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Creekside 52, Nease 29
Sophomore wide receiver Jack Goodrich caught three long touchdown passes from senior quarterback Tai Lavatai as the Creekside offense continued to roll, pulling away in the second half for a 52-29 home victory over St. Johns County rival Nease (0-5).
Creekside (4-1) was led by Lavatai’s two rushing TDs and three TD passes to Goodrich, who totaled 185 yards on three TD receptions and is averaging 39 yards per catch this season.With the score tied at 21 late in the first half, Creekside went into the half ahead 24-21 on Brandon Marchand’s 32-yard field goal.
After holding Nease to a three and out to start the second half, Lavatai found Goodrich open over the middle for a 74-yard score. Creekside then recovered an on-side kick and scored three plays later on Jalen Hines’ 30-yard run for a 38-21 lead.
Creekside forced six Nease turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, on-side kick recovery). Senior DB Conan Mueller had two interceptions, sophomore DB Jack O’Brien had a fumble recovery on a botched Nease fake punt and an interception. Senior LB Evan Wiley had a fumble recovery.
Lavatai has accounted for 23 TDs this season (18 passing, five rushing). Goodrich has 15 catches (seven for TDs) for 589 yards, including four TD grabs of more than 60 yards in the last two games.“ Jack Goodrich has tremendous ball skills when the ball is in the air. He’s also a baseball player, so those skills really show when he gets a chance on those long passes from Tai,” Creekside coach Sean McIntyre said.Nease junior QB Joseph Nieves rushed for 121 yards and three TDs and passed for 117 yards.
Creekside’s 4-1 start is its best since starting 6-1 in 2011 when the Knights went 8-4 and advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. Creekside leads the series 5-4 against Nease.
The two schools are located 9 miles apart.The Knights begin District 3-7A play next week at home against rival Bartram Trail. Nease has lost six consecutive games dating to the 2017 season finale.
Creekside defeated Episcopal in high school football Friday.
Star of the game: Creekside senior QB Tai Lavatai passed for five TDs and ran for a sixth as the Knights (3-1) won a 72-40 shootout at Episcopal (2-2). The Navy commitment passed for 384 yards and scores to five different receivers to counter a three-TD night from Episcopal WR Davis Ellis.
Creekside 3, Oakleaf 2
Down two games to zero, Creekside won a marathon third game, 35-33, and went on to defeat Oakleaf in five games — 16-25, 22-25, 35-33, 25-22, 15-11 — in a District 4-8A match Thursday night at home. Jessica Lary led the Knights (5-5, 1-3) with 15 digs, while Jaden McBride had a match-high 21 kills and Kaitlyn Helinsky tallied 47 assists and four aces.
Creekside won the St. Johns County boys golf team title with Mason Holder’s three-eagle round leading the way. The Knights beat reigning state champion Ponte Vedra by nine strokes.
Creekside’s Lavatai accounts for 7 TDs
On a night when he was crowned Homecoming King, senior QB Tai Lavatai passed for six touchdowns and ran for a seventh score as Creekside improved to 2-1 with a 48-16 victory over Paxon (1-2).
Lavatai tossed scoring passes to four different receivers, including two apiece to senior Blake Scott and junior Christian Williams.
Scoreless late in the first quarter, Creekside senior linebacker Abe Cates forced a fumble on a sack and Creekside scored five plays later on Lavatai’s first TD pass, a 9-yarder to Scott.
On the ensuing Paxon possession, Creekside’s Jack O’Brien blocked a punt and the Knights scored two plays later on Lavatai’s second TD pass, a 15-yarder to junior wide receiver Quinn Sieger, during a 28-point second quarter.
Creekside forced four Paxon turnovers, including three in the first half. The Knights held the Golden Eagles to 88 yards of total offense with minus-10 yards rushing (four sacks of Paxon QB Bryce Tompkins).
Paxon’s Jaquan Jaudon intercepted Lavatai in the first half and returned the ball 38 yards to the Creekside 37. But Lavatai (12-24, 146 yards), a Navy commitment, has passed for 10 TDs and run for two TDs in three games — all of the Knights’ TDs so far this season. Last season at Paxon, he accounted for five first-half TDs in a 56-12 victory.
Creekside freshman RB Preston Strope rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries as the Knights had 240 yards on the ground.“Tai’s got to carry the load a lot of nights. With a lot of young guys around him, he’s got to make those guys better. When he does that we can be pretty good on offense,” Creekside coach Sean McIntyre said.
— Ward Clayton