Game of the week: Tocoi Creek knocks off Beachside in St. Johns’ newest rivalry

Toros welcome Barracudas to town with 36-19 victory

Tocoi Creek linebacker Carson Collins celebrates a play during Friday night's 36-19 win over Beachside in the News4JAX Football Friday Game of the Week. (Kevin Nguyen, News4JAX)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Tocoi Creek’s players know exactly what their counterparts at Beachside are going through.

Only a year ago, the Toros were the new kids in the area, the new football program with players trying to familiarize themselves with new teammates, coaches, terminologies and systems.

Now, it’s Beachside’s turn.

So, Tocoi Creek has empathy. But there was no hint of sympathy Friday night.

In St. Johns County’s newest rivalry, dubbed the Surf N’ Turf Bowl, the host Toros used 140-yard-plus rushing games from Kaiz Ragland and Davion Garcia on the way to a 36-19 victory in front of a crowd in excess of 3,500. It’s the first time Tocoi Creek has been .500 or better in its brief history.

“It’s amazing,” said Ragland, who rushed 20 times for 166 yards and a touchdown and took a short screen pass 60 yards for another score. “I wasn’t nervous or anything. I knew if I was nervous, I was unprepared.”

No one looked unprepared, as Ragland and Garcia almost alternated touches for the Toros (1-0), with Garcia rushing for 140 yards and two second-half scores on 22 carries. The runs were consistent gainers, with Ragland accounting for 10 of his team’s 23 first downs and Garcia racking up seven more. Of their combined 42 carries, only two went for losses.

Tocoi Creek had scoring drives of 12, 10, 2, 9 and 3 plays to go with a pair of 13-play drives that did not lead to scores.

On the other side, the Barracudas (0-1) were getting to know one another. But there was no lack of enthusiasm, as a loud cheer went up on the Beachside half of the field when Makai Mitchell made the tackle on the opening kickoff.

But there was little to cheer for the next quarter. The Barracudas did not get a first down until the second quarter and trailed 17-0 when Ragland took Ryan Killmer’s short screen over the middle and raced 60 yards for the touchdown to end the first quarter.

Tocoi Creek's Toros defeating the Beachside Barracudas 36-19, during the first week of Football Friday!

Finally, in the second quarter, the Barracudas’ passing game took hold, as Drew Aldrich capped a drive by hauling in a 14-yard scoring pass from Bryant Balcita for the program’s first points.

At that stage, Beachside had 24 passing yards. By game’s end, the Barracudas had 309 yards through the air with all three scores coming off Balcita’s arm.

“I couldn’t be happier with our effort,” Beachside coach Pete Duffy said. “For us to come out against a team that is that big and that strong with that many good, fast players, and never quit, that’s effort.”

The Barracudas definitely held their own. On a fourth-and-goal from the Toros 19, Aldrich connected with a leaping Bryce Gee on the left sideline of the end zone with 38 seconds left in the half to trim their deficit to 23-13.

The game was on the verge of being a lot closer after Tocoi Creek fumbled on Beachside’s 4 to end a 13-play possession. A big pass play to Cohen Beebe led to Beachside having the ball at Toros 35, down 10 midway through the third quarter.

But Micah Ragin stepped in front of an Aldrich pass and picked it for Tocoi Creek, returning it 44 yards to the Barracudas 31. It took Garcia only three carries to find the end zone for a 29-13 advantage.

“I wouldn’t say we got rolling, but we were surviving,” Duffy said. “That’s as big and strong a team as we’re going to see. I told the kids it was a great effort. We didn’t come out on the right end of the scoreboard, but we never quit.”

Among the issues that Duffy cited for his program were no weight room, different practice venues that are basic fields and one player — receiver Will Dudley — who had taken a varsity snap prior to Friday.

Duffy believes his team is on the right track, and he could look over to the other sideline and see how quickly a new program can seem poised for success. After winning three games in an eight-contest schedule last year, there is a lot more confidence this season at Tocoi Creek.

“We’re going to be amazing,” said Ragland, part of the program’s first senior class. “You’re going to see a lot of us. You’re going to hear a lot of our names called because a lot of us are stepping up this year. I promise that.

“Last year, we didn’t have a lot of experience. Now, we have a lot of experience, and we can just learn and grow. Keep taking the lessons. I don’t expect to lose but, hey, if we lose, it becomes a lesson.”

Tocoi Creek 36, Beachside 19

Beachside, 0, 13, 0, 6 —19

Tocoi Creek, 17, 6, 6, 7 — 36

TC – Kaiz Ragland 1 run (kick failed)

TC – Ronaldo Medina 25 FG

TC – Ragland 60 pass from Ryan Killmer (Alex Buffington run)

B – Drew Aldrich 14 pass from Bryant Balcita (kick blocked)

TC – Killmer 2 run (kick failed)

B – Bryce Gee 19 pass from Balcita (Owen Carey kick)

TC – Davion Garcia 9 run (pass failed)

B – Cohen Beebe 24 pass from Balcita (kick blocked)

TC – Garcia 3 run (Medina kick)

Category: B  — TC

First downs: 16 — 23

Rushes-yards: 17-16 — 53-358

Passing: 309 — 103

Comp-Att-Int: 17-29-1 — 8-12-0

Fumbles-lost: 0-0 — 3-1

Penalties-Yards: 6-43 —  5-35

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — B: Makai Mitchell 12-25, Will Dudley 1-4, Balcita 4-(-13). TC: Ragland 20-166, Davion Garcia 22-140, Cade Fourman 2-18, Killmer 6-25, Max Digiacomo 2-5, Team 0-3, Bently Matlock 1-1.

PASSING — B: Balcita 16-28-1-287, Dudley 1-1-0-22. TC: Killmer 8-12-0-103.

RECEIVING — B: Beebe 5-98, Gee 4-84, Aldrich 5-83, Dudley 3-44. TC: Ragland 3-79, Digiacomo 3-16, Matlock 1-5, Walker Harvill 1-3.