The Pirates closed out the regular season Friday with a 49-16 win over host North Florida Educational Institute. The Fernandina Beach High School football team (6-3) finished with its best record since 2008, and the Pirates are heading to the playoffs.
This season marks the first home playoff appearance for the Pirates since 1970, when FBHS lost to Quincy.
The Pirates will host the West Nassau Warriors, a team they beat in the regular season, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13. The Pirates defeated the Warriors 56-50 in overtime on Oct. 16.
NFEI struck first Friday night, scoring back-to-back touchdowns in the first quarter to take a 16-0 lead over the Pirates. Ernest Cortez intercepted a pass and returned it for a TD to cut the host’s lead to 16-7.
Cameron Jacobs scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter to help the Pirates trim the lead to 16-14.
The second half was dominated by FBHS. Junior quarterback Cam Miller scored three times, and teammates Khamari Barksdale and Willie Coleman scored one apiece. Miller scored on 1-yard runs in the third quarter and tacked on a 9-yarder in the final quarter. Barkdsale scored from 9 yards out, and Coleman returned an interception 36 yards for a score.
Phil Tita was 7-for-7 on point-after kicks. He also kicked off eight times for 434 yards, with the longest 60 yards. Four were touchbacks.
Miller, who has scored 14 rushing touchdowns and thrown for nine more this season, was 2-for-2 for 45 passing yards and rushed 11 times for 107 yards with three touchdowns. Chris Turner was 2-for-4 for 18 yards.
Barksdale finished the night with 113 yards on 16 carries. John Kenny Flood reeled in a pass for 24 yards, and Barksdale had a catch for 21 yards. Miller also had an 18-yard reception.
Josiah Rauls leads the defense with 79 tackles and five quarterback sacks. He had three tackles and four assists. Cortez had four tackles and four assists; Kyle Lee had four tackles, five assists and a quarterback sack; and A.J. West recorded three tackles and six assists.
Cortez returned a punt 56 yards.
West Nassau (3-6) beat Andrew Jackson 24-12 Friday night. The Warriors travel to Orange Park this Friday to take on Ridgeview at 7 p.m.
• The Pirates and Warriors aren’t the only Nassau County teams in the playoffs. The Yulee Hornets (2-6) host the Westside Wolverines at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Their final game against Terry Parker, which was scheduled for this Friday, was canceled.
The Hornets are coming off a 22-17 loss to Baldwin.