Land O’ Lakes — In the district title tie-breaker quarter, the Sunlake Seahawks used a dominating defensive performance holding Mitchell to minus-1 yards of offense to claim the school’s first Class 6A, District 6 title and their third playoff appearance in the past four years with a 15-0 victory over the Mustangs.
Seahawks defense was led by sack and tackle-for-loss by senior outside linebacker Logan Wolfe, sack and hard-hitting tackles by senior inside linebacker Austin Yeloushan, and multiple quarterback pressures by senior defensive lineman Kalon Gipson.
On offense, Sunlake’s senior athlete Naejaun Jackson had 3 carries for 49 yards including breaking multiple tackles on an 11-yard touchdown run. Senior quarterback Dayton Feiden scored Seahawks’ first score on a 1-yard keeper and senior running back Nathan Johnson adding a 2-point conversion run after Jackson’s score.
Sunlake’s special teams were led by Junior wide receiver/punt returner Nick Valdes who returned punt to the Mitchell 11-yard line to set up the Seahawks’ second score and by senior kicker Chris Wilkinson who had three touchbacks on three kickoffs.
In the initial district tie-breaker quarter, Mitchell earned at least the district runner-up spot by defeating Springstead 7-0. The biggest offensive play coming on the Mustangs initial drive when sophomore quarterback Larry Dalla Betta hit junior wide receiver JJ Lewis for a 53-yard touchdown pass and run up the right sidelines.
Mitchell defense against Springstead was led with a sack by senior defensive end Levi Oliveto, two tackles-for-losses by outside linebacker Danny Riffe, and tackle-for-loss by senior safety William Breitfeller.
Mustangs earned their first playoff appearance since they went 7-3 in 2004.
Springstead sophomore quarterback Jordan Wright hit on five of seven passes for 31 yards with four of the completions going to sophomore TJ Owens.
In the first round of playoffs, Sunlake (8-1) will host Ocala Vanguard (4-4) and Mitchell (6-3) will travel to Gainesville (5-4).