the season in Columbia’s Jordan Smith and PV’s Glod.
The kickoff for the playoff opener is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, at the Shark Tank.