Flanagan coach Devin Bush Jr. looked up at the scoreboard as the clock was expiring in the first half Friday night and flexed his arms like Popeye for the home crowd.
If you were wondering, there’s a reason the Falcons skipped a preseason tune-up last week. They didn’t need one.
Ranked second in the state’s preseason Class 8A poll, Flanagan scored on its first five possessions and forced a running clock in the third quarter of a 35-7 romp over Douglas.
Junior Stanford Samuels, starting in place of injured starting quarterback Kato Nelson for at least the first month of the season, ran for two touchdowns and completed all but three of his 19 passes for 235 yards and two scores. After his 14-yard touchdown run with 4:51 to play in the third quarter made it 35-0, Bush emptied his bench.
“Playing against the defense we play against every day in practice just makes you better,” Samuels said. “This was easy.”
The Falcons, ranked ninth nationally according to MaxPreps after making a run to the state semifinals last season, had several new transfers star.
Former Coral Springs receiver Jahcour Pearson caught a 35-yard pass on the first play of the game and finished with four catches for 90 yards. Former Plantation American Heritage standout Dredrick Snelson scored on the most electrifying play of the game when he caught a short pass in the flat, shed blockers and outran the Douglas defense for a 52-yard touchdown that made it 28-0 with 5:59 left in the first half.
“I thought Samuels did an excellent job,” Bush said. “I was curious to see how we were going to be, going to jell with the new receivers and our quarterback being out. I thought he did a fine job with checks, good reads and putting us in good plays. I'm extremely proud of him.”
Douglas, expected to compete with Deerfield Beach for the District 11-8A title this season, turned the ball over on its third play from scrimmage when Gary Goodman III’s overthrown pass was picked off by Falcons safety Jahvari Bourdeau.
The Eagles produced only 112 yards of total offense and nine first downs. But six of those first downs were the result of Falcons defensive penalties. Flanagan was flagged 11 times for 130 yards, most of those for late-hit penalties or personal fouls.
Douglas scored with two minutes and one second remaining when backup quarterback Kevin Matthews connected with Matthew Cabey on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone.
“I like that we were very physical,” Bush said. “We came out and established ourselves as a physical team. We executed well. We were pretty sloppy with some of the penalties. But we have time to go and correct it after we watch the film.”
FLAN-Alexander 9 run (Trujillo kick)
FLAN-Samuels 17 run (Trujillo kick)
FLAN-Collins 7 pass from Stanford (Trujillo kick)
FLAN-Snelson 52 pass from Stanford (Trujillo kick)
FLAN-Stanford 14 run (Trujillo kick)
DOU-Cabey 15 pass from Matthews (Hollander kick)
Rushing (att-yds) -- DOUG: Goodman III 4-(-17), Matthews 2-(-2), Vilsaint 1-0, Bailey-Brown 13-47, Moise 8-59. FLAN: Pearson 1-(-5), Goetz 1-0, Alexander 4-18, Johnson 2-26, Samuels 6-43.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- DOUG: Goodman III 2-6-1, 1, Matthews 2-3-0, 24. FLAN: Kearse 0-3-0, 0, Samuels 16-19-0, 235.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- DOUG: Crescitelli 2-1, Cabey 2-24. FLAN: Codner 2-10, Thomas 2-28, Collins 4-40, Snelson 4-57, Pearson 4-90.