Crook Nails Game-Winning FG to beat Pace
In a back-and-forth contest that was eerily reminiscent of the 2018 match-up between Gulf Breeze and Pace, PK Blaine Crook nailed a game-winning, 37 yard field goal as time expired. Gulf Breeze opened the scoring with a rushing touchdown, culminating the drive after picking up chunks of yards on the ground. The offense managed several explosive plays (20+ yards) in the first half, but seemed to struggle to finish drives with points at times. The two teams continued to trade scores, with neither gaining control of the game over the other. Gulf Breeze would go into halftime tied at 14 with the Patriots. In the second half, the Dolphins would have to overcome several key injuries-- a reoccuring theme for the 2019 campaign-- losing starting running back Trevor Nelson to a concussion after a sideline collision and senior defensive tackle Ty Horton would go down on the games final drive to an apparent ankle injury. In the 4th quarter, Dolphin QB Ryland McCurdy would put Gulf Breeze up 21-14 on a rushing touchdown. The Patriot offense would answer late in the game however on a QB run of their own, but the extra point was blocked by the Dolphin defense, preserving a 21-20 lead. Pace kicked off following the score and on the ensuing drive, held the Gulf Breeze offense to a three-and-out, forcing a punt. Blaine Crook's punt was short, giving Pace the ball in Gulf Breeze territory. With the Patriots taking possession of the ball, and protecting a one-point lead, the Dolphin defense needed a crucial stop. Pace managed to drive into field goal range and lined up to take the lead with a field goal with only 0:40 remaining on the clock. The Pace kicker hit the FG, splitting the uprights and giving the Patriots a 23-21 lead. What followed was the most unlikely of outcomes. On the ensuing kick-off, the Pace place kicker kicked it deep to returner Leonard Brown. His previous two kick-offs had landed in the endzone, resulting in touchbacks. This kick, however, would come up short and Leonard Brown returned the kick-off right up the middle, broke one tackle and veered to the sideline, making it all the way back to the Pace 17. With the ball in the red zone, only one timeout and less than a minute on the clock, Gulf Breeze ran one run play to center the ball between the hashes, setting up Crook with an opportunity to win the game with 0:02 left on the clock. Crook split the uprights from 37 yards out as time expired, sealing an exciting win which led the entire student section to storm the field. The win was a major boost for a Dolphin program that has struggled throughout the season, attempting to end the 2019 campaign on a high note.
Senior place kicker Blaine Crook celebrates with teammates and students after hitting the game-winning 37 yard FG