It was third-and-an-inch for Gulf Breeze in the third quarter of Friday night's Region 1-5A quarterfinal playoff game at Crawfordville Wakulla.
The Dolphins desperately needed a first down. But all quarterback Andrew Creech discovered was a wall of War Eagles defenders standing their ground to drop him for a one-yard loss.
Down 19-7 at halftime, Wakulla forced three straight 3-and-outs and scored 35 second-half points, rallying to win 42-19 and advance to host Tallahassee Godby next week.
"We had a big speech at halftime and coach said, 'Look, flat out, we're gonna win. Get this character going,' " War Eagles linebacker Dalton Bohannon said. "We needed to do what we needed to do -- be physical, that's what we're good at."
Running back Demetrius Lindsey scored on a 3-yard run on Wakulla's opening drive, but then everything stagnated.
Gulf Breeze (7-4) kept the Wakulla defense on its heels with its read option, getting touchdown runs of 7, 26 and 3 yards from Chandler Foxworth.
"We fought, but we knew we pretty much woke up a sleeping giant," Dolphins coach Chris Nemith said. "When we couldn't get anything going the first drive of the second half, it gave them momentum and an opportunity to take control of the game."
First, Wakulla (11-0) got its running game in order. Dequon Simmons (91 yards rushing) started a drive with a gain of 18 and ended it with a 21-yard run.
Then Wakulla went 71 yards, capped by Brandon Nichols' 10-yard sweep to the right, which retook the lead at 20-19.
Nichols alertly fielded the next, nearly-blocked punt and went 32 yards to score, but a penalty brought it back. Just for good measure, he scampered in from 14 yards out three plays later.
"Gulf Breeze physically pounded us in the first half," War Eagles coach Scott Klees said. "Our defense made good adjustments. But it is mindset. You have to determine you're going to be more physical than the other team. Willpower is big in high school football. Our kids buckled down."
The third Gulf Breeze punt of the second half set up Monterious Loggins for an 11-yard touchdown run, before the Wakulla defense finally yielded a first down but forced a turnover on downs.
Foxworth only gained 15 of his 101 yards after the break, while Wakulla gained 282 on the ground in the same span.
"We figured out how to block some things, which opened us up," Klees said. "And we played with emotion. We went through the motions in the first half."
Lindsey (90 yards) capped off runs of 46 yards by Nichols and 32 by quarterback Caleb Stephens by running in from 4-yards away.
Interceptions by Dalton Nichols and Keith Gavin sealed the win, meaning a rematch with Godby next week.
"They're so athletic and they're well-coached, also," Klees said. "We have some things we'll change, they'll have some things to change. It'll be a chess match."
At Crawfordville Wakulla
Gulf Breeze...13 6 0 0-- 19
Wakulla...7 0 13 22 -- 42
W-Demetrius Lindsey 3 run (Feleipe Franks kick)
GB-Chandler Foxworth 7 run (Lucas Zalar kick)
GB-Foxworth 26 run (kick fail)
GB-Foxworth 3 run (kick fail)
W-Dequon Simmons 21 run (kick blocked)
W-Brandon Nichols 10 run (Franks kick)
W-Nichols 14 run (Franks kick)
W-Monterious Loggins 11 run (Keith Gavin conversion pass from Caleb Stephens)
W-Lindsey 4 run (Franks kick)
Rushing-Gulf Breeze, Chandler Foxworth 18-101, Andrew Creech 13-57, Josh Irby 4-11, Gray Dorsey 1-(-10), Austin Dermody 1-4; Wakulla, Demetrius Lindsey 15-90, Dequon Simmons 3-91, Monterious Loggins 8-36, Brandon Nichols 4-72, Vonte Ervin 2-(-6), Caleb Stephens 6-68; Passing -Gulf Breeze, Creech 8-14-38-0-0, Dorsey 2-6-21-0-2; Wakulla, Caleb Stephens 3-7-59-0-1 Receiving-Gulf Breeze, Randy Halpin 5-23, David Knight 1-27, Xan Sarra 1-4, Brian Garbell 2-(-4), Carson Sharp 1-9.