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Some football fans call it fumbilitis, and some call it putting the rock on the carpet. In real terms, it is simply a turnover.
Last Friday, both the Williston Red Devils and the Fernandina Beach Pirates started the game unable to hold on to the football.
The Pirates took the opening kick off and managed just three plays before the Red Devil defense came up with a fumble recovery.
Two plays later the Red Devils returned the football to the Pirates with their first fumble of the night. Two plays following the next fumble one would think the football was greased up or super hot. The Pirates fumbled the football back to the Red Devils at their own 45-yard line.
Following the first six minutes of fumbles that seemed as if neither team wanted the football, the Red Devils went to work.
Following a 17-yard run by Brandon Preston, David Heinkel lofted a perfect pass to Damien Strange in the left corner of the end zone where Strange out jumped two Pirate defenders and came down with the ball. This was the first touchdown of the season for the Red Devils.
As the Red Devils lined up for the PAT they had two straight, false start penalties before getting off the snap. But new Red Devil kicker Jorge Deciderio, split the uprights from the 22-yard line for a 32-yard extra point.
The Red Devils gave the ball over on downs as the first quarter ended with the Red Devils holding a 7-0 lead.
As the second quarter clock clicked down, neither team could muster much offense. Following a fumble by the Red Devils with 3:20 left in the first half, the Pirates scored their first touchdown on a 5-yard run. The PAT was no good as the holder fumbled the snap from center.
Holding a slim 7-6 lead the Red Devils began a drive that was quickly halted with a pass intercepted by the Pirates and returned 32 yards for a touchdown. This time the PAT was good, giving the Pirates a 13-7 lead.
The Red Devils drove the ball to the Pirates 30-yard line as the first half ended.
On the Pirates’ first possession of the third quarter, they missed on a 28-yard field goal attempt. Following a Red Devil fumble, the Pirates began to move the football in large chunks of yardage. The Pirates scored on a 15-yard run right through the middle of the Red Devil defense. With the PAT being good, the Pirates took a 20-7 lead with just over 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
The handle on the football must have broken off as the Red Devil defense got a work out for the remaining time in the third quarter. The Red Devils fumbled the football three times on one single play, turning the ball over to the Pirates for the eighth time in the game.
The Pirates took advantage of the short field and drove in for another touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Red Devil Coven Terrell busted through and blocked the PAT to keep the score at 26-7.
The Red Devils turned the football over three more times in the fourth and final quarter on fumbles and a dropped punt reception.
But the heart of the Red Devils came out again on the last offensive play of the game. David Heinkel broke off an 80-yard run for the Red Devils with just seconds left on the clock. The Deciderio PAT was good making the final score 26-14 win for the Pirates from Fernandina Beach.
The Red Devils begin their 2011 season for real tomorrow (Sept. 2), at Booster Stadium as they host the PK Yonge Blue Wave. Game time is 7:30 p.m.