Flanagan was Florida’s defending Class 8A champion, seeking to become the first team from Broward to win consecutive 8A titles.
That’s all in the past now as Deerfield Beach ended Flanagan’s season with a 10-7 victory over the host Falcons in a Region 3-8A semifinal on Friday.
Senior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, an Alabama commit, intercepted his second pass in as many playoff games and returning it 41 yards for the Bucks’ lone touchdown.
“I just saw the ball come to me and I had to make a play,” said Jeudy. “We were hungry and wanted this bad.”
Deerfield Beach (9-2) will host Delray Beach Atlantic — a 33-21 winner over Palm Beach Gardens — in a region final next Friday.
The Bucks are 6-0 all-time on home turf in a regional final but its their first since 2008.
The loss snapped Flanagan’s six-game playoff win streak which included a 17-0 victory over Deerfield Beach in a regional semifinal last year.
The Falcons (9-3) had outscored their opponents 168-38 during the streak.
Down 10-0 Flanagan was about to cave.
Senior quarterback Stanford Samuels concluded a short drive with a 1-yard sneak that cut into the Bucks lead. Flanagan got another chance with 4:50 to play, but a fourth down and long pass by Samuels was incomplete.
So how did Deerfield Beach get past the defending champions?
A strong and decisive front seven on defense and a stellar performance by the Bucks defensive backs.
Deerfield intercepted Samuels three time, twice by Kobe Green. The last came with nine seconds left to seal the game.
Sophomore linebacker Gemon Eaford recorded a pair of sacks, including his last of the night that force Flanagan into a long fourth down play late in the game.
“We watched film all week and they have been struggling on offense all season,” Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said. “Our defense hasn’t gotten the credit they deserve.
“We said all year we wanted to practice on Thanksgiving. Another goal down, but we’re not down yet.”
In a lackluster first half, Deerfield Beach managed the only points on a 35-yard field goal by Ledin Rivera.
Deerfield Beach had a chance to jump on their opponent when the Falcons lost a fumble on the opening kickoff gibing the Bucks the ball at 22.
Deerfield failed to cash in on the opportunity as Rivera would miss a 32-yard field goal attempt.
For the most part both sides were conservative with their play calling. Flanagan was held to 74 yards of offense, while Deerfield Beach managed just 80 yards.