The Fort Meade Miners traveled to Haines City to face the Class 7A Hornets hoping to snap a two-game losing streak and break into the win column.
The Miners would take the opening kickoff and drive 85-yards in nine plays that culminated with a 29-yard scoring pass from Jay Smith to DJ Clark. The PAT kick by Jack Cortez was good and the Miners led with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
The Hornets which struggled against the Miners defense would be forced to punt it away and an apparent blocked punt for a touchdown and score by the Miners would be nullified on a Miners penalty but the Miners would get the ball back anyway and three plays later Maurice Russell would scoop a Hornets fumble and return it 13 yards to the Hornets’ 34.
It would take the Miners just four plays as Clark would run it in for a 12-yard scoring jaunt. Cortez was true again and the Miners led 14-0 with 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Miners defense would dominate almost the entire second quarter but would suffer a letdown, giving up a 26-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left in the first half. The kick was good and the Miners took a 14-7 led into halftime.
Beginning the second half the Miners forced a quick three and out and following the Hornets front began play at their own 45.
In an eight-play drive marred by five penalties, the Miners still got results when Cortez booted a 42-yard field goal. With 5:34 left in the third the Miners expanded their lead to 17-7.
On the ensuing Hornets drive, Haines City would get to the Miners two-yard line but fumbled it away to the Miners.
Fort Meade would give it back to the Hornets with a fumble of their own on first down. Haines City took advantage of that and ran in for a two-yard touchdown. The kick would make it 17-14 with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
The Miners would quickly respond with a 55-yard four-play drive that culminated with a 34-yard scoring dash by Clark. Cortez was true again, giving the Miners a 24-14 lead with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets made for an exciting finish with an 11-yard touchdown run with two minutes left.
The Hornets then attempted an on-side kick but Jaylen Brown would recover it and the had the ball at their own 48.
Never one for a dull finish the Miners fumbled it back to the Hornets with one minute left.
The Hornets would advance to the Miners 36 only to have Brown intercept a Hornets pass sealing the 24-21 victory for Fort Meade, their first of the season after losing their first two of the year.
The Mainers return home next Friday to host arch-rival Bartow.