‘We accomplished a lot together:’ Journey ends for Seabreeze seniors

The score was not pretty, but it was the end of the journey that upset Seabreeze defensive end Jeremy West the most.

After winning their first district championship in 14 years, the Sandcrabs bowed out of the playoffs Friday, Nov. 12 with a 41-0 loss to Rockledge at Daytona Stadium.

A despondent West stood on the field after the game and tried to describe what his senior season meant to him.

“Throughout the whole season, we grew as a family,” said West, who led Volusia and Flagler counties with 12½ sacks during the regular season. “This is the best team I’ve been a part of. We always stick together. We always back each other up.”

The Sandcrabs have been training together since mid-March. From off-season workouts to spring practice, to summer team camp to preseason drills in the heat of August.

There was the summer road trip to Rutgers University in New Jersey for a 7 on 7 tournament that included visits to 13 colleges along the way. Hours upon hours in the weight room and on the practice field. Steady improvement after starting the season with four losses in their first six games. And finishing with their first winning record in eight years.

“We talk about establishing a foundation,” said third-year coach Pat Brown. “But this group right here is the foundation. The younger guys have to understand the foundation is leaving.”

Seabreeze (6-5) trailed Rockledge (9-2) 14-0 at the half, but the Sandcrabs never recovered from a 14-point swing midway through the first quarter when they fumbled at the Raiders’ 3-yard line, and then gave up a 95-yard run by Lavatus Watkins. The Raiders’ running back then ran it in from the 2 for the first score of the game.

“We just didn’t fit the appropriate gap,” Brown said. “We had a chance to go up 7-0 and ended up with nothing. In the playoffs, your windows get smaller — your blocking opportunities, your tackling opportunities.”

In the second half, the game got away from the Sandcrabs as they turned the ball over five more times.

“You got to get it together quick or it gets out of hand,” said Seabreeze offensive coordinator Matt Johnson. “But there were a lot more positives than negatives this year. The guys came together as a team and kept getting better. Now we’ve got to keep it going.”

Seabreeze will graduate 17 seniors this year, including West.

“We accomplished a lot together,” West said. “I’m glad I got a chance to finish with this unit.”

 

 

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