Yellow Jackets lose a game against FPC, get one back against Ponte Vedra

CHRISTINA.KELSO@STAUGUSTINE.COM St. Augustine defensive end Josh Rickerson (9) tries to run down Menendez quarterback Darian Oxendine on Sept. 1. The Yellow Jackets have not played a game since their 65-14 drubbing of the Falcons and won’t play again until Sept. 22 when they host Bartram Trail.

Wednesday was an eventful day for St. Augustine football coach Brian Braddock.


Early in the day, he and some of his players and assistant coaches helped residents in Davis Shores clean up debris left by Hurricane Irma. Then came the waiting game — waiting for school districts to announce when students and teachers can return to school.

The result was the Yellow Jackets lost one game and picked up another.

St. Augustine won’t be playing at Flagler Palm Coast as Braddock had hoped. But the Jackets will travel to Ponte Vedra on Oct. 6 in a game that was originally scheduled last Friday.

“It’s an opportunity to play a defending state finalist,” Braddock said of the Sharks.

The two teams have not met since 2014. Braddock had hoped Ponte Vedra would move last week’s game up a day after Friday’s games were canceled due to the approaching hurricane. But the Sharks had a conflict with Open House scheduled last Thursday.

With FPC unable to play a game Saturday or Monday, St. Augustine was down two games, so filling its Oct. 6 open date became imperative.

The Jackets are not the only St. Johns County team to move a game to Oct. 6, which is a common bye week for many teams falling between district games.

Nease announced Wednesday that it will play its District 4-6A contest scheduled for Friday at Ed White on Oct. 6, while Creekside will host Episcopal on Oct. 6 in a non-district game. Bartram Trail and Oakleaf announced Tuesday that they will play their District 3-7A game Oct. 6 at Bartram.

Two games have been rescheduled for Monday. Menendez will host Baker County in a District 5-5A game, and Ponte Vedra will travel to Westside for a District 4-5A contest.

“We were going back and forth (on rescheduling),” Menendez coach Patrick Turner said. “But the faster we can return to normalcy the better.”

Turner said the Falcons’ field is in good shape, but they will make sure today that the lights, scoreboard and sound system are in working order.

Among the smaller schools, St. Joseph canceled its game Friday at Gainesville Oak Hall, while the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind rescheduled today’s home game against Merritt Island Christian for Sept. 28.

While public school students have the rest of the week off in St. Johns County, the school district has designated Friday as a teacher planning day which will allow teams to return to practice.

“Our kids will be eager to practice (after missing a week),” Braddock said.

County teams can also practice Saturday, and the Florida High School Athletic Association is allowing schools to practice Sunday this week only.

Menendez and Ponte Vedra plan to use the Sunday practice day to prepare for their Monday games.

Since Flagler County schools are closed for the rest of the week, FPC would not have even one day to prepare for a Monday game.

“It’s too bad; we wanted to play them. They’re 2-0 and very talented,” Braddock said. “And they didn’t have a game last week either. We respect their situation. Coach (Travis) Roland and I will keep in touch. If we learned anything, it’s who knows what can happen in the next three weeks.”

Now the Yellow Jackets (2-0) can focus their energies on Bartram Trail (2-1). The two offensive juggernauts are scheduled to meet on Sept. 22 at Foots Brumley Stadium, which will mark three weeks since the Jackets’ last game on Sept 1.

Like Braddock and the Jackets, Bartram Trail coach Darrell Sutherland and several of his players volunteered to help residents pick up debris Wednesday. The Bears will return to their practice field Friday and begin preparing for St. Augustine.

“Bartram will pose a very stiff test,” Braddock said. “Those guys are formidable. Those quarterbacks (Joey Gatewood and Riley Smith) are gifted. You see the points they put up (129 in three games).”

Bartram-St. Augustine is one of three games next week featuring a St. Johns County match-up. Menendez will travel to Ponte Vedra on Sept. 22 with both teams playing on four days rest. And Creekside will visit Nease.

Rescheduled Games

St. Johns County’s football games scheduled for this week have been postponed or canceled. Here are the new dates:

Ponte Vedra at Westside, Monday, 6 p.m.

Menendez vs. Baker County, Monday, 7 p.m.

FSDB vs. Merritt Island Christian, Sept. 28, 7 p.m,.

Oakleaf at Bartram Trail, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

Episcopal at Creekside, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

Nease at Ed White, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

St. Augustine at FPC, canceled

St. Joseph at Gainesville Oak Hall, canceled