Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sandalwood Sees a Sparkling Silver Lining; Young Saints Grind out 12-10 Victory over White in Season Finale

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sandalwood Sees a Sparkling Silver Lining; Young Saints Grind out 12-10 Victory over White in Season Finale

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Barney

With the end of his sophomore season just a few minutes old, Sandalwood running back Jacari Graham was interested in one thing - looking ahead at a promising future and not back at one that didn't quite pan out.

The Saints (7-3) put the finishing touches on a wildly up-and-down season with a 12-10 victory over rival White on Friday night, a regular-season finale that was disappointing on one hand and exciting on another.

Sandalwood dodged the Commanders' shot at a victory when kicker Joshua Davidson's 47-yard field goal came up short with just under a minute to play.

The Saints kneeled twice to burn the remaining time off the clock and then blindsided coach Adam Geis with a Gatorade cooler full of water that left him dripping wet and already talking about next season.

With players such as Graham, quarterback D.J. Davis and major college defensive prospects Kain Daub and Blake McClain, it's a promising future.

"It was an interesting season," said Graham, a 5-foot-9, 220-pound, straight-ahead runner. "We made the best of it after that [being eliminated from the playoffs]. I enjoyed the season; it was fun. I think we'll pull it off next year."

The consolation, if there were one, is that Sandalwood salvaged a 7-3 record from a season that could've easily gone in the tank following some major letdowns. The Saints had one of the biggest emotional wins in program history over DeLand, a game that was broadcast on ESPN2, and countered that with a deflating 17-16 loss on the road to Flagler Palm Coast that ended their Class 8A playoff hopes.

Since that game, Geis said, the focus shifted from chasing the playoffs to trying to build for next year.

"Good way to finish," Geis said. "You know, it didn't go like we wanted [this season], but we've got a lot of guys coming back on defense."

Davis, who replaced injured quarterback Parker Boehme for the season's final three games, is part of that rebuilding project. …

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