Destin High Sharks get first football victory, 28-21, over North Bay Haven at home

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Neither weather nor lack of lights stopped the Destin High Sharks from capturing their first football victory, a 28-21 comeback, over the North Bay Haven Bucs Thursday night at the Destin Middle School football field. 

With the parking lot surrounding the field full 30 minutes before kickoff, folks stayed in their cars and waited for the rain to stop. 

Destin High Coach E.G. Green huddles up the team on the field after Thursday night's 28-21 win over North Bay Haven and points at the scoreboard. "We got a W," he said.

The 7 p.m. game finally kicked off at 7:40 p.m., only to be briefly stopped when a section of the stadium lights went out. The game pressed on and that set of lights on the north end went on and off throughout the game. 

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But the Sharks, in their inaugural season, got their first win and it was at home before a packed stadium.

“It was the kids … that’s Destin kids. We’ve got a great bunch of kids, and we’ll go to war with whomever,” said Destin Coach E.G. Green as he walked off the field. 

Destin High's Syr Rhodes comes off the field with the ball after scoring Destin's first touchdown against North Bay Haven. Destin won 28-21.

“It’s not us (the coaches), it’s them. They’ve got heart and they fought hard,” Green said.

The Shark attack was well balanced with 136 yards on the ground and 141 through the air. Avery Zierden had 10 carries for 59 yards and Sonny Taylor rushed six times for 47 yards, including two touchdowns, both 4 yarders. 

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Freshman quarterback Jordan Figueroa completed 12 of 18 passes for 141 yards and had one interception. Taylor had five catches for a gain of 58 yards. 

North Bay Haven kept the ball on the ground most of the night, rushing for 121 yards. Quarterback Lakota Johnson was the leading rusher with 35 yards. He also completed five of 15 passes for 50 yards. 

Destin's Sonny Taylor had six carries for 47 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-21 victory over North Bay Haven.

With the bleachers packed and the Shark band playing, the Destin Sharks got the ball first and didn’t waste any time getting on the board. 

The Sharks scored in three plays with Figueroa connecting with Syr Rhodes for a 20-yard touchdown strike. The extra point kick by Adam Bouhjar was good and the Sharks were on the board. 

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Late in the first quarter, the Bucs evened the score with a 4-yard run up the middle by Colton Kirkland. Bryant Siegal kicked in the point after for a 7-7 tie. 

It was a victory celebration on the sideline after the Destin High Sharks captured their first win.

Each team had the ball three times in the second quarter, but neither scored. 

At the start of the second half, Destin stopped the Bucs on their first possession and then came back with a quick score. Destin scored in three plays capped off by a 4-yard run by Taylor. The point after kick by Bouhjar was good, Destin led 14-7.

The Destin defense shut the Bucs down again. This time the Sharks were on the move, picking up three first downs on 12- and 15-yard catches by Zierden and a 28-yard catch by Price Bowen before Figueroa was intercepted. The Bucs' Johnson picked off the pass and ran it back for a 70-yard score. The kick after was good and the game was again tied. 

Destin's Carsten Phillips tries to hang on to North Bay Haven quarterback Lakota Johnson. Destin won 28-21.

On the Sharks' next possession, they fumbled on the first play with North Bay Haven’s Gabe Rana scooping it up and running it back 30 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The PAT was good, and the Bucs led 21-14. 

On their very next possession, the Sharks fumbled again on the first play. The Bucs took over about midfield and picked up a first down before the Sharks intercepted the ball. Destin’s Deshawn Ford picked off the pass and then ran it down the right sideline for a 60-yard score. The PAT by Bouhjar was good for a 21-21 game with 11:06 left to play. 

Destin's Avery Zierden had 10 carries for 59 yards in the 28-21 victory.

With North Bay Haven in possession, the Bucs made three first downs before they were forced to try a field goal. Destin’s Brick Larabee broke through the line and blocked the 45-yard attempt. 

The Sharks took the ball 69 yards in a little over six minutes for the score. With 17 seconds left on the clock, Taylor ran it around the left end for a 4-yard score and the home crowd and sidelines went wild. The PAT was good, and Destin led 28-21. 

The Bucs had 17 seconds, but it wasn’t enough. 

Destin's Deshawn Ford trots back to the sideline after picking off a pass and running it back about 60 yards for a touchdown.

“They’re going to win some football games,” Green said of the Bucs when it was all said and done. 

But Green was excited for the Destin players, coaches and the great turnout. 

The Destin High Shark fans were out in full force for their first home outing.

“It’s these kids, the players and the coaches … it’s for the city of Destin,” Green said of the win.

"We’ve got one in the books. The first one is the hardest one to get, and we got it,” he said.